Hydroponics for the Home: Basic Hydroponic Gardening

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Home made Deep water hydroponic system for $35 Easy

Ready to start you own hydroponic garden and put theory into practice? Here, we'll compare the benefits and drawbacks to the different types of hydroponics system, and we'll discuss what kinds of plants can be grown at home using these systems. When designing a home hydroponics system, it's generally recommended that a medium be used. This tends to support the use of either an ebb and flow or wick system.

While a wick system is incredibly cheap and simple to use, it's hard to modify over time, and thus may produce poor results. There is concern over whether the plants are getting the right balance of nutrients, and if they're not, it can be difficult to adjust the nutrient flow.

Hydroponic Systems 101

For these reasons, many at-home hydroponic systems tend to be of the ebb and flow variety. Any hydroponic gardening center, and in fact, most traditional nurseries carry all of the equipment required for setting of a home system.

To begin building your ebb and flow system, you first must obtain the required materials. A basic system will require:. To build your ebb and flow system, simply place the cuttings or seeds into the plant containers, stabilize them using the chosen medium, set the containers into the plastic tray and set it on the support structure. Fill the reservoir with three teaspoons of nutrient solution diluted in three gallons of water Install your tubing so that it runs from the top tray to the reservoir, and then set the aquarium pump in place.

The timer should be set so that the pump causes the top tray to flood twice a day. Monitor PH levels every two weeks, and you should have no trouble growing your own hydroponic plants [source: Roberto ]. The easiest plants to grow at home hydroponically are salad greens, such as lettuce and spinach. But pests tend to be minimal due to the controlled growing environment. Hydroponic plants are not necessarily organic, but growers can control pests using biological methods in lieu of harmful pesticides.

Hydroponic systems are perfect for gardeners living in small spaces, as they require very little square footage. In the same amount of space, growing hydroponically produces four times the amount of crops of traditional soil-based techniques. Most home systems are easy to set up, and relocating the garden is no arduous task, as the systems are generally simple to move. Some hydroponic systems are nearly plug-and-play, as they feature automatic controls which monitor water and nutrient levels, and a timer to manage irrigation and add nutrient solution when needed.

There are four basic methods of hydroponic or soilless gardening — active, passive, recovery, and non-recovery — and six basic hydroponic systems which each function differently, but in all cases the plants receive their nutrients via some form of water hydro delivery system: drip recovery or non-recovery , wick, water culture, ebb and flow or flood and drain, nutrient film technique NFT , or aeroponic.

The Best Hydroponic Systems of for Healthy Plants - YHMAG

A timer controls a submersed pump which drips nutrient solution onto the base of each plant via a small drip line. Maybe the simplest hydroponic system, the wick system involves no moving parts and can use a variety of growing media. In all cases the nutrient solution gets released onto the growing tray and delivered to the roots through a wick.

In this system, the containers holding the plants sit inside a floating Styrofoam platform, through which the roots are suspended directly into the nutrient water. Aquaponic systems are a form of water culture that uses fish. The fish produce waste, which becomes nutrients to fertilize the plants. The plants then filter and purify the water, which gets recycled back to the fish in a continuous cycle.


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Fish can survive for weeks without feeding, and they only need what they can eat in about 5 minutes — a very small amount of fish food. The fish, often tilapia, can also end up on your dinner table.


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  • The nutrient film system, aka NFT, involves a continuous flow of nutrients, eliminating the need for a timer. A pump forces the nutrient solution over the plant roots onto a grow tray, then the overflow drains into a reservoir. In an aeroponic system, sometimes referred to as fogponics, the roots are not suspended in water but hang in the air, where they receive a nutrient-rich growing medium via misting with a nutrient-rich solution. The concept of hydroponics is not rocket science.

    Oh, wait, maybe it is. Growing food in the cosmos may represent the future as NASA experiments with cultivating crops hydroponically in space.


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    • Astronauts will be growing their kale in a space capsule, while back on Earth, individuals with postage stamp-sized indoor spaces may do the same on a small countertop using controlled hydroponic systems. Ready to dip your toe, or your plants, into the water?

      Fulfill your desire to raise plants without actually getting your hands in the dirt.

      Like what you're reading? Hydroponic Historical Roots Hydroponic gardening has roots in ancient history, possibly as far back as the first century in ancient Rome, when Emperor Tiberius wanted cucumbers grown year-round at his palace. How it Works Plants grown hydroponically do not depend on soil to obtain nutrients.