Hydroponics allows you to grow plants all-year round even indoors even without soil or too much space to spare. By combining water, nutrient solution, a growing medium, and of course, your plant of choice, you can enjoy growing and harvesting herbs, leafy greens, flowers, and other plants on a regular basis.
If you’re dreaming of growing house plants or planning to create your own indoor urban garden, check out this guide to making it a reality.
A DIY Guide in Setting Up Your Own Hydroponics System
These easy to make hydroponic techniques are most suitable for home use. Take note that some are easier to set-up than others, but you can buy materials and complete kits at specialty stores such as Acorn Horticulture.
Building Your Own Hydroponic Wick System
They’re quite easy to build and need only a few materials. This is, perhaps, one of the best systems for beginners and here’s how to do it:
- Take a bucket, turn it upside down, and drill a hole in the center of the bottom portion.
- Fill your reservoir with enough nutrient solution. Reserve one jug of your solution for later.
- Insert the wick through the hole. Make sure it is long enough to reach the bottom of the reservoir.
- Fill the bucket with your growing medium up to two-thirds full.
- Place your plant in the bucket and fill the remaining third of the pot with a more growing medium such as coconut coir.
- Place your growing bucket inside your reservoir. To prevent algae growth, do not allow light to access the nutrient solution.
- Add water around your plant with the solution from your jug to avoid the growing medium from absorbing moisture from your plant roots.
- To accommodate more oxygen to your water, use an air pump. Make a small hole in the top edge of your reservoir and feed in the pipes.
Building Your Own Hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System
If you’re a novice hydroponics practitioner, it’s best to purchase a complete kit from your favorite store, as constructing this system can be quite laborious.
You’ll need pipes, a drill, some lumber, a reservoir tank, plant hangers, some screws, drill bits.
In general, here’s what you should do:
- Build the frame. You usually need lumber and sawhorse brackets. Consider burying the frame’s “feet” underground, if possible. The three A-frames should be strong enough to support the pipes.
- Prepare the PVC tubing. Besides the PVC pipes, you need to drill holes in and put plant hangers on them.
- Construct the reservoir. The reservoir should be located below the end pipes’ lowest point.
- Put them all together. As you connect the last pipe elbow, is should pass through the lid of the tank to prevent light exposure that promotes algae growth.
Place your submersible water pump inside the filter bag to reduce the risk of debris clogging the pump. From the pump, connect one end of your black tubing, which then goes up to the hole in the end cap and feeds.
Building Your Own Hydroponic Deep-Water Culture
In this system, the plant roots will be suspended from the net pots, and these roots are immersed in the nutrient solution.
You need to have materials such as water and nutrient reservoirs, net pots for holding your plants, hydroponics nutrients and pH adjusters, as well as an air pump and air stones for tank oxygenation. Use the Grow Fruit and Veg kit to make sure your plants are able to absorb water and nutrients properly.
Below are the steps in setting up the system:
1. Connect the pump to the tubing
2. Connect the tubing to the air stone then position the air stone in the bucket.
3. Fill up the bucket with water, check the pH level, add the nutrient solution, and grow your seeds.
It’s that easy.
Building Your Own Hydroponic Flood and Drain System
Flood trays are a vital part of this method, with the depth of the trays as the main consideration. In addition, the water level needs to rise enough to submerge the roots of your plants and your flood trays need to accommodate all of it plus more, to prevent spillage.
You need to buy black flood trays, a submersible water pump, an analogue timer, a black tubing, overflow and inlet fittings, and a reservoir tank.
Ready to make one? Do the following:
- Drill holes on the flood tray, including a few on the ends of the tray. Screw and place a rubber seal on the inside of the flood trays.
- Insert up to three flood and drain flow extensions into one of the pieces you fastened to the trays’ bottom part.
- Place one of the screen fitting on top to finish your tray overflow.
- Place one screen fitting onto the remaining piece that sits in the bottom of the flood tray. This will serve as your water inlet which is fed from your submersible pump.
- Position that flood tray so the fittings hang above the hydroponic reservoir.
- Connect the tube to the water pump feed it through the lid. Connect it to the inlet fitting.
- Attach a shorter length of the tube onto your overflow, so it sits inside the lid but clears the top of the water. This will help with oxygenation as excess circulates back into your tank.
- Fill your tank with water and run the system. Check there are no leaks from either the inlet or the overflow.
- You can then install your timer, and add the pots.
If you’re completely new to hydroponics, don’t worry, you can choose from among the cloud-based automation hydroponics system to assist you in managing your plants’ needs, and to show the best hydroponic farming practices, ensuring your success.