you still have to "maintain it".. trimming, checking for bugs/disease... and making sure your drip doesn't over/under water them...
a 20 gallon Sterlite/Rubbermaid type tub ($8)-- a bubbler w/bubble stone ($10 ) and a small pond pump with tubing & "T" fittings is all you'll need --- except a electronic 1-week timer... There's your $$$... don't skinmpp it needs to be accurate--- and you'll have to monitor it the 1st 2 weeks or so.
Drill a hole in the lid for a legnth of tubing. Put the water pump in the bin after connecting the tubing. Fill the bin with water & nute solution mixed at 1/3 the normal stregnth for that Brand and the phase of the plant (as it will get nutes in every wateringinstead of 1x a week-- AND
You'll have to check & refill every 10-12 days)
Let it set for a couple hours, check, and adjust ph if nessisary (6.o or as close as possible is best)
This does NOT work with Miracle grow!!
Attach the airstone to a length of tubing, and drop in the bin...
attach the other end to the airpump AFTER running it out a hole
(some bins have them allready in the handle area-- or drill one in the lid.!)
Run the Tubing from the water pump out the hole in the lid. Snap on the lid.
Set the airpum on the lid or beside the bin on the floor.
Use "T" connectors to attach as many t ubes as you need in order to have one tube going into t each pot-- IF you have more than 5-or 6 pots-- use 2 or more pumps.
Use "U" shaped pieces of wire or hanger to hold the drip-hose in place so the end is at soil level on or two inches from the plants base.
Plug the air pump in to a regular outlet so it is allways running... be sure there is an outlet for your timer.
Plug-in your water pump, and Turn it on so your plants are being watered--
Stay with them, and make note of the time.
Watch their drip pans under the planters..
as soon as you see ANY water comming out of the pots, turn off the pump.
Subtract 15 minutes from the amount of time it took to water the plants.
Plug the water pumps into the timer-- and set it to go off every 3 days...for the amount of time you just figured.
In 3 days, and hour or so before the timer is set to water-- go check the soil-- IF the top 2 inches have dried-- you are good to go... if it is too dry (all the soil is dry, pulling away from the edges, droopy plants etc) reset the timer to go off every 2 days instead of 3...(best bet is check your plants day 2 just to be cautiouse!)
If it is still damp-- or only the surface is dry on day 3.. reset to water every 4 days.
And be sure to keep a "planner" so you know how often to fill the bin, how much nutes your using (and change if needed) And what feeding phase they are in for changing nutes!
Hope ya got all that--- it's really easy to make-- it's getting the timing right that counts.
BUT REMEMBER-- the best weed is weed that is consistantly monitored, tended and cared for.. ya can't just plant it and leave it!