7 Steps to Make an Autopots Hydroponic System

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Suitable size reservoir
Quarter inch opaque plastic tubing
Large flat tray at least 4inches deep
Plants in hydroponic pots

Autopots is an Australian hydroponic system that automatically waters plants on demand. This automatic container gardening system only needs to be checked to ensure that the reservoir is not empty. The watering frequency mimics the natural cycle of rain and dry and requires very little maintenance once set up.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor Susan Patterson adds, "Autopots allow for healthy root development. This is an excellent system for people who do not have the space for a traditional garden."

Step 1 - Locate the Tray

Put the tray where you are going to have your Autopot system set up. The position should be permanent but the Autopot system can be moved quite easily if you want to. The size of the reservoir determines how many pots it can service. Two reservoirs can service one tray if the tray is very large. It makes more sense to have several smaller trays than one large one.

Step 2 - Set All the Pots

The hydroponic pots can be arranged in the tray. There should be a couple of inches between the pots to allow for plant growth. It is not necessary to have anything in the bottom of the tray. If you think it would look nicer with some clay pellets between the pots there is no reason not to have them. The hydroponic pots must still be sitting on the base of the tray if you do put clay pellets in it.

Step 3 - Feed the Pots

Pour about 2 inches of feed solution into the tray. This ensures the plants are kept watered and fed while you set up the system.

Step 4 - Locate the Reservoir

Decide where the reservoir will be positioned. It should be a little higher up than the tray and not too far away.

Step 5 - Connect The Tubing to the Reservoir

Fit the plastic tubing to the reservoir near the bottom. You can buy the necessary connection in most hardware shops. Make sure that the connection is sound and does not leak.

The plastic tubing should be long enough to reach into the tray and be routed round any obstacles. Allow an extra foot and then cut it.

Step 6 - Fit the Smartvalve

The smartvalve lies in the bottom of the tray. It is clearly marked to show which side should face upwards. The valve will not work if it is incorrectly oriented. The valve is quite robust but take care not to drop it.

Step 7 - Mix the Nutrient

Mix enough nutrient solution to fill the reservoir. Check the pH level and pour it in to the reservoir. The smart valve should start automatically feeding the plants straight away.

Your Autopots system is now set up and working. You might see that there is no solution in the tray from time to time. This is quite normal--the smartvalve only delivers solution when the tray is empty.