An automatic irrigation system may seem like a hard task but it doesn't require any skill and can help you save time and effort when growing medicinal plants indoors. Obviously, buying an irrigation system can be expensive but if you make yours from scratch it’s just as easy and far cheaper. An automatic irrigation setup allows you to water multiple times a day without manually turning on or supervising your equipment, saving you time and effort. So read along if you want to learn how to build your own medicinal plants automatic irrigation system!

1. How Does Automatic Irrigation Work?

An automatic irrigation system consists of a large water reservoir that is usually placed outside the grow tent, this water reservoir has a water pump inside which is plugged on a timer. The water pump sends water through one main water tube into the grow tent, where it’s then distributed to the medicinal plants. Some growers also buy or make draining saucers which drain to a bucket outside the tent, allowing you to remove run-off water without having to raise each grow pot individually.

This is basically how an automatic irrigation system works, obviously, there are several different ways to do so, depending on your grow setup, number of plants and your personal preferences but, in most cases, here’s what you need to buy or build your own automatic irrigation system.

2.  Automatic Drip System Components

Everything you need to put together the drip system for your indoor automatic watering system is listed below.

 Reservoir Tank

When selecting a bucket, barrel, tank, or tub for your reservoir there are a few things to consider.

  • Size: You want a reservoir that will hold enough water to run your system for at least a day or two. In a 4x4 tent I can use up to 3 gallons per day.
  • Height: Tall reservoirs allow you to use fountain style aeration. However the siphon effect problem may limit how much water you can fill in a tall reservoir.
  • Color: The reservoir should protect the nutrient solution from light as much as possible. Avoid clear plastic or white containers that allow light to penetrate.

Irrigation Pump

The pump that you need for an indoor watering system is not very large. It needs to be powerful enough to raise the water into the tent and provide some pressure to ensure equal distribution. However that task can be handled by pretty small pumps. About 300 GPH should be the minimum for any auto-watering system. If you have a large grow you can estimate about 60 gph per plant to determine how large your pump should be.

We recommend running one pump for up to 8-10 plants. Running more than 10 plants on a single pump makes it extremely difficult to balance the distribution of water among the plants. If you are growing more than 10 plants, you should set up two systems with separate pumps.

Digital Timer

 Digital Timer with one second intervals

ECO Farm Smart Electronic Garden Water Timers For Irrigation Control System

  • 【Premium Material】 Made of High-quality plastic materials with full waterproof function, , this watering controller is wear-resistant, anti-corrosion
  • 【Setting Function】 You can set the program according to you needs. This product can water 16 times in one day, and it can water different times each time
  • 【Water Cycle Controlled】 The water cycle can be controlled by rotary switch. The shortest cycle time is 1 hours, and the longest cycle is 72 hours
  • 【Convenient for Using】 Watering times can be controlled by rotary switch. The specified mode of continuous output of the shortest open valve time is 1 minutes, the longest continuous output opening valve time is 120 minutes
  • 【Application】 Suitable for roof garden, balcony, etc, outdoor automatic sprinkler system


When you keep nutrient solution in a reservoir it is important to keep the water oxygenated. Water with a high level of Dissolved Oxygen helps to prevent bad bacteria and is great for the plants. For small tanks, up to about 30 gallons, air-pumps and air-stones provide adequate oxygenation. If you are run a larger reservoir or use organic nutrients then you should use a stirring pump to mix and oxygenate the solution. A stirring pump is a small fountain pump which should sit in the reservoir and run periodically to “stir” the nutrient solution.

Aquarium Thermometer

It is best to keep the temperature of the water in the reservoir between 65-68f (18-20c). This temperature range helps to maintain dissolved oxygen and prevent infestation with anaerobic bacteria.

ECO Farm Digital Accurate Hygrometer and Thermometer

Digital hygrometers usually also have other uses, such as measuring temperature and other environmental factors in addition to the humidity level. There are some pros to using these kinds of tools, though. For instance, they are very, very accurate, and they are often more affordable than quality analog versions.
  • Temperature (°C/ °F), Relative Humidity % and Dew Point measurements.
  • Accurate hygrometer Digital thermometer displays high/low temperatures and humidity, ready to adapt to changes in the environment.
  • Humidity alarm features can be turned on or off.
  • Selectable °C/°F temperature units.
  • Can be wall-mount or desktop.

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