Recently we’ve been out at Carbeth Eco quite a bit enjoying the countryside and getting to work in their polytunnel imagining up all sorts of designs. Our most recent one is made out of a large fish tank we found in a skip and some guttering – and not much else!
The guttering can often be upcycled, but can be bought for around £13 for a sheath in home DIY shops. We were going for simple and effective with this system. We were able to pick up some gutter clips that did the job perfectly:
While we drilled the gutters straight into the wall of the showcase area behind the tank, a wooden pallet (also easily upcycled, but make sure it wasn’t used to transport hazardous chemicals first) would do nicely for a more portable system. Each row has a slight tilt to it so that the water will flow nicely once the plants have been added.
For this system we decided to have three full rows and a small trough on the bottom, but the gutters could be adjusted to fill as much of the wall as desired. How much area for the grow beds you can use will depend on the amount of water in your tanks, so keep this in mind.
For the moment we’ve stuck netting on the ends to hold in the clay substrate, but we’re going to get gutter caps instead to avoid unwanted water spillage. We also drained a few holes along the bottom of each of the grow beds rows to aid water flow and avoid too much congestion at the ends. We may need to add more once the system is up and running, but the great thing about this design is each tray slides out of its clips, making cleaning, adjusting, and replacement really easy!
What a beaut, eh? We’ll be back in a few weeks to add the end caps, substrate, and plants when things warm up a bit. Carbeth Eco has its own fishery, so we’ll be stocking this guy with some trout fingerlings for the moment, making sure to keep a strong flow of water. Stay tuned for progress!