If you’ve decided you’d like to try your hand at hydroponics, one of the first things you’ll need to think about is what type of system you intend to use. Hydroponic growing systems range from very simple and easy to make homemade systems to more complex systems involving pumps and grow lights.
Luckily, if you’re just starting out, learning how to make a hydroponics system is easy and inexpensive. Take the time to master the technique with a simple system and move forward from there. That’s the great part about hydroponic gardening- you can add more plants and increase your system at your own pace, when you’re ready.
Start with a Plan
While it’s tempting to want to jump right in head first, you really need to start with a plan. Hydroponic system plans help you decide what types of plants to grow and make it easier to choose the best hydroponic system for those plants to flourish. Certain plants do well in one particular type of system and poorly in others. Knowing ahead of time your plants likes and dislikes will save you time in the long run.
Building a Hydroponics System: Water Culture
The Water Culture system is a great beginner system that can be made easily and for very little money. With the Water system, your plants will be suspended in water by a Styrofoam platform.
First, find a container for your reservoir. A fish tank or large container will work fine. Next, paint your container black to eliminate light. If you prefer, you can use trash bags, but they must eliminate all light. The reason for this is simple- light shining into the reservoir promotes algae growth.
If you’re painting your reservoir, apply a thin line of masking tape vertically from top to bottom beforehand. After you finish painting, remove the tape and use this area to gauge how much water is in the reservoir.
Next, cut the Styrofoam. Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of your reservoir from the inside- end to end. Take these dimensions and cut your Styrofoam ¼” smaller than the dimensions of your reservoir. Place net pots on the Styrofoam where you want the pots to be and trace with a pencil. Now cut the holes for the pots. Also, cut a small hole in the Styrofoam for the air tube.
Finally, you’ll need to connect the air line to the pump. Make sure the line is long enough to reach from the pump to the bottom of your reservoir. Now put it all together.
Fill your reservoir with nutrient solution, and place the Styrofoam in. Run the air line through the hole you cut in the side of the Styrofoam and make sure it reaches at least to the middle of the reservoir. Next, add the medium to each net pot and place one plant in each. Place the pots in the holes you cut in the Styrofoam and turn on your pump. That’s how to make a hydroponics system!
Learning how to build a hydroponics system is pretty easy. Remember, there are different types of systems that work best with different types of plants. Do yourself a favor and make a hydroponic system plan ahead of time to ensure you build the best system and grow the be