STOP! If you have just arrived at this website looking for raft hydroponics, you might want to go back to page one of this mini-farm plan.
NOW, carry on building this raft hydroponics unit!
First cut the styrofoam raft
to fit inside the reservoir bin; use a jigsaw, cutoff saw, table saw or even a
handsaw. The piece needs to be just a tad smaller than the inside of the bin so
it will easily ride up and down a couple of inches without binding (when the
water level drops). This is important for the raft to work right.
But, you do want it to cover the top of the water as light-tight as possible. In
our case, for this Sterilite bin, we cut the styro piece 14-1/4” X 23”.
Store the rest of the sheet of Styrofoam. You can use more of it when you're ready to upgrade to a full-sized lettuce raft. Also, you'll find many other uses for the leftovers; we did.
2. You will likely need to
round off the corners so the raft will ride up and down freely in the bin. Take
care with your block of styro, treat gently, as it is easy to bust it.
3. Mark off the styrofoam block for six holes, evenly spaced, so that there is six inches between each hole, both ways. It doesn't matter if plants ride over the sides of the bin a little, just so they don't crowd each other. So for our 14 ¼ X 23” block this is how we centered the holes:
4. Now cut the pot holes in the styro block. Start with the 2” hole saw first. From the UP side of the raft, cut a shallow 2” hole, centered over the marked center holes. Cut all 6 holes just to a depth of about 1/4”, then switch to the 1 7/8” hole saw to finish up. (Our set did not have 1 7/8” so we used 1 3/4”).
Using the center hole as a guide, now cut down as deep as the hole saw will let you go. Do all six from the UP side of the raft. Then use a nail to go down thru the center holes and pierce the back side of each hole. This is so you will know where to drill next from the back side. Then cut with the same size hole saw from the backside of the stryro block all the way flush.
5. Then carefully pull out the
cut plugs and clean up the holes a little. Try out the net pots. You want them
to sit in nicely and bottom out at the bottom of the styro, but not fall
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