My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How to Cut Glass Bottles to make a Rooftop Garden Wick-Based Hydroponic System


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Cut Glass Bottles to make a Rooftop Garden Wick-Based Hydroponic System

If you’ve read my article on Solar powered Organic Farming in the Geezam blog entitled “Solar Powered Organic Farming – Sustainable Agricultural Development and Jamaica’s Food Security”, you may be thinking that this is a very expensive and labour intensive project to undertake.

But if you’ve built the Solar Desalinator as described in my Geezam blog entitled “How to Make Distilled Water using a Solar Desalinator” you may by now be starting to get the hang of this DIY (Do it Yourself). Even better, if you’ve upgraded it using the Fresnel Lens as described in my blog article entitled “How to upgrade your Solar Desalinator to a Solar Cooker and make a Solar Foundry for Vacuum Pyrolysis” you will realize that you can do a lot of cool stuff as well as produce a lot of Distilled Water for which you may find difficulty using all at once.

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So why not do a Hydroponics Garden System similar to the ones being done by the Harpers as stated in the article “Herbs: The Healthy Hydroponic Way”, Published Thursday March 22, 2012 by Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner?

It does indeed have certain advantages that were brought to light by the recent discovery by the Jamaican Police of a Hydroponics Farm in a rented house belonging to the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) in Old Stony Hill Road in St Andrew being used to grow Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as stated in “High-tech ganja farm found on church-owned property”, published Thursday, June 13, 2013 BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

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The video below explains the advantages of a Hydroponic Garden System and its potential to shape Jamaica’s agricultural landscape once it becomes a large-scale practice applied to Greenhouses:

According to the video, there are five (5) main types of Hydroponics Systems:

1.      Ebb and Flow
2.      Nutrient Film
3.      Drip Irrigation
4.      Aerophonics
5.      Wick System

Advantages of Hydroponics Systems in a Greenhouse include:

1.      Soil-less medium means less problems with soil based pathogens
2.      Shorter harvest time for crops
3.      Stable and higher yields crops
4.      Better tasting food as no need for the use of Pesticides and Fertilizers
5.      Higher quality crops as the growth environment is controlled in the Greenhouse.
6.      Allows for the Recycling of Water, thereby mitigating against drought
7.      Eliminates stigma of Farming and has the potential to attract more Millennials (ages 18 to 28) to take up Farming

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In this article, I’ll show you how to make a Wick based Hydroponics System using old Glass Bottles. Glass Bottles are best, as you can control the rates of Evaporation of the Water from the Nutrient Solution.

You’ll need:

1.      100% pure acetone or Isopropyl Alcohol
2.      Bravery like Samson
3.      Cigarette Lighter or Matches
4.      Cotton or Cloth
5.      Distilled Water from your own Solar Desalinator
6.      Glass Bottle
7.      Heat treated Sieved Washed Sand or Fine Gravel purchased at your local Farm Store
8.      Plastic Crates
9.      Seive to sieve out Sand
10.  Solar Desaliator with the Fresnel Lens upgrade as a Solar Pyrolizer
11.  Tub of Ice Cold Water
12.  Water Soluble Nutrient Mix at your local Farm Store (ask and they’ll show ya!)
13.  Yarn

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The instructions are as follows and are as plain as the picture above:

1.      Soak the Yarn in the 100% pure acetone or Isopropyl Alcohol
2.      Wrap it around the Glass Bottle tightly at the point where you want the Glass Bottle to be cut
3.      Light it with the Lighter and spin the bottle around to make sure it burns evenly
4.      Just as the fire goes out, rapidly and suddenly dip the glass bottle into the Tub of Ice Cold Water
5.      The Glass Bottle will Crack perfectly without splinters exactly where the Yarn was wrapped
6.      In the meantime sieve the Sand until you get it as fine as possible. Wash and leave to dry
7.      Use the Solar Desaliator that’s upgraded as a Solar Pyrolizer to cook the Sand. This kills all bacteria in the Sand. Do not directly heat with the Fresnel Lens as this might cause the Sand to fuse.
8.      Leave the now Pyrolized Sand and let it cool
9.      In the meantime Wash out the cracked Glass Bottle and the cracked off top
10.  Mix the Water Soluble Nutrient Mix into some distilled water as per instructions and pour it into the Glass Bottle
11.  Invert the cracked off top end of the Glass Bottle and plug the bottom with Cotton or Cloth
12.  Thread the Lamp Wick through the hole so that it makes contact with the Nutrient solution
13.  Fill with the now Pyrolized Sand
14.  Insert the Plants into the Sand
15.  Place on your Rooftop in the Plastic Crates
16.  Patience like Job as the Plants begin to grow towards the wick that absorbs the Nutrient solution

The secret of the technique is the fact that Glass and other similar ceramics are insulators. The sudden application of heat then cooling causes the molecules to vibrate and thus crack at the point where the heat was applied and removed suddenly. This provides an explanation as to why pouring hot liquid into a cold Glass cup will cause it to shatter.

Here’s a video explaining the above process to make the Glass.

That’s a wrap!

You can use this technique to create an entire Garden or Hydroponic Plants that will grow much faster than regular Plants. Eventually, you can even end up doing your own Herb and Spice Garden, even growing Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) Hydroponically for making Citronella Oil as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make Environmentally Friendly Citronella (Lemon Grass) Oil for Mosquito Repellant Lotion and Candles”.

No Green Thumb required as you become a Rooftop Gardener and avoid Soylent Green (1973)

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