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So you’ve read about hydroponics and now you want to set up one of your own? Learning how to make a hydroponic system is actually easy. But that’s only true if you stick to the simplest system first.
This means you’ll need to start with a water culture system. It’s relatively affordable compared to the other systems, and it’s much simpler too. This is a system that uses a Styrofoam platform to float your plants directly over the nutrient solution. With this system, a container of 5 gallons of water can help you grow about 5 plants.
1. Find a container you can use for the water nutrient solution. This can be a mere bucket or even a fish tank. Just make sure that light can go through the container. If it is transparent, you can paint it black. If it’s an aquarium you may want to reuse later, just wrap it with thick black trash bags.
You don’t want light to come in because that just promotes algae growth that steals nutrients from your plants. The container should also have the same area dimensions (length and width) from top to bottom.
2. Measure the inside dimensions of your nutrient container. Now get your Styrofoam and cut it about a quarter-inch smaller than the dimensions of the container. That should make it fit nicely.
3. Before you put the Styrofoam in, you need to put in the holes for the net pots. The net pots contain your plants, and they’re very inexpensive to buy. They have holes for the roots to grow, and they allow the water to flow freely past the roots they contain.
Just arrange the net pots on the Styrofoam, making sure that you have enough space in between so the leaves all get ample amounts of light. Once you have the proper arrangement, use a pen or pencil to trace around the bottom of the net pots. Then you can use a box cutter to cut the holes by following the trace line.
4. Then cut a small hole at any end of the Styrofoam where the airline can come through to the container below.
5. Get a pump for your nutrient container, in the right size. Go to your local hydroponics store (or check online info) on the kind of pump you can get for the size of your container.
6. Now use an airline to connect the pump to the air stone.
7. Buy a nutrient concentrate and add water to it. Fill the reservoir with your nutrient solution.
8. Float the Styrofoam on the tank.
9. Run the air line through the designated hole in the Styrofoam.
10. Fill the net pots with growing medium.
11. Place a plant (try lettuce) in each net pot.
12. Put the net pots in the Styrofoam holes.
13. Turn on your air pump.
That’s it. You’ve now learned how to make a hydroponic system for your home. You can now grow plants without soil, with very little effort, and at little cost.