My first encounter with a commercially available hydroponic system was a garden made by General Hydroponics from 6 inch PVC pipe. Since then, I've experimented with several variations on that design, in search of less expensive ways to get started in hydroponics. PVC pipe's inherent ease of use during construction, versatility, and availability as a plumbing product make it an ideal material for building your own hydroponic system. Standard round PVC pipe is available from any plumbing supply, and the newer square extrusions used here are available from construction material and outdoor fencing suppliers. The 5 inch square extrusions have the added benefit of increased stiffness, their flat bottoms prevent them from rolling over and they require less support than their 4 and 6 inch tubular counterparts. Before you get carried away trying to decide which type of PVC pipe to use for your system, remember that plants only care about food, water and proper oxygenation, and all of these designs do a good job of providing each of these requirements.
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