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Quote: I don't see why I'd have to ever move my plants, and that looks pretty convenient for watering. How much did it cost you to build? I would feel safer knowing I could disassemble everything quickly in case I had to move/get rid of them. Also, I was thinking after I've got this first batch under my belt, maybe a couple others, I'd build a 2nd box for vegging, so that would require me to move them, but maybe this is more worth it. I'd like to hear more about it (edit: cost, how it's made, is it anymore effective, can you fit more plants etc).
It certainly is convenient with watering. I've always worked with this system and have no experience with containers. Is is particularly suitable for creating a living soil, with worms to keep the soil airy and remove old roots, and mycorrhiza (symbiosis between fungus and roots of the plants) fungus. I reuse most of my (peat)soil because I don't like removing, dumping, buying and carrying new soil. I renew 15% (one bag) of the peat-mix after every grow.
I also use a tensiometer to know when to water. Mine was 30 euro, and I bought it here. I don't have any US based shops for you, because I always order in Europe. The tensiometer works great. You almost need something like that if you water from below. The top of the soil always stays dry. This also helps against some pests.
The structure is made from wood. You should check your local price for that. Put some thick foil in there, the thing they use for ponds is good. This should be very cheap. I found the drainage tubes at a local shop that sold it for $2 per meter (~3'). Then you only have to fill it with a lot of soil/medium. I use this.
My idea is to build a good, frugal setup without skimping on anything. I'm not super tight on cash, if it's worth it I'm willing to spend more, but I don't have money to waste either.
Make sure you buy decent industrial fans. Like dr penguin said: centrifugal fans, not the bathroom/kitchen inline fans nor pc fans . You don't waste money on a good fan. They don't need to be very large though.
Oh, weird. Should've tested it first, thanks though Sirius. I won't need the reflector, but it comes with it and it still seems cheaper than anywhere else I could find one. Should be a digital ballast, a 600w HPS and a 600w MH for $165 shipped all together. I'll build my own carbon filter and cool tube. Looks like I'm going to have all of this come out relatively inexpensive so far.