A lot of people only know one way of growing plants and that is in soil. Did you know you could grow in a water and nutrient solution? Beginning your own hydroponic system will help you learn why plants need particular nutrients and growing environment as well as giving you the best from your plants.
Why do you want to grow in hydroponics? Lets take a look at some pro’s and con’s.
- More control over growing environment
- Better nutrient uptake directly correlates to better yields, hotter peppers, and better tasting fruits.
- Faster growth.
- Semi-pest resistant
- Can get expensive
There are many different types of hydroponics setups, a few of them are: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Ebb and Flow (flood and drain), NFT (Nutrient Film Technique), Aquaponics (sustainable relationship using fish and plants), and more!
We are going to be going through DWC systems today. It is called deep water culture because the roots are suspended in a light nutrient solution that has an aquarium air stone in it to oxygenate the water so the plant can actively uptake nutrients to grow.
For a basic DWC system you will need the following:
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- 6-8 inch Net Pot
- Distilled or RO Water (you can find RO water at grocery stores)
- Plant Nutrients
- Rapid Rooters or Rockwool
- One small bag of Hydroton / clay pebbles
- Air Pump
- Aquarium Air Stone.
- Grow light if not growing outside.
First you need to get yourself a 5 gallon bucket at your local hardware store. Black or dark blue is preferable so you dont have to deal with algae problems that you would have if you used white 5 gallon buckets.
Take your net pot lid and drill a 1/4 inch hole in the top about 1.5 inches away from the center like so. After completing this step, run your air tubing from the air outlet of your pump to the air stone while passing through the hole you drilled in the net pot lid earlier
Fill with water to the bottom of the net pot like so and add nutrients to water. Follow the directions on your chosen nutrients (THEY MUST BE HYDROPONIC NUTRIENTS, NOT MIRACLE GROW)
Put a seed in the rapid rooter in its proper orientation making sure the seed hole faces up.
Place rapid rooter into the net pot and surround it with hydroton
Turn on the pump and grow light and for the first 8 weeks of the plants life set the light to 18 hours on and 6 off.
This should be enough information to get you started with your very own hydroponics DWC setup! So get out there, research more on it and come on back and we will explore more about hydroponics.