Manual Ebb & Flow?

by Judith
(USA)

ok. Here's my question--how do I set up an ebb and flow system that is manual? I want to teach villagers overseas how to set up a hydroponic garden--only catch? In the area I would go, there's no electricity!

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Answer from Stella/Simon:

Hi Judith,

I'll be honest with you, we only have hands-on experience with automated (electric pump) systems. However, I have seen ebb and flow process explained in textbooks using the "bucket method". In order to flood the tray, you manually raise the bucket of solution ABOVE the level of the tray. It flows through a tube into the tray. Then, to drain, you lower the bucket to the ground and the solution drains back into the bucket. This must be done 2-3 times daily, with the flooding allowed for 20-30 minutes each flood cycle. It is obvious also that the bucket must be light enough for someone to lift, which limits the size of each unit. This would be the basis from which you could go on to create a nice setup which does not rely on electricity. Apparently, although more labor intensive, this works quite well!

A lot of 3rd world areas without power seem to utilize lettuce rafts quite often, so you might consider that as well.

I found an online article that has a diagram of how the ebb and flow bucket method works. Although it is a marijuana site, just ignore that, it would work for traditional crops:
http://www.greenmanspage.com/guides/hydrosystems.html

Go down to the section on ebb-and-flow and you will find the process explained.

Hope this helps!
Good luck,
Stella

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