If you’re interested in growing plants, assembling a hydroponic system is the best way to plant some greens and other plants at home. Here’s how to do that.
What is the best hydroponic system for beginners?
Deep Water Culture or shortly DWC is the easiest hydroponic system to build and you can easily maintain it at home. The main characteristic about this system is that plants grow with their roots in water rich with hydroponics nutrients the plants need to thrive. If you plan on growing plants at home, the best option would be to use a large opaque buckets or storage containers. Commercial growers, on the other hand, tend to use rafts that are made to float on a larger bed of water.
What can I grow in my DWC system?
Some of the best crops to grow in DWC systems are Kale, Chard, Bok Choy, Parsley, Basil, and Lettuce. The reason why they are so easy to grow in this system is because they are all very light. However, plants like tomatoes would be near impossible to grow because DWC system doesn’t anchor the roots that well so it’s not adequate for tall plants.
How to make a DWC hydroponic system at home
The materials you will need:
- Storage container or bucket
- Net pots
- Air pump with air stone
- Hard Water Liquid Nutrients (A & B)
- pH Down
- pH meter
- Measuring beaker
- Hole saw with arbour
This method is widely used for many different types of plants that can be grown in house conditions. The process is very simple and easy for beginners to use. Other than growing greens and other plants that have been mentioned above, this method can also be used for the cannabis hydroponic drip system.
1. Find a suitable container for the system
Most people opt for using deeper storage containers and buckets to grow house plants in this kind of a system. The reason is because deeper containers are able to hold more water and provide more stable nutrient solutions to the plants.
In addition to that, you should make sure that light can’t penetrate the container. If that happens, there is a risk of algae growing in the water.
2. Drill holes into the lid of the container
Since the plants will be growing inside the pots, you need to drill a lot of holes where the roots will be able to grow through over time. Then, you also need to drill some holes into the container in which the pot will be placed. You can simply use a hole saw. It’ easy to use and is a quite affordable tool. Make sure the size of these pots is bigger than the hole so that they don’t fall through.
In case you opt for using a bigger container, you can drill multiple smaller holes. However, it’s important to plan this wisely. You need to keep holes at least 15 cm apart from one another.
Pro-Tip: place a wooden material below the lid while you’re drilling holes. This way, you will prevent the saw jolting and plastic breaking.
3. Assemble your air pump
The air pump needs to stay outside of the reservoir. It should come with a check valve. That means the pump is not meant to suck the water back up when it’s turned off. However, if you get a pump without it, you need to keep the pump above the water.
Then, you want to connect the air stone and check valve with the tubing to ensure that the arrow is facing the air stone. Proceed to connect the check valve to the air pump the same way.
4. Fill the reservoir, add nutrients and adjust the pH
The system can get overwhelmed under the weight when it’s full. You need to decide where the container will be before you fill it up. Make sure to leave at least 1 or 2 cm of space at the top.
Then, once you fill the container, add the hydroponic nutrients to the water. Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. In addition to that, you need to adjust the pH of the water. Use the pH meter to do so. Tap water will most likely be anywhere between 6.5 and 7.5 pH.
5. Assemble the system
Lastly, just plug the air pump and put the air stone in the reservoir. Make sure the lid is secured on top. Add your plants and the system is assembled and ready to work.
In short, this is how you successfully assemble a hydroponic system that can work for growing plants at home.