New Product: Hydroponics System

It’s time to design, build and operate a new household-scale production system.

The new product will be a hydroponics growing system I’ll use to grow enough salad greens, herbs, and flowers to meet the household’s needs, and have some left over to share with my friends.

In addition to creating the hydroponics system, I’ll develop new skills, acquire new tools, learn about new materials, and get another trip through the product development process under my belt.

As I move through the development cycle, I’ll publish:

Research Notes. At the beginning of the project, I’ll do a “literature search”, and glean all I can about hydroponics, the various design options, the major components, the maintenance and operations issues others have encountered, etc. The relevant parts of that material will get consolidated into a document, and key parts of that document will be used as input to the requirements and design materials I produce. Other research notes will probably get built as I zero in on each of the major components.

Requirements. The requirements document is a concise, complete list of what the system has to do in order to meet my expectations. It’s the target the rest of the project is aiming for.

Designs. The system will be composed of several components (sub-assemblies). I’ll publish one design for each component, and a summary-level design that shows how all the components fit together.

Component Construction Notes. As each component of the system gets built, I’ll publish construction notes and possibly a video to describe the construction process and any relevant issues encountered or decisions made during construction. This is also where the component bill of materials and possibly sources for those materials will be located.

Installation Guide. Directions for installing the system once I’ve built and tested each of the components

Operations Guide. Directions for operating the system, touching on phase of the operations life-cycle from seed-starting all the way through harvest, and of course the periodic system maintenance functions

Project Review. This is the story I’ll write at the end of the project. It will describe what went well, what didn’t, and what would I do differently next time.

Author: Tom Pfotzer
I'm a retired I.T. worker who runs a farm. Like many of us, I'm trying to figure out how to respond to the slow-motion environmental and economic collapse we're engulfed in. I want to work with people who understand what's going on and are ready to do something about it.

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