How to Make a Hydroponics System Without Electricity

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If you are new to hydroponic gardening and are not ready to make a big investment in time and equipment, or if you want to grow in an area without easy access to electricity, passive hydroponics is a great solution. Passive hydroponic gardens supply nutrients to plants without pumping the nutrient solution from a reservoir. Instead the nutrient solution is drawn up through the plants' root system or is provided through top watering, just like a traditional soil garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic storage bin with lid
  • Power drill with 1/2-inch bit
  • 2 sheets of cheesecloth
  • Hydroclay pebble growth media
  • Nutrient solution
  • Seedlings
  • Drill an overflow hole in each side of the plastic bin. The overflow holes should be 2 inches below the rim of the bin. Place the lid under the bin to catch any spills.

  • Drape a sheet of cheesecloth over the side of the bin so it covers the overflow holes. This will keep the hydroclay from spilling out of the holes.

  • Carefully fill the bin with hydroclay pebbles, keeping the holes covered with the cheesecloth.

  • Fill the bin with nutrient solution just to the overflow holes.

  • Plant your seedlings in the hydroclay pebbles and top off with nutrient solution.

  • Check the nutrient level every day and top off with fresh solution as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • This type of hydroponic system works best with plants that like a lot of water, such as lettuces. Drier plants don't do as well because the roots are continuously wet.
  • While the lid will catch small overflows, it's a good idea to place the whole system on a waterproof surface in case of a larger overflow.

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