The Cheapest Way to Grow Hydroponically
A hydroponic system can provide you and your family with a year-round source of food without a major investment. If you're on a budget, try a deepwater aquaponics system, which is basically a small pond with hanging plants. Start with one container and add more as your budget allows. Even if you have to buy everything, it's an inexpensive way to grow, and if you're resourceful, you can get almost nothing.
1. Hydroponic system recovery container
Containers for a basic hydroponic system don't have to be fancy, expensive or even a certain size. One that saves money when setting up your hydroponic system is to use recycled materials to preserve your plants. A foam container for transporting fish, an old freezer, a children's paddling pool, or a simple plastic bucket will work well.
When choosing a container, make sure it doesn't leak and doesn't contain any harmful substances, such as herbicides or paint, that could contaminate or kill your plants.
2. The container purchased by the hydroponic system
Plastic storage bins, such as the kind sold at most discount stores, are inexpensive and easy to find. These have the advantage of being available in a variety of different sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and space.
Buy opaque to delay the growth of algae, which can clog your system and rob plants of the nutrients they need. Five-gallon buckets are also easy to find and work well for larger plants like tomatoes and eggplants.
3. Nutrients of hydroponic system
Your hydroponic plants are completely dependent on the nutrients you provide because they can't get their roots into the soil to find what they need. Hydroponic suppliers offer a wide variety of nutrients, some of which are specialized while others are not. These can end up costing a lot and are not necessary for a basic hydroponic setup.
Make your own nutrient solution by adding two teaspoons of water-soluble fertilizer and one teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water. Stir until solids dissolve and pour.
4. Illumination of hydroponic system
For the absolute cheapest method of growing, place your hydroponic system outside and take advantage of the sunlight. If that doesn't work for you, move your plant indoors and hang a four-foot fluorescent light a few inches above the plant.
Maintain the distance between the light and the plant by increasing the amount of light as the plant grows. LED grow lights are inexpensive to purchase, maintain, and operate. They provide plenty of lighting for all kinds of greenery, but if you want to grow any flowers or fruit, you'll need to use fluorescent grow lights.
5. Hydroponic system support
Plants in a hydroponic system need some type of support to hold them in place. Mesh basins are readily available, inexpensive and reusable. To save even more, poke lots of holes in plastic food-grade containers and use them to secure plants in the hydroponic system.
Keep plants upright in nets using sterilized pea gravel or coir, both of which are inexpensive. These substances are also reusable after sterilization, making them even more affordable.