A hydroponic setup used in gardening means that you plant seeds in water and nutrient solutions instead of the conventional method which uses soil. Many consider a hydroponic system as a futuristic, convenient, and beneficial setup. It’s time for you to start making your own set up at home.
Step 1: Always Consider The Location
One of the first things you should think about is the location of the hydroponic system in your home. It’s essential to find an enclosed area such as the basement, the attic, the patio, or even a greenhouse if you have one. If the rainy season comes, make sure to bring the setup inside the house.
However, if you lack the enclosed facilities needed, you can still make a protection that’s fit for the hydroponic system. Creating a makeshift barrier means that you have to do additional tasks such as installing a wind barrier and continuously checking the water levels because evaporation may happen more quickly.
Whichever set up you choose (enclosed or not), as long as it caters to the needs of the plants you grow, it’s okay. You may visit Weekend Gardener for additional information regarding projects like this.
Step 2: Prepare The PVC Pipes
To prepare the setup, you’ll need a six-inch PVC pipe (it depends on how many growing tubes you want), a trellis, a nutrient tank, and a stand. Take the six-inch pipes and measure at least 3 inches from one end to make a mark, and continue doing so until you reach the other end. These markings indicate where you’ll drill a hole for the plants. There should be a total of 9 holes in each pipe.
Step 3: Make The Stand And Ready The Tank Placement
The pipes need a stand that’s sturdy and strong. Using different sizes and sets of PVC pipes (these can become thinner and smaller) plus elbow pipes to connect them, you can make whatever stand design you want. Make sure that it’s tall enough that you can place the nutrient tank underneath.
After placing the tank under the stand, set up the pump to push the nutrients to each six-inch pipe that eventually goes back to the container afterward.
Step 4: Prepare Your Nutrient Tank
Nutrients for your plants are available online. You only have to know how to choose products wisely so that you have excellent results. Depending on the manufacturer, fertilizer preparation varies. However, generally, you only need to mix it with water and sit for a few minutes before starting the system.
Step 5: Start Adding Your Plants
For the plant enthusiasts who have the extra time to do so, seedlings are the best choice. However, if you have less time to spare, buying seedlings is a great choice, too. Keep in mind that you should thoroughly choose the plants that you purchase and select the healthiest ones. Remove the soil from the roots and prepare a container with lukewarm to cool water.
Ensure that the water’s temperature when washing the plants is just right because extreme temperatures can cause a “shock” to the plants and may even kill them. Accumulated soil in the roots should always be removed because, over time, it can clog up the system.
To keep the plants standing and upright, you may start placing small rocks or pebbles at the base. If you want to be extra careful, use clay pebbles instead.
Step 6: Connect The Plants To The Trellis
The string’s purpose is to help owners maximize the space that the system has, considering that it’s a bit small. Also, the plants can use the string as a “guide” when growing, wherein they follow where it goes and goes in an upward manner. All you have to do is loosely tie the string on the grille and get a clip that goes on the base of the plant and tie the rope on the clip.
Step 7: Start The Pump
This step is the most exciting of all because the hydroponic system will finally work. However, there are some things that you should also remember:
- Always check the system’s water level every day. Even if you choose a perfect and well-enclosed location, many factors can affect the water level, such as the temperature for the day or the weather.
- Check for the pH.
- Ensure that the nutrient tank remains full.
- Check the nutrient levels.
- Let the tank “rest” in-between hours to avoid drying out or burning up.
Step 8: Plot A Schedule
One of the most common mistakes that hydroponic system owners make is that they allow the system to run without checking it from time to time. Checking the plants’ status every day seems like a tedious and time-consuming task, but doing so gives you an idea of the plants’ progress. Make sure that you keep checking the system daily and the nutrient tank to avoid potential problems in the future.
Step 9: Manually Check For Sick Plants, Bugs, And Pests
There is no perfect garden, and sometimes a few pests enter the system even if you did everything you could to keep them out. In line with the importance mentioned earlier in daily checking the plants, manually looking at each one helps you see if critters are chewing away on the leaves. More often than not, bugs cause plant diseases that can quickly spread.
Once you take notice of diseased and sick plants, immediately pull them out. One should know that hydroponic-grown plants are generally healthier than those planted in soil. Since hydroponic plants don’t have to look for nutrients, they have more time to focus on growing.
You don’t have to worry about the plants in general, but it doesn’t hurt to check on them as much as possible.
Owning a hydroponic system is both a reward and a challenge itself, but reaping the results is always worth it. All it takes is a few steps and a little more effort, and you’re sure to grow healthy, secure, and long-lasting plants.
Hydroponic systems are widely used worldwide nowadays, and it’s a better setup than the conventional method that everyone knows. If you want to start giving your plants the best environment for growth, then it’s time to set up a system at home.