Planning

 
Time to go from words to actions 😃 I have one apple tree sprout out of its seed and it requires a new home.
I have a sketch here about what I would like the first version to be. Simple as possible with out losing on some fun bits to build.
It is a hydroponic system in a big pot for the tree sprout to grow in and thats it. Other requirements are that it needs to look nice and needs to be silent or close to silent. No one wants a pot that constantly makes a annoying buzzing noise.

 

Things needed

Local hardware store had a nice sized pot with some decorative… I think that is straw rapper around its black plastic frame. Size is right and looks ok.
In the bag from the hardware store I also got a small electric junction box, cubic meter of rock-wool  and 3 cans of white decorative stones. Decorative stones are to go on-top of the pot to look nice. We must not forget that the pot if anything is a decorative element and needs to look the part.
 

 Inside the pot there will be the nutrition solution (water with fertiliser) and on top of that still slightly in the pot is the top. The Top will house the air pump and electronic junction box. 
I started to cut circles of the insulation foam I got leftover from the Food computer project. I did a circle using the pot upside down. 
Then cutting the circle off with my jigsaw. Times four as I calculated I need four layers to house the hardware.
 

Layers layers layers and one more layer

Base will be solid except for the hole in the middle where the grow medium will go. I plan to use the rock wool I bought from the hardware store as the grow medium, some doubts on that will it work… Well we will see 😃
Next layer will have two additional holes to create the space for the junction box and air pump. Also on this layer there is a hole from the air pump housing to the electric junction box and out of the side. This is to accommodate the wires. Electricity from the air pump, water pump to the junction box and from junction box out to the socket for power 😃 
 
Next layers will only have the holes for grow medium in the middle, Air pump and junction box.
 
All ready cut and then what is left is to clue all together. Some clamps to press it all together.
 
After the glue hardens I test fitted the Top that looks like a big yellow cake 😃 into the Pot. Not fitting so I used my belt sander with 60 grit paper to sand some of the sides a bit. Set the surface to be in a small angle as to imitate the sides of the pot. Remember to use protective gear as the foam is quite harmful to breath and also I bet its not good for your eyes.
 
Sanding - try and fit - sanding - try and fit - sanding - try and fit
 
Lots of work to fit that bloody thing. Left it quite tight fit as I do want it to be somewhat sealed and don’t want the decorative stones to drop into the cracks.
 

Drilled holes for air pumps air hose and water pumps electricity. Attached a air stone to the air hose. Snips snaps and some Wago connectors later we have ready connections. Plugged it in to see if it works and it does 😃
Not exactly CE approved 😃
 

 
Huge cabs between the sides bother me a bit as I wanted to put the decorative stones on the top so I found some 5mm plexiglass that I had laying around not used. Again the same thing as with the cake. Circle with the pot and jigsaw it. Drilled the grow space hole in the middle and lets see how it fits.
 
Sanding - try and fit - sanding - try and fit - sanding - try and fit
 
Lots of work to fit that bloody thing. Left it quite tight fit as I do want it to be somewhat sealed and don’t want the decorative stones to drop into the cracks.
 

 
I sliced up some of the rock wool I bought and checked out how it would work as a grow medium.
Cutting it was super simple and easy just use a shape that resembles the desired outcome and cut around it using a sharp knife.
My idea is to use the rock wool to dip into the nutrition solution (water) and like a sponge suck in the water and bring it up to the sprouting tree 😃
Sucks as it does not work this way. The one I bought is made to build houses. Looks and feels the same as the rock wool growth medium I bought but firstly it reflects water. Like pearls the water just skids off it. 
I wondered what other options would I have and thought to use just cotton wool that can be found in all bathrooms that have a woman residing in the adjacent flat 😃 
If I had patience I would order some proper rock wool grow medium from ebay but as I wanted to have this done in one weekend I went with the cotton wool.
 
It needed some support to not drop into the hole and splash into the nutrition solution so I cut some old shirt hangers made of a metal wire. Created a X through the cotton.
 

 
Time to take this show home 😃 Packed it all into my car and drove home.
The pot holds 16 litres of water. Used the advanced hydroponics Grow, bloom and micro solutions accordingly. Now that the nutrition solution is done I put the top on and the water pump and air stone into the solution. Plugged in the power and checked that everything worked. And they did 😃 great success so far. Damned air pump is noisy… Ultra silent my ass… 
To mitigate the noise I stuck rock wool into to fill the space left in the holes. hope it helps a little.
 
Wrapped the cotton wool into a roll and stuck the wires from the shirt hangers through it creating a X. 
waited a bit to see if the top of the wool gets wet from the nutrition fluid. It didn’t. Cotton wool as grow medium sucks balls too. Time to order that grow medium rock wool of ebay.
Until it is delivered I will make do with the cotton. I stuck the apple tree sprout in the middle of the cotton and poured some water on it. I will keep an eye on it to keep it wet until I get the proper grow medium.
 
Added the plexiglass cover for the top and covered it with decorative stones.
 

 

Summary

The user experience so far is that the setup is too noisy. That Ultra silent air pump is nothing but silent. It is going to drive me nuts so I need to see if I can find a silent one. Need to go browsing some pet stores for aquarium stuff 😃 
 

Yet to be discovered

  1. Will the apple tree sprout grow roots long enough to reach the nutrition solution?
  2. Will the apple tree sprout be able to grow roots through the cotton wool?
  3. If the root grows into the cotton will I be able to change it? Will I even need to. 
 
I will keep you apprised on the state of the apple tree 🙂
 

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