If you’re interested in learning how to build your own DIY hydroponic system for an herb garden or other related project then you’ve come to the right place!
In this tutorial we show how to build a DIY hydroponics indoor herb garden. Our DIY hydroponic system herb garden will water on a custom hydroponic watering cycle (2 minutes on / 4 minutes off) and monitor the reservoir water level.
This DIY hydroponic system will be connected to WiFi to send notification alerts whenever the water reservoir is running low on water and needs to be refilled.
Finished product first! This is our completed indoor hydroponic herb garden box. The storage container uses a 7 gallon storage bin with a lid. We also used 2″ net pots, a fiber medium and some clay pellets in our net pots.
We used the Adosia Automatic Plant Feeder Reservoir subassembly kit for wifi and parts, and some 3M 90 contact adhesive to mount the pump to the bottom of the storage container / reservoir (best stuff to bond plastics together). You can find detailed videos and learn about custom WiFi controllers on the Adosia Official YouTube channel.
We started with a 7 gallon storage bin container we picked up from our local store a while back that was still in great condition. This is the bin after we rinsed it off with the hose. Show placed on top of the lid is the 2″ hole saw bit we used to cut out holes in the lid where our 2″ net pots will rest.
Here is the storage container lid for the DIY hydroponic system with 2″ holes cut out using the 2″ circular hole saw bit. We used a regular drill. There is an attachment piece that comes with some bits.
Here is the storage container lid with four (4) holes drilled as evenly spaced as possible. Each hole is 2″ in diameter. We could have alternatively used larger (and less) holes to support larger net pots and larger plant(s). Make sure to drill the exact same size hole in your lid as the diameter of the net pots you are using, otherwise the pot will likely fall through into the reservoir.
Here we drilled a 1/2″ hole and installed our second (horizontal) water level sensor switch. This water level sensor switch will be used to warn us when water is getting low in the DIY hydroponic system. We’ve placed this sensor switch above the bottom (vertical) water level sensor switch on the pump. The vertical water level sensor switch lets us know water is completely empty and protects the water pump.
There is a rubber washer that goes on the inside of the horizontal level switch – just insert the level switch and tighten the nut on the back – simple enough. We will use this water level sensor switch to warn us when water is getting low by triggering an alert.
Here we show the black 1/4″ outer diameter landscaping tubing we use to transport the water around our bin and into the water delivery nozzles. These black strips connect to the nozzles and will be placed on the “vertical” side of each tee-connector located in each corner of the storage bin (secured with two zip ties per corner as shown below).
You can use whatever nozzles you’d like as long as there is enough pressure to ensure the medium gets wet while spraying from underneath. Alternative, you could run the hose above the lid into drip type nozzles.
Here we drilled pairs of holes (x4 holes total in each corner) for our zip ties that will be used to mount the 1/4″ irrigation tubing around the inside of the DIY hydroponic system.
Here is the inside mount of the landscaping tubing using zip ties. Two zip ties are used in each corner, one to secure each side of the tee-connector that connects the central tubing to the nozzle extrusion. Make sure to fill the water below this area to prevent water leakage from the holes. We use a tee-connector to connect the nozzle extrusion to the watering tube line going around the inside of the reservoir.
We use 3M 90 contact adhesive to bond the pump and bottom water level sensor switch assembly to the bottom of the reservoir. It helps to reinforce the bonding process by scuffing the bottom of the pump and the bottom of the reservoir with sandpaper before applying the contact adhesive. It also helps to connect the 3/8″ outer diameter tubing to the pump before bonding it to the reservoir. This will reduce the chance of ripping the newly bonded pump off the reservoir base when attaching the tube later as it is a tight fit and requires a decent amount of force to attach. Let the pump dry at the bottom of the reservoir for as long as the contact adhesive directions recommend.
The water pump and bottom level sensor switch wires are fed through a small 1/4″ hole drilled above the water line of the reservoir. This hole should be drilled above the watering line where the ring runs. You can seal this hole with a glue gun if you’d like, but it’s not a big deal if the water is always filled below the watering line (hole). Just make sure the hole is away from direct sunlight to prevent algae growth.
This shows our pump and level switch installed, with water in the reservoir so we can test to make sure we don’t have any leaks.
We run our watering ring around the bin. We used a 3/8″ outer diameter tube coming from the pump (1/4″ inner diameter), and forcefully pushed the 1/4″ outer black diameter tube into the 1/4″ clear inner diameter tubing coming from the water pump (the pump requires a 1/4″ inner diameter connection).
Now we connect our WiFi board.
The top yellow wires are the bottom water level sensor switch (tells us we are out of water and protects the pump from running dry and burning up). The black wires just to the right next to the yellow wires are for the other water level sensor switch (just tells us water is getting low so we have a chance to refill the reservoir before it stops running).
The pump wires are red and black and plug into the left-center channel.
Here are the net pots installed into the lid of the DIY hydroponic system. We made sure to push the medium to the bottom of the pot to ensure it gets wet by the nozzles. This will ensure moisture travels up to the top of the medium, which is required to seed directly from these net pots.
We need to setup our watering cycle for the pump channel. In Adosia, we set 120 seconds on (2 min) and 240 seconds off (4 min) – click deploy.
Here we set our bottom water level sensor switch to protect our pump and send an alert when we are out of water.
Here we set our second water level sensor switch (placed above our bottom level switch) to warn us when water is getting low and before the reservoir is empty. Assign this profile to your device and you are good to go.
After the device begins running, make sure to adjust your nozzles to ensure water is reaching the bottom of each net pot with appropriate force / pressure. The nozzles should be directed upwards and spray the bottom of the net pot.
Run for 5-10 hydroponic cycles and check the medium to make sure it is moist at the top. This will let us know we have good water flow and can seed right from the net pot.
That’s it! Thanks for reading and if you still have questions then check out the Adosia YouTube channel: Adosia Official
Everything you need as far as IoT and wifi hardware can be purchased at Adosia.io! If you liked this build guide then be sure to check out our other DIY build logs here.