The Affordable Portable Greens Bubbler: Shop-Vac Edition

The Affordable Portable Greens Bubbler: Shop-Vac Edition

Let’s take a minute to recognize this post has nothing to do with no-till. But, we here at No-Till Growers love a good farm-hack. One thing we love about no/low-till grow systems is the amount of tools you don’t necessarily need to do it reasonably well. What you do use can be simple, and just as effective. I love the ingenuity and creativity here, which is inherent to successful small farms, even despite a lack of time and technical/mechanical skill (to which I can totally relate). One could argue the former is more important than the latter, but we’ll save that for another time.
- Farmer Jackson

After admittedly having some complaints about debris and a couple bugs (one a ladybug, which in some cultures is a sign of good luck, at least) in my salad mix, I decided to invest in a greens bubbler. But here’s the thing, I like mobility. Flexibility. Liftibility? I like to be able to reconfigure my wash/pack as the season calls for it. So, I didn’t want any sort of stationary system and definitely didn’t need anything particularly large for the amount of greens we move.

Moreover, I don’t know jack about working with electricity. I don’t have the savvy to set up a jacuzzi blower that has to be wired into a box or a timer like Curtis Stone’s or Steven Cornett‘s. Sure, I could learn. But at the moment, mid-season, I just don’t have the time to figure it out. Winter project season is over. I had an issue, it needed to be solved immediately, I am mostly a dummy about electricity. Just facts.

I found that several people were using the blower on their shop-vacs to power their bubblers, but there was almost no information on how to do so. However, there was this one video I used as a reference point. I had the PVC lying around, shop-vacs are $60 to $70 bucks, I could use a small vac anyway, why not?

In the end, it cost me roughly $100 plus 15 minutes per bubbler to build. Note that I already had the tanks, +$10? I don’t know that I would use any old used shop-vac, but you could definitely reduce the cost by buying a cheaper one. If previously used, I would sanitize the fire out of it, though.

Note that a shop-vac is a shop vacuum. It is built to suck, not necessarily blow, so your shop-vac must have a usable outtake!

Some of the questions I raise are well-answered by viewers in the comments section, so be sure to check that out at YouTube. There are a couple other ideas for blowers and for how to reduce the pressure (the shop-vac is surprisingly powerful), considerations for reducing the noise, and issues with PVC cement (I no longer think it’s necessary, really). Otherwise, let us know what you think!

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