BUBBLEGROWERS 2 PLANT "ON A BUDGET?" BUBBLETOTE FOR UNDER $30 COMPLETE
ok follks, here we go. simple to build, simple to operate, and VERY cheap to set-up. let's start with the parts. everything is from either meijer or wal-mart. if you click on each part, there will be a link to the EXACT same item i am using in this application. the only things not avaliable at meijer/wal-mart are a couple 5" net pots and some hydroton clay pebbles. you can pick those up at your local hydro store or online.
PARTS:10-gallon Sterilte storage tote. the link is for a bulk purchase, but they are $3.49/each in the store. wal-mart.20-60 gallon aquarium air pump. $8.99 in store. wal-mart.
meijer seems to have a janky online spread, and i can't find these items online, but they have these 2 items in the pet/fish dept. the air stones are $2.29 and 25ft of air line was $2.89 i believe.
and then as was stated, you will need to pick up two 5" net pots ($2.00) and a small bag of hydroton clay pebbles ($5) at the local hydro store.
so here is what our mess is looking like so far:
let's start with the hardest part first. the holes in the lid of the tote. and folks, it aint hard at all. ok, when using a 5" net pot, you want your hole to be about 4 3/4". we don't need the net pot falling through into the water/nutes below. i would recommend practicing real quick on a piece of cardboard before you actually cut the lid. just to be sure everything fits before you mess up a brand new tote. ok, 4 3/4" hole. you know what you have laying around the house that is perfectly 4 3/4" in diamater?
yup, a compact disc. ready-made template for your holes. now this isnt rocket science, just eyeball out a couple holes on the lid and trace the cd with a marker.
don't have a 4 3/4" hole saw? neither do i, a razor knife works fine. take your time, "score" the plastic a few times around..... you probably won't get it to just cut right out. but remember, this is by far the hardest part of the whole process, so concentrate on not slicing your fingers off, and when you get done, you have this:
hard part is over. i swear. ok, next step. we do need 2 more holes in our bubbletote, but they are kinda already there for us. in the model of sterilite brand tote i used here, there are pre-drilled drain holes in the handles:
but these holes aren't quite big enough to slip our aquarium air line through so we need to make them just a touch larger. sneak into the kitchen (hopefully the wife is on the couch and mesmorized by the new episode of Gray's Anatomy) and snag a steak knife. just kinda stick the tip in the hole and twist it around a few times.
ok, do both sides:
awesome. now we are getting somewhere. next cut off a section of air line..... 5 feet or so is good. i like to have enough excess air line that i can move my air pump well out of the way. run the air line through the hole you just widened:
and then attach one of your 6" air stones from meijer. i like these particular stones because they are fairly heavy and will stay on the bottom without help.
and then connect the other end of the air line to your new air pump.
and repeat the same process using the other hole/air stone and plug it into the other outlet on your air pump.
holy smokes folks........ i think we are on to something now
let's fill this bad boy machine with some water now.
ok, this is kind of critical for down the road. i fill one gallon containers and dump them in. measuring how much water i add to get to "my point". that point is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch below the net pot. if you keep the water level about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch below the bottom of the net pot, you have reached the sweet spot. the air stone in the bottom of the bubbletote will shoot air bubbles upwards through the water. when these bubbles reach the surface they pop. the goal is to find the perfect level to where the net pot is not sitting in the water, but actually the bubbles are popping on the surface and just getting the bottom of the net pot wet. once the bottom of the net pot gets wet, it will transfer that moisture to the bottom layer of hydroton pebbles. the pebbles then transfer the perfect amount of water/air between themselves and eventually to the rockwool cube. the cube will stay damp, but not "soaked".
once the roots form and grow through the rockwool cube, they will continue growing through the clay pebbles, and then through the sides of the net pot, and ultimately down to thrive in the nute/air filled goodness of the solution.
this is a good time to take one of your net pots out of the lid so you can peek inside and get the water level just right.
once you hit your spot, i draw a line on the side of the tote. on the inside. with a magic marker. you could also use a piece of tape or something. since i kept track of how much i added, i know it took me EXACTLY 6 gallons of water to hit the spot. that will help down the road after doing flushes. after flushing you can just re-fill to your line and add nutes accordingly for 6 gallons of water.
here's our line:
well hell....... let's plug this puppy in and see some bubbles.
ok. let's grow something. got your clones rooted? me either, so let's pretend for a minute:
ok, i start with a thin layer of clay pebbles on the bottom of the net pot:
then set the clone/rockwool in the net pot and cover the rest of the way with the hydroton pebbles:
and then repeat of course, and folks, you have a built yourself a bubbletote:
and soon, you will have this:
this system will maintain 2 plants all the way to harvest. occasionally, depending on strain/veg time, a plant may "outgrow" the tote. well, not really outgrow it, but with larger strains, after sometime you may want to move them to one plant/ tote. it is very simple to move plants if you have to. just pull out the net pot and all the roots, and put into another tote. if you grow mostly indica strains, you will have no problem with 2 plants in one tote all the way to the end. some sativas that get long and lanky may want the whole space to themselves...........
peace, love, and BIG happy grows: