Contrary to common belief, hydroponic garden systems are not just for growing marijuana and other illegal drugs. Lots of people decide to build hydroponic gardens for several different reasons.
People residing in apartments with no outdoor garden space or those living in harsh climates with short outdoor growing seasons can cultivate their crops indoors.
People seeking to eat more organic food, avoiding toxins that can be present in communal or backyard soil, may turn to hydroponics to raise pesticide-free vegetables, herbs, or flowers.
Still, others are attracted to the scientific aspect of hydroponics, experimenting with mixing their own nutrient solutions to produce greater crop yields.
Types of Hydroponics Setups That Can Be Homemade
The three basic hydroponic systems are an air pump, drip, and ebb and flow. Anyone from hobbyists to professionals can grow a wide range of plants by using one of these three methods. More advanced hydroponic garden systems are also available, including the nutrient film technique and aeroponics.
The bubble bucket system, or air pump, is the simplest hydroponic system. The air pump system provides a static water reservoir and nutrient solution to grow plants, in addition to an air pump to aerate the water and help roots absorb the nutrient solution.
The nutrient solution should be replaced at least once per week to ensure the optimal balance of nutrients available to the plant.
Trickle feeds, or drip-feed systems, are slightly more advanced than the air pump system but do improve upon its method as well as can be adapted to other setups. To build a trickle feed, holes are drilled into a plastic PVC pipe; the pipes then carry the nutrient solution individually to each plant, with the leftover solution dripping back into the water reservoir for later use.
Ebb and flow systems are more costly and more complicated than the previous two to build but require less maintenance. Like the air pump system, the ebb and flow make use of a water reservoir kept under the growing tray.
A timed pump transports the nutrient solution to the growing trays. As the solution is drawn from the roots, oxygenated air fills its place, providing the necessary oxygen to the plants’ roots.
As you build your hydroponic system, don’t dedicate yourself to one type or another. Many hydroponic hobbyists will find themselves making use of each of these methods as they progress.
Trying out all three will provide maximum enjoyment from your hydroponic garden.