There are many free hydroponics plans available that will suit exactly the type of hydroponic garden you want to make, the type of plants you want to grow and the space you have available. For instance, a plan for a vegetable garden made from a fish tank or tote or a super easy hydroponics system for the kitchen.
If you would like to know how to build a homemade hydroponics system, the first thing to know is that it is simple and inexpensive. The second is, what type of system to build? There are several to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Wick-based hydroponic systems are very simple, basic hydroponics systems. As with other hydroponic systems, they have advantages and disadvantages.
Like flood and drain systems, wick hydroponic systems are “media-based” which means that plants are not suspended directly in water but grow in water-retaining material such as rockwool or coconut coir. However, unlike flood and drain systems, wick systems are “passive” hydroponics systems – energy (electricity) is not used to deliver the nutrient-enriched water to the plants.
Flood and drain (or ebb and flow) hydroponic systems are the most popular hydroponic systems. In nutshell, they are versatile, suited to a wide range of plants, simple and efficient.
Flood and drain systems are “media-based” hydroponic systems. This means that plants are grown in a planting tray filled with moisture-retaining material (“grow media”) such as vermiculite, expanded clay pebbles or coconut fibre, rather than water alone.
Flood and drain (or ebb and flow) hydroponics systems are easy to build but how often – how many times – do you flood and drain the system? As with other types of gardening, there are no hard-and-fast rules.
How many times you will need to flood and drain (the number of “cycles”) depends on several factors which will vary from one hydroponic garden to the next. Here we look at what these factors are to help you estimate how often you will need to flood and drain your own hydroponics garden. Once you get growing, observe you plants and tweak your flood and drain cycles to perfection.