Steps to build your own Hydroponics, DIY Tips.
You have decided to build your hydroponics system, but you are wondering where to start. Don’t fret, we have all been there. We are here to help you. First of all, there are a lot of inspirations available online that one can scout through, in books at your local library and in gardening magazines.
Once you get your inspiration, plan your system and formulate all the requirements for the same. The time it will take to complete your project depends on the complexity of the Hydroponic System you choose to build.
How to build a hydroponics system
In order to build a hydroponics system, the steps you might need to follow will include:
-Plan your system
Step 1- Plan your system
All hydroponic systems require a nutrient reservoir, a bed or containers to hold the plants and plant nutrients. Depending on what type of system you choose there will be specific additional parts needed.
Before you start your project, formulate a plan to analyze your needs and ensure you have all the necessary parts required for the implementation of your plan. One of the pre-requisites for the development of the system is analyzing where to install the system.
The hydroponic farming system can either be placed outside or inside, based on one’s preference. In climates with extreme temperatures, one must place the system inside the house and ensure all vital nutrients and light are being supplied to the plants.
While placing the system outside, one should also ensure that the system is well-protected.
Evaporation rate- The rate of evaporation should be kept in mind to ensure optimum availability of water and nutrients. Wind Barrier can also help protect the plants from external factors. Analyzing your setup and plan will ensure that your hydroponic system is well-built.
Step 2- Reservoir/ Nutrient Tank
All Hydroponic Systems use a reservoir to hold the nutrient solution that feeds your plants.
This container should be opaque to prevent exposure to light of any kind. Light may cause algae to grow to require replacement of the solution.
The reservoir will need to be sterilized to prevent exposure to disease-causing germs. When your hydroponics system is completed, allow a mild chlorine bleach solution to cycle through your system for about 30 minutes. Empty the solution from the system and allow it to dry completely before adding plants.
The reservoir, or the nutrient tank, will ensure the smooth nutrient supply to the plants through the use of air pumps, and thus should be carefully chosen.
Step 3– Pumps
Some types of hydroponic systems require a submersible pump, while others might need Air Pumps. These pumps should not rest on the bottom of your reservoir.
You can use a PVC pipe, a sterilized piece of flat non-sedimentary rock or a small plastic container with holes cut out to support your pump inside the nutrient tank. Air bubbles, used in some systems, also work best when they are not resting on the bottom.
Step 4- Plant Containers
Net pots are specifically designed for hydroponic gardening. Rock wool, pea gravel, and sand can be used instead of net pots when building your hydroponic system. Styrofoam can be used to support plants if a passive saturation or wick system is used. Net pots work best for NFT systems as the open holes allow complete nutrient saturation of the root bundle.
The system can also consist of growing tubes made out of PVC pipes. The tubes can have a drain outlet attached to the nutrient tank for easy disposal.
Step 5- Plants
You can grow your plants from seed or purchase seedlings from a nursery. Hydroponics can be used to sprout your seeds. A growth medium like perlite will be needed to support the seedling until a sufficient root bundle has grown.
Some seeds may require an overnight soak in vinegar or water before they will sprout. Review the seed package carefully or research the plant to identify if it may need soaking.
Step 6- Transplanting
Rinsing your seedlings before transplanting them into the growing bed is important. It doesn’t take much to clog a pump or bubbler, which will cause additional work later. Carefully remove the seedling from the sprouting medium and shake gently. Rinse the root system with water before placing it into the pot or growing bed.
If planting seedlings or a sprouted seed, it should be ensured that the roots of the plant are clean and devoid of any soil. Any residual soil may clog the pores and will lead to the plant not growing optimally.
Step 7- Nutrients
The nutrients essential for any crop to grow are:
The common nutrients, like Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Carbon Dioxide, are supplied through water and air. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, are supplied mainly through fertilizer in a combination, commonly referred to as N-P-K. Other deficiencies in your plant can also be analyzed and fulfilled with specific nutrient-based fertilizer.
A very common approach to nutrient supply in Hydroponics, Hoagland’s solution, can also be checked here for reference.
Step 8- Delivery System
A hydroponic nutrient delivery system is easily formulated and customizable when building your hydroponic systems. The major role of a delivery system is to plum the nutrient solution to get to the plants’ roots in the growing chamber, and back to the nutrient tank or reservoir again.
Typically the simplest and best materials to use for the nutrient delivery system are a combination of standard PVC tubes and connectors, standard garden irrigation tubes and connectors, as well as vinyl tubes.
Depending on the type of hydroponic system you seek to build, you may want to use drip emitters or sprayers. While they can be useful, they also can clog. So if you do, make sure you have extras you can quickly swap out while you clean the clogged ones. The step to choose emitters is entirely optional and can be omitted if not needed to ensure a lower cost of production.
Step 9- Grow Lights
While building a hydroponic system indoor, it becomes extremely difficult to supply plants with enough sunlight in order for them to conduct photosynthesis. In cases like these, glow lights are used. These lights, mostly time-controlled or manual, can help the grower to provide a spectrum of light responsible for the conduction of photosynthesis. The process of photosynthesis helps the plants grow, and thus are extremely essential to ensure the plant is getting enough sunlight or artificial light for the process.
It is easy to build your hydroponics system. The reward will be homegrown vegetables and fruit and the satisfaction of a job well done.
See how to build your own hydroponic system.
Types of Hydroponic System
There are basically 6 types of Hydroponic Systems:
Ebb and Flow
Deep Water Culuture
Nutrient Film Technique
FAQ For Hydroponics:
Q1. Which one is better, Grow Light or Natural Sunlight?
Q2. What is the ideal water temperature for Hydroponics system?
Q3. How do Hydroponics systems work?
Q4. How to clean Hydroponics Systems?
Q5. Which nutrient is essential for the rapid growth of Hydroponic Plants?