Hydroponic gardening allows you to grow any plants without having to use soil. Using just a substrate and a nutrient solution, plants will grow as healthy as ever with fewer pests leeching nutrients from the plant. Commercial hydroponic systems work well but can be extremely expensive. A homemade hydroponic system is fairly simple to make and maintain and should give you the same results as a commercial system.
Things You'll Need
- Two buckets
- Dark plastic tubing
- Fine wire mesh
- Aquarium pump
- Hydroponic nutrient solution
- Automatic timer
- Knife or drill
Cut or drill a hole in the bucket you will be using to hold your plant near the bottom of the bucket. The hole needs to be just big enough to fit your tubing. Stick one end of the dark tubing through the hole. Cover the end of the tube with some fine wire mesh and seal it with the silicon. Point the tube to where it is nearly touching the bottom and seal the inside and outside of the hole you cut with silicon.
Cut another hole near the top of the bucket and repeat the steps included in step one. This tube should point slightly downward if possible.
Prepare the second bucket in a similar manner to the first. Connect the hose at the top of the planting bucket to the bottom of this bucket. The other hose will connect to the aquarium pump. Seal both holes well and allow all silicon to dry before continuing.
Fill the bucket to just beneath the top tube with vermiculite. You can also mix in other substrate like clay pebbles. Connect the bottom tube from the plant bucket to the aquarium pump intake. Connect the output from the pump to the bottom of the second tub.
Fill the second tub with hydroponic nutrient solution. Fill the plant tub about one quarter way with nutrient solution ensuring that the return hose is covered in solution.
Plug the pump into a timer that can be set to run about every four hours for fifteen to twenty minutes each time. Turn the pump on and the rest will take care of itself.
Tips & Warnings
- Check the nutrient solution level a few times a week for evaporation. If you are growing your hydroponic garden indoors, be sure to use a grow light system as well.
- Make sure the fine mesh that you put on the tubes will not suck up the vermiculite particulates and jam up your pump.