If you have been put off starting your own system of hydroponics at home because you think it’s too complicated you can stop worrying.
A homemade hydroponics system can be very simple indeed. Here’s an easy way to start off with hydroponics vegetable gardening. It’s called a water culture raft system.
For this simple homemade hydroponics system you need just a few inexpensive items:
- A large plastic tote or storage box, an old fish tank will work as well
- A sheet of Styrofoam about one inch thick
- An aquarium air pump and a few feet of air tubing
- A splitter for the tubing so you can run two air lines off of a single pump
- Two air stones
- Some aquarium filter floss
- Nutrient solution
- Appropriate lighting
Now, after removing the lid from the tote, cut your Styrofoam to fit in the top area of the tote. It doesn’t have to be perfect, the Styrofoam will float on top of your nutrient solution, but make it fairly tight to the sides of the tote to provide stability and reduce evaporation.
Cut holes in the Styrofoam for your plant roots to slip through. Make the holes large enough to accommodate any stem growth.
Cut two small holes in either end of the tote near the top for your air tubing to slip through. Attach air tubing to your air stones and position them at the bottom of the tote. It’s best to keep them off the bottom so they don’t silt up. I usually use a couple of well washed stones from the garden.
Now fill the tote with nutrient solution and float your Styrofoam sheet. Position your plants in the holes you cut for them so the roots are dangling in the nutrient solution. Hold them in place by packing some filter floss around the stems where they go through the holes. This type of homemade hydroponics system works best with leafy vegetables like lettuce.
If you decide to use on old fish tank for this hydroponics system make sure it has been very well cleaned and tape kitchen foil an all the sides to block light from the roots and inhibit algae growth.
Turn on your air pump, provide adequate light and you have a very simple hydroponics vegetable garden in your own home.