Hydroponics A-Frame Build Log

After the fact, here is a photo build log of step one; Building an a-frame hydroponics tree.  Most of the knowledge in building this comes from here and here. It is a shame that the second site has had all the pages removed.  This person did so much good work.  Regardless, the cached version of his instructions, the ones I followed, are here.  You might as well print that and follow it.  I pretty much did what he did…

This project took a weekend to build and was less than $200 in total… to this point. The biggest key was to buy everything you need beforehand as some of the items have to be sourced online.


Once finished, the a-frame looked pretty good… at night.  I kid you not; there is not a straight line in sight.  Regardless, wood is cheap, building the structure took zero skills and was fun.


The following morning, the first step was to attach these J-hooks to hand the PVC pipes from.  So far, so good.


With Sushi helping me, I moved onto setting up and making holes in the pipes.  In hindsight, drilling these holes was the worst step of them all.


Regardless of my amazing handiwork,  this was such a chore…


92 holes! Miserable hours… I am not doing another one of these until my kids can be trusted with a power drill.


Here you can appreciate all the glory of my work… Just add water!


And here are all the holes after cleanup.


The next step was setting up the return pipes to the water reservoir.  This part was actually fun.  The down-pipes are only held in place by the rubber seals.  I was able to ‘slip’ them up or down later to adjust the water level for each pipe.  The general idea is to have the bottom of each plant ‘touching’ the water.


Here you can see a later picture where I am checking the water level of the horizontal pipes.  Success!


On the other end of the frame, water is carried to the top of the frame via clear hoses (bad idea, future post imminent).  Water is finally diverted to each pipe via 1/4 inch sprinkler tubing out of 2 manifolds.  Your local garden store has all these things for you.  Cheap too!


Fully assembled in all its initial glory.


Lastly, here is the return water pipe to the reservoir before water embarks upstream again!  You can see a leftover pool pump form those above ground summer pools you get at Walmart.

Thanks for reading.  More later…



11 thoughts on “Hydroponics A-Frame Build Log

  1. Pingback: Hydroponics System Update – Month One | Mario Talavera Writes

  2. Interesting …I am in the planning stage of a market garden , but need to start small first …your device looks like a starting point .
    I also want to expand into Aquaponics and ultimately run the two concurrently and congruently

    • Best of luck Charles. I’ve still got this setup.
      It is currently growing peppers, watermelons, basil and kale. It’s more of a hobby than an enterprise but the upkeep and pleasure derived from it makes me happy. I’ve recently wired it up for remove monitoring and its fun… https://ibb.co/vsMNpbZ

      I wish you the best in your market garden. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Cheers.

  3. hey
    I just finished the build and I love it! I am brand new to Hydroponics so Im struggling a bit.. My biggest problem is the Manifold pressure.. I have a 8 line manifold from Lowes and at least two lines always stop running..I have replaced the manifold and tried adjusting the pressure on each..I have also cleaned out the manifold multiple time. Have you had the same issue?

    • Charles,

      Water pressure at the manifold depends on having a big enough pump and the height where manifold is. Can you minimize the distance from the pump to the top of the water tubing?

      FYI – When I originally built this, I used a left over pump from those kid pools at Walmart. Performance was OK but pump died after a while. I have since ‘upgraded’ to a ‘Simple Deluxe LGPUMP400G 400 GPH’ I bought on Amazon. They are $29 and it is more than enough to provide enough pressure.
      I do have to ‘clear’ manifold by letting it run without screw in middle bit for a few seconds every once in a while. Good luck.

      • Thank you sooooo much..Your a life saver I was able to move the manifold closer to the pump by almost 5 feet and its running perfect now. Now if I can stop killing plants ..lol…Im new to this and I have not been having any luck but at least the irrigation is correct now so i can focus on the other issues..lol

  4. Also in growing outside in Florida heat and was wondering isf you have any tips on water level in my tubes abd duration of sunlight each day ….I am currently growing …peppers…Collards…cucumbers…okra and mustard greens… they are all pre bought seedlings from a hydroponics store and they are hurting bad!..lol

  5. That I am afraid I cannot help you with. Does garden receive any shade? These summer months can be very rough on plants; I agree. We have about another month and change of this heat… I would be getting another batch of seedlings to sprout so that taking them to garden coincides with better weather. Cheers.

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