NFT Tubes Added!

NFT stands for “Nutrient Film Technique,” which I think traditionally involves styrofoam rafts holding netpots and floating on water in a hydroponics operation.   In this case, I have 3″ netpots filled with shale that was too small for the growbeds, but still large enough to stay in the netpots (great use of what I thought was useless except as soil amendment).    I have 20 feet of 4″ PVC pipe going out away from the growbeds, then a U-turn and 20 feet back, with holes every 10 inches.   This gives me about 45 usable holes for plants, plus one over the drain standpipe.  

Here’s the building process: cutting, painting, bolting, gluing…





I’ve gone ahead and planted 26 Chandler strawberry plants that came in the mail from Nourse Farms the other day, as well as moved the single garlic chive I have in growbed 2 to the first hole.


Here is a view of the water input (back, hose from GB 2 drain) and drain (front, hose to GB 2 sump tank):


Strawberry plants in place:


Nat Jr inspects the drain standpipe, watching it burp and splash.


Nat helped me fill in the empty holes with neoprene-capped netpots, which should help prevent evaporation on holes that are not in use.  The garlic chive plant is in the hole closest to the water input.


At first I had issues with the drain – leaked around the brass fitting into the PVC when I did a water test. I drained it all and sealed it with silicone. After that, I had issues with the drain hose not draining fast enough, and had to play with the height of the drain standpipe to get a decent siphon, but now I don’t think it’s in danger of overflowing out the netpot holes anymore. Now the single biggest risk to this system:  a 3 year old boy.


Finally, a video:

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2 Replies to “NFT Tubes Added!”

  1. HA! Rick, you’ve sensed one of my intended future projects – I’ve attempted home brewing once in the past with mediocre success, and intend to revitalize that interest at some point. It would be interesting to grow hops, and I read a book, Urban Homesteading, where the author was growing hops up a trellis on the back side of her house. Hmmm, we’ll see!

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