How to build a cheap hydroponic system – A step by step guide

Gardening Basics
// October 25, 2017
how to build hydroponic system

If you are a garden lover and want to grow your own veggies and plants, then building a hydroponic system will be a great idea.

Why? Because using the hydroponic system, you can grow plants 30-50% faster. You will be amazed to know that the use of the hydroponic system is not very new. People are used to this process since 1950!

In fact, the term “hydroponics” is derived from Greek words, namely hydro (water) and phonics (toil). Building a hydroponic system at home is inexpensive, but an efficient process to grow the plant. All you need to know is -How to do it? Read about soilless gardening with hydroponic system.

In this blog, we will guide you to build easy, cheap and expandable homemade hydroponic systems.

hydroponic system

Basic Equipment to build a Hydroponic system:

Firstly, learn about the essential equipment that you need to do the job. Without the appropriate machines, it will be nothing but a huge mess!

So what do we need?

1. Growing Chamber

The growing chamber is the container of plant roots. You can use the fish tanks or trays, depending on your choice. But, it is better if you choose opaque containers, as too much light may not be suitable for the roots. The size of the chamber is dependent on the type of plant, size of the plant root and the type of hydroponic system.
growth chamber

2. Reservoir

Pick a reservoir for plant nutrient solution. You need to pump nutrient solution from this reservoir to the growing chamber. Any plastic or glass container will do the work, but ensure that the plastic material should not react with the nutrients/chemicals. Your reservoir should be light proof (otherwise, microbes can grow into it)…so use paints or color papers to cover it. Buy plant nutrition products online.

3. Submersible pump

Submersible pumps are one of the essential equipment that will be in your ‘must have list’ to build a hydroponic system. This pump is necessary to transfer nutrients (water) from the reservoir to the growing chamber. You will find this equipment at the affordable price in any hydroponic supply shop and garden supply stores.

Remember that cleaning this pump once in a month (which is very easy) is vital to avoid nutrients contamination.  

submersible water pump

4. Delivery System

A delivery system is a connection to pump the nutrition towards the root of the plants into the growing chamber. This is the most straightforward structure that you can build with standard PVC tubing and connectors or blue/black vinyl tubing and the connectors.

You may like to add sprayers or drip emitters. If you can build it at home, make a couple of them, as they clogs easily. Buying emitters can cost you significantly! Read about drip irrigation system.
drip irrigation

5. Simple Timer

A timer is essential when you are using artificial lights instead of natural sunlight. It can help you to maintain the off/on time of the light, drip, drain, flood and aerobic system. But, some aeroponic systems may require individual timers, so better check on it.

6. Air Pumps

Addition of air pump in a hydroponic system is optional. However, it is inexpensive and readily found in aquarium supply stores. It helps to boost oxygen to the roots of the plants.

In water culture system, an air pump relieves the plants from suffocating when their roots are submerged in the nutrient solution 24/7. Besides, the rising bubbles from the air pump help in the constant movement of nutrients in the water.
Hydroponic system element - Air Pump

7. Grow Lights

Grow lights are not necessary for hydroponic systems. However, if you are thinking to grow plants inside the house (indoor hydroponic system), then you have to use grow lights. The LED grow light for an indoor garden is highly recommendable. The LED grow lights are different from the household lights as it emits specific color spectrum (just like the sunlight) and helps in photosynthesis.

How to build Hydroponic system?

Now that you are familiar with the necessary equipment needed to build hydroponic systems, here is the hydroponic system building process:

You have three options or hydroponic system types to select, namely, water culture, multi Flow and Ebb and Flow. These are all fundamental structures.

To set up a basic hydroponic system, you will need to select a reservoir and cut a StyroFoam according to the size. You can make four to six holes on Styro Foam according to plant size. Then set up a pump to supply oxygen in the water. Fill the reservoir with nutrients. Set up your hydroponic system, run the air and control nutrient flood. Set back and watch your plant grow!Hydroponics equipment

Happy Gardening!

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