A Cheap Way to Make Hydroponic Systems
A hydroponic turbocharger charges your garden and reduces growth time by up to 25% while eliminating many pests by eliminating the need to use soil. While it's possible to spend a lot on a hydroponic system, you don't have to.
One of the easiest systems to make is a deep water aquaculture system, also known as a raft or platform garden, and with minimal effort, your cost can be close to zero. Add cheap air pumps and air stones from an aquarium supply store and your system is ready to grow.
1. Recycling reservoir of hydroponic system
Almost anything that can hold water can serve as a reservoir for a hydroponic system. You can recycle old freezers, foam shipping containers, or children's paddling pools, or you can buy inexpensive plastic storage bags.
Make your choice based on the resources you have available and how big you want your garden to be, as long as it's at least 4 inches deep, as your plants need room for their roots. Choose containers that won't rust and are made of food-grade materials. Avoid using containers with chemicals, paint or other potentially hazardous materials.
2. Plant platform of hydroponic system
Deep-water farming systems require a way to keep the tops of the plants out of the water, but allow the roots to stick down into the water. To make a raft like this, cut a piece of styrofoam a little smaller than your container so it can float freely in the reservoir.
The plastic lid that comes with the container can also act as a support, but make sure the water inside is deep enough for the plants to reach it. Cut holes in the foam or lid large enough for your plants to be inserted without falling out.
3. Necessary nutrients for hydroponic system
No matter where you grow your plants, your plants need nutrients. In soil, they can find the nutrients they need, but in a fully automated hydroponic system, it's up to you to provide them. Almost all hydroponics suppliers sell concentrated nutrient solutions, but making your own can help keep system costs down.
Purchase a complete water-soluble dry fertilizer. Make sure it contains the micronutrients that plants need, such as copper and zinc. Mix 2 teaspoons of fertilizer with 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts in the water you put in the hydroponic system.
4. Hydroponic system self-made bracket
Place each plant in its own pot and place the pot in the hole in the platform. Net pots can be purchased from hydroponics suppliers at very reasonable prices, but making your own can further reduce costs.
Poke multiple holes in the bottom and lower part of a small plastic yogurt pan or foam cup to allow the roots of the plant to grow and enter the water. Fill each container with sterile pea gravel to keep the plants stable.