Build Your Own PVC DIY Vertical NFT System

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We’ve built a simple DIY vertical NFT system using just PVC materials and a reservoir with an aquarium pump to recirculate nutrients. This little unit can grow 48 plants which provides us with a monthly supply of lettuce for our lunch time salads. Our aim is to get minimum 200g per plant of loose leaf lettuce which is almost 10kgs of lettuce on a monthly basis. We have coined it ‘HydroNFT48’.


How Does It Work?

The HydroNFT48 vertical NFT system unit is made entirely of just 2″ PVC, 1″ PVC, and fittings. Holes are drilled every 6″ inches from center to center. We used socket reducer adapters to connect the channels to the frame, which doubles as the nutrient delivery lines. The entire project cost less than PHP 5K, of which the most expensive component was the pump.

The nutrient solution flows from the reservoir up to the top where it splits evenly between two channels and flows down at the other end to the next level. The nutrient flow is one directional, controlled by a series of valves, where it eventually returns back to the reservoir. Socket reducers from 2″ to 1″ create a small puddle inside the grow channel where the plant roots can still receive nourishment in case of extended brown-outs.

The HydroNFT48 vertical NFT system is a concept for many households, stores, and offices to think about. It produces fresh and healthy greenleaf vegetables which we all feel we need more of in our diets. It’s also a fun way to learn and experiment with different nutrient formulas to look for ways to improve size, taste, and texture.

Find out how to build your own vertical NFT system below.

Our Feeding Targets for Lettuce:

  • Week 1: 200ppm
  • Week 2: 400ppm
  • Week 3: 800ppm
  • Week 4: 1000ppm

Keep in mind that plants increasingly consume water in the later stages of growth, so you’ll need to keep an eye out to replenish base water in the reservoir to avoid the pump from running dry.


  • 2″ PVC
  • 1″ PVC
  • 1″ PVC fittings – elbows, tees, and end-caps
  • 1″ PVC ball valves
  • PVC Solvent
  • White glossy paint
  • Reservoir
  • Small aquarium pump
  • Saw or angle grinder cutter
  • Drill with 2″ hole saw with shank
  • Paintbrush
Planting Materials:
  • 2″ inch net pots
  • 3kgs hydroton clay pebbles
  • Lettuce seeds
  • Seedling tray
  • Cocopeat

Buy Parris Island Lettuce here

Buy 3kgs Hydroton Clay Pebbles here

Buy 2″ Net Pots (48pcs) here


The Finished Product

You can choose to make your unit any size you want. Our measurements are 5ft L x 3ft W x 4ft H for 48 holes on 4 levels of channels. Use your creativity to customize your unit to however it suits your purpose. Place the unit in a sunny location, it works especially great on balconies or in small spaces.

Watch the Video

Once you’ve been able to assemble the components, make sure to dry the paint and solvent thoroughly then test the system for any leaks. Once qualified, add your nutrients and transplant your seedlings for a never-ending supply of fresh vegetables. The only maintenance activity you need to do is check the pH and TDS every few days to make sure your plants are healthy, happy, and hungry. Enjoy!