Hydroponic gardening can be defined as soil less gardening. Plants are rooted in substrate material and fed a liquid nutrient solution. Growing plants in a home hydroponic garden offers many benefits. Because the growth medium is soil less there are no weeds and few disease or pest problems. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, gardeners can grow vegetable plants year-round using hydroponic gardening methods. Home hydroponic gardens are also small enough to use in apartments or small spaces in your home.
Things You'll Need
- One plastic storage tote 23 inches long X 16 inches wide X 6 inches high
- One brick
- One 1/2 inch drain hose, 24 inches long
- One 5/8 inch rubber grommet
- A drill with a 5/8 inch drill bit
- One 2 gallon bucket
- Hydroponics nutrient solution
The first step in making a simple hydroponic home garden is making the container. The container that holds the plants and substrate material is a plastic tote 23 inches long and 16 inches wide. Use the drill with the five-eighths inch bit to drill a hole in the tote. The hole should be about half an inch up from the bottom edge of the tote, in the center.
Place one end of the drain hose through the rubber grommet, so that it sticks out about half an inch past the end of the grommet. The nutrient solution will drain out through this hose.
Insert the grommet into the hole you drilled into the end of the tote. The end of the hose will be just inside the container to let the nutrient liquid drain out easily.
Place the tote on a table or other raised surface and place the bucket to catch the draining nutrient solution on the floor underneath it. Place the end of the hose drain inside the bucket.
Place the brick under the tote, opposite the side with the drain. Fill the tote with vermiculite, leaving about two inches clearance from the top.
Mix the nutrient solution according to the instructions on the bottle. You can use a watering can to pour the solution into your hydroponic garden. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service you will need to feed your plants about three times a day and can reuse the solution that drains into the bucket for 10-14 days.
Plant your garden. DIY Hydroponics recommends that you carefully wash the soil off the roots first, if using nursery plants. Dig a hole in the vermiculite, large enough to support the roots, place the plant inside, and pack the vermiculite gently around the plant up to the same height as if using regular potting soil.
Tips & Warnings
- To make the system automatic you can use a fish tank pump placed in the drain bucket and add another hose to feed the liquid to the tote.
- Many of the items needed for a hydroponics garden can be purchased at your local home improvement store, plant nursery or garden center.
- Photo Credit three fresh hydroponics tomatos image by Flashon Studio from Fotolia.com Electric drill with a drill on a white background image by terex from Fotolia.com gel tubing macro image by laurent dambies from Fotolia.com rain buckets image by nastos from Fotolia.com urea - harnstoff image by Cornelia Pithart from Fotolia.com c and plants. Focus on short plants image by Supertrooper from Fotolia.com
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