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Bigdaddy's Giving iAVs a Go

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Hi everybody,

Over the last couple of years I have moved into a smaller somewhat different place to where I was before.  (This place is flat, compared with a larger individually engineered block I had before) The move presented me with quite a few challenges in the design of the systems I wanted to build.

It is no longer as easy as digging a hole up the top of my back yard, put a grow bed in and run the fish tanks from my pergola area. Now I want to avoid digging holes for my fish tanks (which I really do...Like i want to avoid the plague) soI have to build a substantial table/s to hold my grow bed/s... enter the cost factor....

Before I go any further, you need to know I am limited to the area you see in the picture...And it has to look nice, my orders he he. The other limitation is any heavy outside material has to be transported through my garage and through my house to the backyard as we have no side gates nor side paths and no access through the back fence either.

Getting back to the materials, I could go to Bunnings (One of Australia's largest nationwide hardware store chains) and spend a hefty $200.00 plus and buy some heavy duty modular shelving, build that. But I don't want to shell out that kind of money to spend on something to hold my grow beds on just yet.. So I've been keeping my eyes open for things and collecting them along the way and this is what I have so far...

I have 2 X 900 X 1200 X 300 Grow beds $40.00 ea, 1 especially cut top 1200 X 900 cost $10.00,  I have hand cut a lump of about 115 X 115 square treated pine to 4 X 900 for my legs The wood cost $20.00 and another $17.00 for screws and drivers to screw the table top on, oh, and the wine barrels, they cost $60.00 ea but unfortunately I don't think they will be suitable as I did a test a couple of months ago for ph and it was way below 6pH, as I suspected so they will possibly be filled with potting mix and an apricot and miniature macadamia maybe, then they will join my lemon and lime trees which have both suffered the same fate.

Now I know certain people can not understand the difficulty some people are having obtaining the correct sand, let me assure those people, I am one who is having difficulty obtaining the correct sand at the correct price, and my hunt goes on. I think it is lunacy to pay $250.00 plus, plus delivery for a tonne bulka bag of sand. Back to my equipment, I still have to find suitable liner material.  and then it's a simple matter of sizing the pump up and knocking up a few fittings to suit.

I may put up a shed or give it some protection later on but my aim ATM is to get a basic system running first.

And on we go...



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Hi bd, sounds like you have some interesting constraints, but they make you more creative, no doubt! Good luck with the sand hunt. I'm looking forward to seeing how your build goes.

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Take a peek at Eddys old threads He's got a onground "narrow" system runing along a fence, that looks good IMO

You can get some good design ideas and sheare the pics/plans with your family/neighbour on what you have in mind to get support on your project


Ian's systems are also great design's IMO

More of his designs to find on the other forums.



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Hi Folks,

Heres a couple more pics of my work in progress.

ATM (until I change my mind again lol) I think I will build one system with one only 1x 300 litre grow bed. I will also use one of my 200 litre drums from my filter systems as the fish tank.

I can fill that to the 150 litre point put an old pump and plumbing into it and that will solve my water inlet transfere issue. I have also found some old modular shelving I had laying about, and brought an end which I didn't have, cost $30.00 ..This shelving is ideal for what I want to do...The drum fits nicely under the top shelf  which will provide protection from the elements...I have also bought some builders film which they print as also being ideal for fish pond liner for $26.00..Which is a great deal cheaper than buying the proper fish pond liner material...

One of the issues I had previously with my board(base for the grow beds) cut to 1800mm x 1200mm would of been when I came to maintaining the veges and sand...

I would not of being able to easily reach to the other side of my grow bed, unless I was a giant,  because I would of only been able to access it from two or three sides in the position I want my system, now with just one grow bed, I can have full access and the system would be reasonably protected from the elements because of the proximity of the house...The other thing is I also have a few hundred mm of space between the fish tank and house so water from the system getting to the foundations of the house is minimized.

You should be able to see what I'm talking about when looking at the pics.

Here's the pic showing the space I have. It also shows you the water and electricity supply.The drain of the fish tank is facing towards us because there is a drain behind where I took the pic.


This pic shows where the inlet comes comes up...I will probably have to direct it so the water comes into the grow bed from the point closest to us. There is some wood under this end, which will change to two smaller bits 1 under each foot to give the grow bed a slope back to the tank.

The fish tank is where it is rather than at the opposite end to try and protect it more from the weather.




Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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Good to hear from you Colin,

Love your setup, Nice to hear and see it's giving you a lot of satisfaction. The tomatoes look great and I bet they taste even better!

My iVAs system is going to have to wait for a while, unfortunately.

I have to spend a lot of time (and that is time I don't have ATM) trying to find the correct sand at the correct price and to date have failed. I may have to pay the $250.00 plus price tag per tonne the way things are going but I just don't want to do that, and I kind of think it's against the underlying iAVs principle of not spending a lot of money on components (I call sand a component lol) for this type of system. Inexpensive and simple are my thoughts on this.

When and if I find the correct type of sand I'll post it so you and others won't have the trouble I have. Hopefully I'l get somewhere.

I've tried quarries who don't sell less than 8 tonne orders, the places they suggest I go and those places don't understand the CS 33 specs so I go looking in the yards and can't find the sand pure enough and coarse (or fine) enough. I did find a mob in prospect or thereabouts who promised to get back to me but have not after 6 months they are a mob a civil engineering friend suggested I use. so yeah, a little frustrating but not giving up just have to find the time now.

One thing I might do is to ring Gary's suggestion of Riverside sands in Brisbane and ask them if they know of similar people to them in Adelaide.


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2 hours ago, bigdaddy said:

I've tried quarries who don't sell less than 8 tonne orders, the places they suggest I go and those places don't understand the CS 33 specs so I go looking in the yards and can't find the sand pure enough and coarse (or fine) enough.

ASTM C 33, is a American Standard and is used by many countries, courtesy of the American Standards .

BUT, AU doesn't use it, they have their own set of standards. 

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