Discover The Best Type Of Hydroponics Systems For Beginners
Are you looking to start your hydroponic project at home?
Setting up hydroponics systems for beginners is quick and fun. Unless you go for a complicated system, you can make a simple system with cycled materials available right in the comfort of your home.
You get to enjoy the benefits of eating fresh food, save money and time for running to the supermarket for vegetables. So what are you waiting for? Check out
What Is The Easiest Hydroponic System To Use?
Deep water culture is the easiest hydroponics system for beginners. The plants grow with their roots submerged in a nutrient solution.
You can use an opaque bucket or storage container. Commercial hydroponics use rafts that float on a large waterbed and conveyor belts that move the plants on water. The plants will remain suspended in water from the seedling stage until the harvesting stage.
But for a small DWC system at home, you can suspend your plants directly on the water. The hydroponic setup for beginners is simple and cheap, with no need to circulate the water. With that in mind, you’ll need to aerate the water with plenty of oxygen used by the roots.
How Do you Start A Hydroponic Garden For Beginners?
- Storage container or bucket
- Net pots
- Air pump with air stone
- Hard Water & Liquid Nutrients (A & B)
- pH Down
- pH meter
- Measuring beaker
- Hole saw with arbor
1. Find a deep container or bucket to act as a reservoir for your system
You can improvise with containers or buckets already available in your house. Ensure the container is large enough to hold more nutrient water. If you have less water, you’ll need to top up the reservoirs regularly.
The container should be opaque to block light and prevent algae growth. For example, I had a paint bucket in the backyard and used it as my reservoir. You can also buy a colored container, which will work the same.
2. Drill large holes into the lid of the container
The holes should be large enough to fit the net pots but not too big for them to fall inside. You’ll measure the size to make the holes the correct size. I used a hole saw since I already had it, but you can buy it from your local hardware, and they are easy to use. Ensure the net pots are larger than the hole to remain suspended on the lid.
Depending on the size of your container, you can drill a few holes. Be careful with the spacing, you don’t want an overcrowded system. You can drill holes 15cm apart for them to grow spaced well.
I advise you make holes with the plant type in mind. For instance, Herbs like mint, coriander, and basil don’t require large spacing but tomatoes, courgettes, and bell peppers need ample space to bear fruits. In addition, be careful when drilling a plastic lid, it may crack easily.
3. Assemble your air pump
When setting up your air pump, it must remain outside the water reservoir since it’s not waterproof. The air pump has a check valve that blocks water from flowing back when turned off. If your pump doesn’t have one, lift the pump to a level above the water.
Then connect your air stone and drop it in the reservoir. Make sure the check valve arrow faces the air stone. And confirm it works.
4. Fill the reservoir with water and nutrients
Before filling your reservoir, place it where you want your plants to grow. The system would be heavy when full, and you don’t want to spill anything. Pour in your water but leave 2cm space at the top.
Using instructions on your hydroponic nutrients, measure the right amounts, e.g., 2 ml per liter, so if you have a 20-liter bucket, you’ll add 40ml into your water reservoir. Balance your water pH. If you’re using tap water, it would be between 6.5-7.5 pH. Research what acidity levels your plants require and adjust accordingly.
You can use a few drops of phosphoric acid (hydroponic use) to reduce acidity. The pH down solution and meter is readily available in the local hardware store. Always use gloves when handling the pH down and mix well after adding to your water.
5. Assemble the system
After you’ve assembled your air pump and air stone in the water container, cover with a lid on top. You can buy net pots and Rockwool plugs to hold your seedlings. I recommend using seedlings instead of growing seeds.
Place the Rockwools as a medium in a net pot, then plant your seedlings carefully. First, ensure the seedlings’ roots are hanging at the bottom. Then pick up the net pots and carefully place them in the holes in the lid.
Is It Better To Buy Or Build A Hydroponics System?
Like DIY projects, you can quickly build a hydroponic system with access to building materials. But if you’d prefer to buy one, you can search for the best hydroponic system for beginners on any online store. It’s best to buy a simple hydroponic system and upgrade later.
Running a successful hydroponic system for beginners can be challenging, and you’ll need to practice for a while. Plus, I recommend you start with easy plants to grow in hydroponics like lettuce, spinach, strawberries, basil, or mint.
Hydroponics systems for beginners are great for growing vegetables and herbs at home. You can set up a structure or buy a readymade system. As a beginner, I suggest you start small and learn from the experience. Then, maintain the system and enjoy the harvest. Then, if you fail, you can keep trying until you get it right.