Posted on 01 February 2012.
Whether you choose to try hydroponics indoors or outdoors, it’s a great sustainable way to grow your own food. If you dream of having a garden with lots of edible plants, or even ornamental plants, you should consider trying hydroponics. You’ll use less water than traditional gardening. And it’s easier that you think.
Relying on a combination of nutrients being mixed together, hydroponics requires the ‘perfect’ balance to provide man-made nutrients to feed the plants. Water will need to be removed periodically to limit the build up of chemicals and salts in the water. Otherwise the water will become toxic.
There are several plants that can be grown in a hydroponics system. You’ll want to grow something that you love, like hydroponics strawberries or hydroponics tomatoes. What good would it be to grow 40 radishes if you don’t like it?
Some plants will be more difficult to grow in a hydroponics system. This includes edible root vegetables. The plant structure requires a lot of depth, which is more difficult.
You might want to try short variety gourmet carrots if you’re looking to grow root vegetables. Or perhaps a salad garden featuring hydroponics lettuce, tomatoes, celery and a cucumber? If you love to cook you might prefer a hydroponics herb garden.
Whatever type of plants you choose to grow, make sure you make your space count.
Impractical plants to grow in a hydroponics system:
- Summer Squash
Every hydroponics garden needs to have the following:
- good water
- macro nutrients
- micro nutrients
You need to test your tap water. You’re looking to see if you have soft or hard water. If you have that white residue on your faucets chances are you have hard water. This is due to the higher mineral content, particularly calcium carbonate.
If you have hard water you’ll need to install a reverse osmosis water filter. These can be expensive so we suggest you collect rainwater.
TIP: You cannot use water that comes from a water softener system. The salt content is too much.
Hydroponics Solution… In hydroponics, you take soil away from the plant, so you must supply perfectly balanced and complete nutrition for it.
Plants need large amounts of 6 macro-nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). The NPK numbers you see on a manure or fertilizer bag (like 30-10-30) are simply telling you at what ratio these three macro-nutrients are mixed in that bag of fertilizer. The other 3 macros are calcium, sulfur and magnesium. All 6 are provided in the proper ratio in all hydroponics solutions.
Plants also need micro-nutrients (minute traces of other elements) in order to thrive, just like you do. The nutrient solutions you buy for your ‘ponics garden are different from ordinary plant fertilizers. They include all the trace elements, too. So hydroponics solution is kinda like your One-a-day Vitamins; it contains traces of iron, boron, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, copper, cobalt, chlorine, selenium and silicon. Yum!
Home Hydroponics System
You can build a homemade hydroponics system easily with one of these hydroponic projects found at Hydroponics Simplified. A homemade hydroponics system is a great way to get started.
Here are a few free DIY hydroponics plans.
Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain) - This classic hydroponics systems is easy to build and maintain. You’ll learn how to build a small flood and drain system with 2 to 4 pots.
An issue with this type of system is that plant roots can become waterlogged.
Top Drip System - Used in commercial hydroponics greenhouses, a top drip system is easy to operate. Using your local home improvement store for materials and less than $200 you can get started with 3 large pots.
Deep Water Culture – Easily the simplest of all hydroponics systems, the “lettuce raft” is great for fish tank aquariums and science fair projects. Grow a tasty and healthy salad garden with your own lettuce.
Wick System - No pumps. No aerators. No timers. This hydroponics plan is great for the lazy gardener. It’s a great system to use for growing plants like figs and patio tomatoes. It’s also probably the cheapest way to have a DIY hydroponics setup.
Bucket Bubbler - A single pot plan, the bucket bubbler hydroponics system has the plant siting in a net pot. The roots grow through the drainage holes until they reach the hydroponics solution underneath. You can get started with a 5-gallon bucket and large plant.
Conclusion: Best Hydroponics System
The hydroponics culture is growing around the world as a cost-effective way to produce your own food. As produce prices continue to increase, we suggest you try vegetable gardening with a hydroponics system or aquaponics system if you want to farm your own fish.
Choosing a deep water culture or bucket bubbler system will get you started cheaply and quickly. These plans are easy to follow and most of the materials are available in your local home improvement store. For under $100 you can start growing your own fresh food with a homemade hydroponics system.
These free hydroponics plans are a great way to get started with your very own hydroponics system, but if you’re looking to build a larger hydro garden you should learn about Simons Simple Hydroponics Plans. It’s an easy to real ebook, full of illustrations, to teach you the “insider secrets to get you growing”.