Canadian Hydroponics Supply Blog

Building Your Own Hydroponic Garden

Building Your Hydroponic Garden

Building Your Own Hydroponic Garden

Although hydroponic gardening systems have been around for a long time, they are currently gaining popularity in the agricultural industry. Building a hydroponic garden seems to be one of the most popular activities to make a profit from COVID lockdown.

Hydroponics has a lot of benefits including the fact it saves water while growing healthier, larger yields. The catch is that you need to make sure you can sustain it with proper care with the right levels of water and nutrients required.

There are pre-built hydroponic systems out there that are commercially prepared and can be bought at certain prices, but you can certainly create one in your home.

There are many types of hydroponic systems that can be adapted for different types of plants and settings. The simplest types recommended for home starters are the Wick System and Water Culture System.

These methods of gardening are relatively easy to prepare and do not require complex setups.

Building Your Hydroponic Garden: The Wick System

Mechanically, the wick system is the easiest type of hydroponic gardening because it does not require moving parts or electrical ancillaries.

However, the way it works makes it limited to apply only on certain plants like herbs is not really recommended for plants that are water-hungry.

Materials:

  • Water
  • Water reservoir
  • Nutrient-rich solution
  • Growth medium
  • Cotton or nylon cord
  • Growing tray
  • Plant seedlings

1. Construct The Water Reservoir

This is one of the most important parts of a hydroponic system as it will hold the nutrient source.

Fill your preferred reservoir with water and mix with the nutrient-rich solution.

This reservoir will sit under the growing tray that holds the plant and the growth medium.

2. Set Up The Wicks Connected To The Growing Tray

You will need to punch a hole at the bottom of the growing tray using a drill or a screwdriver. This is where the wicks can be connected to the reservoir.

The bottom end of the wicks will be soaked in the water solution and will draw up nutrients to the growing medium.

3. Prepare the growing trays.

Next, set up the growth medium containing the plant seedlings above the reservoir.

The growth medium should be made up of materials that are resistant to draining fast so that it effectively transports nutrient-rich water to the plants.

Materials like perlite and vermiculite make great growth mediums for this system.

4. Set up a light fixture or sun exposure.

Just as much as plants in soil, photosynthesis is still a vital factor in hydroponic systems.

In case the setup will be located in an area away from the sun (basement or garage), one great alternative is the use of artificial light fixed at the right distance from the plants.

Incandescent, LED and fluorescent lights are all appropriate for this function and can aid in giving energy to the plants.

Building Your Hydroponic Garden: The Water Culture System

Just like the wick system, the water culture is just as easy and it does not require a complicated method to set up.

The plants are placed on a styrofoam platform that is floating at the top of the reservoir containing the nutrient-rich water.

The water in the reservoir needs to be aerated to introduce more oxygen into the plants while they grow.

Materials:

  • Water
  • Water reservoir
  • Nutrient-rich solution
  • Styrofoam sheet
  • Drill
  • Air pump
  • Air stone

1. Construct the water reservoir.

Unlike the water reservoir for the wick system, the container to be used as the reservoir for the water culture system is best to be opaque and at least 12 inches deep. 

2. Set up an aeration system in the water.

To prepare an aeration setup, one of the most common aeration systems is the use of air stone and pump. The setup is a lot like the oxygen pump in aquariums. Place an air stone in the water and connect it into an air pump outside the reservoir. Plug the pump and turn it on to blow bubbles through the air stone, scattering oxygen through the water.

3. Prepare the growing raft.

For the water culture system, a styrofoam sheet is used as the growing raft. Its lightness makes it easy to hold the plants while floating in the water. Cut the styrofoam just enough to fit atop the reservoir.

Then cut holes within the styrofoam sheet to insert net pots where the plants and growth medium will be placed. These net pots must have perforated bottoms to allow the contact of the plants to the nutrient-rich water.

Place the growing raft on the water reservoir, making sure that the roots of the plants are in direct contact with the water.

4. Set up a light fixture or sun exposure.

Place your hydroponic garden where sunlight shines directly to maximize its efficiency.

However, if you plan to set this up in a place away from the sun, the use of artificial light will also do. Fix the lightings just enough for the plants to absorb energy.

Building Your Hydroponic Garden: Wrapping Up

Depending on the plants that you are planning to make a hydroponic system for, it is best to know which will be a more appropriate setup. The two methods described above are the simplest among the types of hydroponic gardening out there. You can build any of them in less than an hour.

Gardening has been a long-time hobby and livelihood for farmers. In the heights of the world’s current situation, people are yearning for these types of simple systems that are productive and beneficial – and that is where hydroponic gardening became a sudden must. 

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