Hydroponics involves growing plants in water containing a solution of mineral nutrients. No soil is used in this type of garden, making it a cleaner alternative. Some hydroponic systems are better choices than others when it comes to the homemade versions. The system explained here is reliable, inexpensive, and effective.
You will need:
- Two 32-liter plastic storage totes
- Plant containers
- Expanded clay pellets
- A few aquarium air stones
- Aquarium water pump
- Aquarium air pump
- Flood and drain fitting
- ½-inch diameter plastic tubing, short length
- ¾-inch drill bit
Step 1: Use one plastic tote on the bottom to serve as the nutrient reservoir. Run the air stones from the air pump and place them in the tote. This serves to oxygenate the nutrient reservoir.
Step 2: Place the water pump into the same tote used in Step 1.
Step 3: Drill two holes, ¾-inch each, in the bottom of the other tote. Install the shorter of the flood and drain fitting in one. Install the overflow fitting in the other hole. Place this tote above the nutrient reservoir tote.
Step 4: Place plants and plant containers filled with clay pellets into the tote used in Step 3. Place these away from the drilled holes.
Step 5: Run the plastic tubing from the water pump to the flood and drain fitting in the other tote. Plug the water pump into the timer. Use this to flood the upper tote with water for 30 minutes, four times per day during daylight hours. The upper tote will flood from the short fitting but the water level will never rise higher than the overflow. Once the pump shuts off, the top tote will drain back into the lower nutrient reservoir tote through the short fitting.
Step 6: Study the nutrient requirements of plants being grown and ensure that the plants are fed properly. This involves the daily maintenance of the nutrient solution reservoir.