Hydroponic Greenhouse Systems and Kits For Growing Plants

Hydroponics Garden plant

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Hydroponic greenhouse systems in simple words mean just growing crops in water.

Plants and vegetables are placed in a growing medium such as clay pellets, rock wool, recycled foam, foam, peat, sawdust, gravel or coconut fiber, and then, fed a feeder or nutrient to make them grow.

The main advantage of hydroponic greenhouse systems that they yield better crops by using simple water-based techniques.

Better Crops from Hydroponics

Plants grow faster than when placed in soil.

They don’t need to spend so much energy developing roots to find oxygen, nutrients and water, therefore produce better quality fruit or flower.

The number of vegetables and plants produced magnifies when using this technique.

For instance, the tomato yield per acre when grown in soil ranges from 5 to 10 tons.

With the hydroponic method, it is usually between sixty to three hundred tons.

There is practically no risk of soil-borne pests, disease and fungus.

They yield bigger vegetables and plants without pesticides. Hydroponic lettuce

Greenhouse plants can grow all year round.

It is simpler to keep crops warm and within the sunlight.

Hydroponic systems take less time to tend as they require no weeding or watering.

Hydroponic Greenhouse
Hydroponic Greenhouse Systems

How do hydroponic greenhouse systems work?

Hydroponic agriculture has been around for many decades.

But recently, it has gained traction with almost every gardening group ranging from commercial planters to big agriculture giants to amateur gardeners and urban farmers.

The word ‘hydroponic’ means water working.

The vegetables, plants or flowers survive on a combination of temperature, light, nutrients like nitrogen, oxygen pH and carbon dioxide supplied through the water.

The nutrients supplied can be in dry, liquid or organic blend forms.

Crops are grown on a salver or tray, or in a medium like a gravel or foam blend.

Water is then procured via reservoirs.

Unlike in traditional greenhouses, most hydroponic systems employ some type of medium for root support.

Because of this, hydroponic techniques are often termed “sub-irrigation culture.”

Most commercial greenhouse produce in developed regions is done using hydroponic greenhouse systems.

Essential items for hydroponic greenhouse systems – Suitable plants

It’s a good idea to know what you’d like to grow before you start building a hydroponic system.

The goal isn’t to get too specific.

You can have a general idea as to what type of greenhouse plants you need, without knowing the specifics.

For example, if you think you’d like to try Boston lettuce, kale and arugula, the fact that they are all leafy greens is what matters.

Why does this matter?

Because some kinds of plants are better suited to hydroponics than others.

Plus, you have to know if you need a trellis for climbing plants, deeper trays for root vegetables and so on.

Hydroponic supplies

Basic hydroponic supplies include a nutrient solution, a pump, a grow medium and channels for water to flow through.

A non-porous grow medium, such as vermiculite or expanded clay pellets that allow for extremely good drainage is the base for your plants.

The grow medium is placed into channels or a low pool which contains the most important of all hydroponic supplies — the nutrient solution.

The nutrient solution should be the basic food a plant needs, mixed well in a water solution.

Mainly potassium, calcium and magnesium are the preferred nutrients for plants, but often, other compounds are also added.

This solution should flow around the roots, and not fully submerge them.

Other important hydroponic supplies that are required are a pump and a way to determine the ph of the solution.

The pump keeps the nutrient solution constantly flowing which is essential for the whole hydroponic process.

A stagnant solution will quickly become stale and poison the plants.

The solution has to be constantly checked to maintain adequate nutrient levels.

Hydroponic lettuce

Space for hydroponic greenhouse systems

If you already have a greenhouse, assess the available space inside it.

Take exact measurements, including the height of your greenhouse ceiling.

If the roof is sloped, note the height at the peak and lowest point.

Don’t forget to allow space for you to move around.

Also, make sure that the floor or ground is flat and level.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, there are many styles and sizes available for greenhouses like indoor and mini greenhouses.

Consider all the likely ways you’ll use a greenhouse.

If the purpose is only for hydroponic propagation, then buying a hydroponic greenhouse kit might be the best solution.

More on greenhouse kits later in this article.

How much light do hydroponic greenhouse systems need?

Make note of the amount of natural light and in which direction(s) it enters the greenhouse.

Too much direct sunlight can be overwhelming for many sensitive plants. Initially, when plants are seedlings, they should be blocked off from light to allow for proper root growth.

For this, you may need to buy shade cloth or curtains.

These can also be automated to cover a part of the greenhouse during certain times of the day.

You can also use artificial grow lights for hydroponic greenhouse systems.

Some natural light, ideally diffused by a tree canopy, can help reduce the cost of energy for artificial light.

Read more about the lighting requirements for greenhouses in our well-researched article here.

Hydroponic system power supply

How will you power the lights and pumps?

Before you can set up a hydroponic system, you need a safe and reliable source of electricity.

For this reason, most people set up their greenhouse hydroponic garden near a house, garage or work shed.

They provide easier access to electricity.

Where to get constant water supply for your hydroponic garden

Of course, a reliable, flowing water source is essential to a hydroponic garden.

You will need access to large tanks of water to run a good hydroponic system.

Consider installing reservoir tanks that can be connected to your system directly or through garden hoses to keep everything running smoothly.

Types of hydroponic greenhouse systems

Now that you know the basics, you have to decide the kind of hydroponic system you will need for your type of growing.

There are many types of methods and systems used for growing plants in water solutions.

  • Deep Water Culture or Reservoir Method
  • Nutrient Film Technique
  • Wicking
  • Ebb and Flow
  • Drip

Hydroponic Reservoir Method or Deep Water Culture

This kind of hydroponic system is commonly known as the reservoir method.

The plant roots are suspended in an aerated nutrient solution.

An air pump continuously adds oxygen into the reservoir so that the plant roots don’t drown.

The reservoir method of hydroponics is the easiest to set up and requires minimal equipment.

The only items needed for it are a reservoir with containers to suspend the plants, an aquarium-style air pump and some lights.

Make sure light can’t penetrate the reservoir.

If that happens, algae will grow and disrupt the nutritional balance of the solution.

The algae can then clog the air pump.

Hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

In this type of hydroponic system, the nutrient solution continuously flows over the tips of the roots.

As a result, the plant gets more oxygen from the air than the solution and often grows at a faster rate.

NFT is popular for outdoor home use because it uses less water.

Plus, there are many affordable kits for this technique to support a variety of plants and growing seasons.

Hydroponic Wicking System

This is the easiest and most inexpensive type of hydroponic system available.

Plants are propagated by suspending their roots in a growing medium such as vermiculite.

Tucked into the growing medium is a naturally absorbent material such as cotton.

One end of the absorbent material is placed into the nutrient solution.

The idea is that the nutrients are slowly drawn into the growing medium where the roots can access them.

You can also skip using the absorbent material and let the nutrient solution seep directly into the growing medium.

Either way, very little equipment is necessary.

Ebb and Flow Recovery Hydroponic Greenhouse Systems — Flood and Drain Method

This is an active recovery type of hydroponic system, sometimes known as the flood and drain method.

A pump submerged in the reservoir sends the nutrient solution up into the plant container, flooding the roots.

Using a timer, the pump turns off after 20-30 minutes.

Gravity drains the container where the roots are and sends the nutrient solution back into the reservoir.

The pump can restart by the timer or gauge that measures the level of recycled nutrient solution.

The gauge method is preferred because it reduces the risk of drowning the roots.

Hydroponic Drip System

The drip method of hydroponics has a slow, steady drip of nutrient solution entering the growing medium surrounding each plant.

Slow draining mediums such as peat moss or coconut coir are best for this method.

More equipment is needed for this method because each plant (or cluster of 2-5 plants) needs its own drip tube.

There is also the risk of nutrients building up in the drip tubes and causing blockages.

But the advantage is the ability to adjust the drip rate for each plant to help adjust the growth rate.

Guide to building your own hydroponic greenhouse systems from scratch

Ready to grow healthy greenhouse plants in a flash?

Install a hydroponic system yourself and reap the benefits of growing your favorite plants quickly without soil.

Should you build your own system?

For those new to hydroponics, building a system from scratch can be intimidating.

For those of you who are starting out, we have the perfect solution — a hydroponic greenhouse kit.

Once familiar with its setup and processes, you can easily make DIY enhancements to your system.

No matter how you approach greenhouse hydroponics, you’re sure to enjoy the results.

Hydroponic greenhouse kits

There are lots of hydroponic kits for beginners and professional gardeners.

Hydroponic grow kits make it easy to begin gardening with water.

The right kind of greenhouse hydroponic kit contains all that is required for growing the plants you want.

Hydroponic Greenhouse Kit components:

Most hydroponic kits come with a base cesspool in which the nutrient and mineral solution is placed.

An outdoor air pump will be included in the kits to supply the paths with the oxygen needed.

A bubbling pump also works perfectly to oxygenate the water solution.

The grow kit will also contain containers for the vegetables and plants to sit in the base cesspool.

Growing mediums like rock wool and foam, are also typically included.

Normally, the nutrient and mineral solution must be purchased separately.

Greenhouse hydroponic grow kits will contain instructions and tips on growing plants inside them.

If you buy more than 1 kit, you can mix and match their components to maximize the benefits of each kit.

You’ll need to find kits compatible with each other for this.

Hydroponic grow kits can be used for in-home and outdoor gardening.

Starting a hydroponic greenhouse does not need a big investment as you can use affordable construction material or even recycled materials for it.

Purchasing a greenhouse kit, however, is another good option especially if you don’t wish to be bothered with creating it for the first time.

When purchasing hydroponic greenhouse, you’ll be encountered with many alternatives.

Regardless of the complexity and type of the hydroponic greenhouse kit, they will all have water tanks with pumps, plant holders and seeds.

Indoor hydroponic systems conserve water more than conventional soil farming.

There is almost no water lost as all water gets recycled within the system.

You can also automate the systems.

Automated sensors include light timers, nutrient and pH sensors that automatically add sufficient nutrients into the system.

The more automated the hydroponic system is, the more space it will occupy.

Greenhouse Plants

Why Hydroponic Greenhouse Kit or System

Hydroponic greenhouse systems have been around for ages. Indoor Greenhouse

However, recently, it has started to attract attention with a larger number of gardeners preferring it for many reasons.

Hydroponics reduce a plant’s dependency on soil, thereby preventing soil-related diseases and infections.

The roots of the plant are fed a nutrient-rich water solution, which boosts its growth and yields quality crops all through the year.

Another word for hydroponics is sub-irrigation culture.

Most of the commercial production of vegetables in developed countries is produced using this technique.

For a hydroponic system, you will need suitable plants, nutrient solutions, growing mediums, channels and pumps.

All these items can be found in greenhouse kits as well.

There are many hydroponic greenhouse systems like deep water culture, nutrient film technique, wicking, ebb and flow, and drip, each with its own methodology.

Hydroponics is truly the future of agriculture as it relies on recycling water and boosting plant yield in a healthy, safe and sustainable way.

Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

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Using the best LED grow lights for indoor plants can greatly aid in proper plant growth.

Sunlight is the best form of lighting for plants for them to grow well.

But this can vary considerably based on season and region.

And if you want to grow plants indoors, you face additional challenges.

Growing plants indoors or in a greenhouse blocks a portion of the sunlight.

You may need a supplemental lighting for proper plant growth.

When you can’t get the optimal amount of light, you need to arrange for alternate growing lighting fixtures.

These artificial light fixtures provide enough light and the right kind of light, enabling plants to grow, flowers to bloom, and fruits to ripe optimally.

These lights are ideal for year-round growing inside your home.

Hydroponic Greenhouse

Why Plants Need the Best LED Grow Lights
Why Plants Need the Best LED Grow Lights

Here’s how the ideal lighting systems can create a good environment for your blooms and vegetables to grow in health.

Why Plants Need the Best LED Grow Lights

LED Grow lights, also referred to as specialized artificial lights, can boost plants’ growth and its environment in more ways than one.

Here are some of the top reasons why additional lighting can help your plants to grow:

Grow lights extend the growing season

Grow lights are a good investment for hobby farmers who want to extend their growing season.

If there’s a cold season where you live, that greatly limits growing outside year round.

However, using supplemental lighting on indoor plants or plants in a greenhouse means you can successfully grow all year.

LED lights make flowers bloom early or late, depending on demand

When you are able to control the intensity of the light and they type of light, you have better control over how they grow.

This may be especially useful when growing sensitive plants like orchids and roses in bulk.

Grow during seasons with less sun and low-intensity light

With LED lighting, you can still enjoy year-round blooms, even when the days are short.

This is defined as being less than 13 hours of light.

Photoperiodic lighting is ideal to use for low intensity lighting when the days are short in order to create long days.

It’s also used after transplant.

Grow Lights increase growth

Photosynthetic lighting is a higher intensity lighting.

You can use it to increase root and shoot growth, to improve the plant’s quality and to increase plant yield.

You can also use photosynthetic lighting to create long days.

Things to consider when choosing Indoor Grow lights

Purple LED lights indoor farm
Smart indoor farm and Photoperiodism concept. Selective focus on sprinkler water head and Artificial LED panel light source used in an experiment on vegetables plant growth

Before deciding on the type of lighting, consider the following:

How much space do you need to illuminate?

PPFD stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density.

It’s the measure of photons in the 400 – 700nm range of the visible light spectrum which will shine (or “land”) on a square meter per second.

Artificial lights will produce light but you want to be sure it’s directed toward the plant and not wasted.

To determine this, choose a light based on the area you need by looking at how the company describes the PPFD.

Amount of solar radiation in the atmosphere

The amount of solar radiation affects how much light is available for photosynthesis.

Where are you using it, in a greenhouse or indoors?

How much space you have and where you are keeping the plants and lights also factor in which types of lighting to purchase.

If you are using it in a greenhouse, you should consider the type of greenhouse, glazing uses, and the types of equipment already installed.

What will you grow?

Different types of crops need different types of lighting to optimize their potential.

Certain plants need high beam light, while others may grown better in shade.

Choose the lighting depending on the type of plants you intend to grow and if you need vegetative lights and/or bloom lights.

Space available to hang lighting

Lighting will have to be moved upward as the plant grows in height.

You’ll have to account for the wiring and socket spaces also.

Electricity and maintenance cost

This is often one of the most important factors when deciding your overall gardening or greenhouse budget.

If you have solar panels, that will help you reduce ongoing costs for additional lighting.

Lighting Control Systems

Lighting is available in various forms, and a combination of lights is usually required to cover the entire light spectrum.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that people perceive light differently than vegetables or plants.

Another point we must remember is that although the spectral quality of the sun is constant, it is greatly variable in duration, intensity, and direction.

Lots of strategies, including greenhouse lighting control systems, have been developed to deal with the unwanted indoor lighting conditions.

The lighting controls can substitute for many spectrums of sunlight needed for plant growth.

Sunlight conditions in a greenhouse structure can vary expeditiously.

Humidity can affect the temperature and luminescence.

To balance this effect, ventilation, shading, heating, humidification, irrigation and lighting components should also be responsive if a controlled environment is to be achieved.

This needs excellent engineering, control devices, and proper selection of equipment.

You might have to install timers to manage the duration of light and darkness.

To save electricity, you can also try setting up solar-powered greenhouses.

A good lighting control system also needs an understanding of the limitations and capabilities of the greenhouse systems, controllers and sensors.

What are the best LED grow lights?

Choosing the best LED grow lights for indoor plants usually needs a basic knowledge of the light source.

Today, there are many different types of grow lights and fixtures available in the market.

What are the best LED grow lights
What are the best LED grow lights

Some of them include:

Fluorescent greenhouse lights

Fluorescent lights are the best and most cost-effective way of providing indoor lighting.

The lights emitted by these bulbs are conducive to the normal growth of plants and flowers.

  • The cool bulbs convey light in blue color which is effective for seedlings.
  • The warm bulbs convey red light to help in fruiting and flowering.

Fluorescent grow lights produce very little heat.

For best results, place these bulbs about two inches from the plants.

What makes these grow lights the one of the best is the fact that they are inexpensive and easy to install.

Also, a typical fluorescent bulb can last for up to 20,000 hours.

It’s a great option for those looking to get value for money.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps

High Intensity Discharge lamps are best suited for bigger plants and flowers.

The light emitting spectrum per square feet is much more than those of other lights.

With more light available, plants will absorb more light.

The fixtures also have reflectors which reflect light back onto plants.

This wide frame lighting can be costlier than others.

They also produce heat and should not be kept too close to the plants for they might burn their leaves.

They are available in two types — High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH).

Metal Halide Lamps

The light emitted through metal halide lamps is almost similar to natural light.

Therefore, it tremendously aides in the vegetative growth of plants.

It’s great for plants that need environments similar to the ones outdoor and do well in areas that do not get any sunlight.

Metal Halide High Intensity Discharge lights convey the blue light need for flowering and budding.

This type of light is more tolerable than the light from the high pressure sodium lamps.

High Pressure Sodium Lamps

These lamps emit orange red lights which aides in the growth of flowers and fruits.

High pressure sodium HIDs supply light in the red spectrum.

However, they are not great for the working environment.

Most peoples’ eyes will have trouble adjusting to the bright red color.

These lamps are a bit expensive but are as effective as fluorescent lamps.

They last longer than metal halides.

Incandescent Bulbs

These bulbs are not the natural choice for growers.

They become hot and are not as effective as other light variants.

These lights emit red spectrum light.

Due to their high heat output and low intensity, conventional incandescent bulbs are usually considered a poor option for greenhouse lights.

Incandescent lights may be utilized as a secondary lighting option when installed at a safe distance from vegetables or plants.

Lighting costs

The energy costs for artificial lighting can be a big expense.

The USDA offers grants and subsidies for growers, so while accounting for lighting expenses, you can check with them first.

Using a lighting control system can benefit your plants.

You can also minimize costs by setting timers and using solar powered lighting.

In addition, you may need a greenhouse heater.

What type of light is best for growing plants indoors?

Lights for growing plants and vegetables are an essential part of growing good crops.

In many areas, sunlight may not be strong enough to supplement plant growth.

Farmers will have to consider installing additional lighting.

Growing lights can also extend the growing season of plants which in turn supplement demand and increase yield.

Depending on the amount of solar radiation, and maintenance cost, you can choose from a variety of lights such as LEDs, fluorescent bulbs and HID lamps.

Using reflectors and mirrors can also help even the best LED grow lights for indoor plants.

Recycle Christmas lights to Make a Heat Mat for Seed Starting

Choosing the best LED grow lights

Mars Hydro manufactures quality LED grow lights and grow tents. Their lighting series systems are ideal for home growers as well as for commercial use.

They make it easy to determine which light is best for your circumstances.

They will convey the actual power, the coverage area, and the bloom area so you can maximize your yield.

In addition, they will have recommendations for greenhouses, beginners, commercial growers, and more.

They offer full spectrum LED lighting for hydroponics, indoor growing, commercial growing, and more.

Mars Hydro Grow Lights with blurple and red LEDs are popular with different growers.

Use Mars Hydro LED discount code: RLT

The LED market changed a lot due to the progress of LED technology.

Their quantum board style Mars SP series and Mars TS series sun-like spectrum LEDs are gaining popularity with personal and commercial growers due to their high light efficiency and affordable pricing.

Mars SP250LED

Cover 2’x4’ for bloom, 3’x5’ for veg, Meanwell driver, waterproof, designed for greenhouse/indoor commercial growers. See it here.

See Mars Hydro SP series LEDs here.

Mar Hydro SP250

Mars Hydro TS1000LED

Cover 2’x2’ for bloom, for growing one plant. See it here.

Others in the Hydro TS series are here.

Mar Hydro TS1000


Cover 3’x3’ for bloom. See it here.
Mar Hydro TSW2000


Cover 4’x4’ for bloom, Meanwell driver, also another good choice for commercial growing and personal growers. View it here.

For others other LED grow lights, see Mars Hydro.

Mar Hydro TS3000

Remember to use Mars-Hydro EXCLUSIVE discount code RLT.

Can any LED light be used as a grow light?

Indoor gardening requires special lighting.

To be successful with indoor plants, gardens, and flowers, you need to find a reliable substitute for natural sunlight.

How To Choose Best LED Grow Lights Review

Full spectrum LED lighting will be beneficial for hydroponics, indoor growing, commercial growing, and for greenhouses and grow tents.

It’s important to consider the different growing stages as well as the different plant requirements.

Factor in lighting requirements for the various stages of growth.

You’ll also need to consider light intensity and light duration.

Can any LED light be used as a grow light?

When you purchase a light specifically designed to use with plants, you will know you are getting the correct color temperature. You will also know the exact bloom area per the manufacturer’s description.

Are LED grow lights any good?

When deciding between grow lights, you want to choose a company that offers a variety of lighting options.

They should also be current with the latest technology.

Quantum board style series sun-like spectrum LEDs are becoming more popular for home use as well as commercial growers due to their high light efficiency and affordable pricing.

Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

There is no doubt that using LED grow lighting has its advantages.

The spectral output is better in LEDs than in any other type of light.

LED plant grow lights are the newest option for lighting available for plants and vegetables.

They are advertised to be the coolest and most efficient grow lights available.

They work well for homeowners as well as for commercial use.

In addition, many of them can last up to 11 years and are easy to hang and install due to their small size.

With the best LED grow lights for Indoor Greenhouse, you can extend your growing season and maximize each plant’s potential.

General Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

Hydroponics Garden DIY

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There are a lot of benefits of growing with hydroponics, but none of them will matter unless you use the proper food and water as well as a proper feeding schedule.

In fact, once you are done building your hydro garden, you will need to figure out what works best for you and your plants.

Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

We are going to take a look at what you should be feeding and watering with, as well as give a general hydroponics feeding schedule (your schedule may differ a little depending on the plant, but this schedule will be a good place to start) that will help you end up with a high yield of healthy plants.

But first what is hydroponics?

Why grow hydroponically?

And what tools will you need to execute this general feeding schedule?

General Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

What is Hydroponics?

If you are just starting out and doing a little research, you may want to understand what hydroponics is.

This a method of cultivating plants by using a water-based system, coupled with nutrients.

There is no soil used; instead, in the planters, you will use a plant medium like Perlite to act as the plant’s root bedding.

The roots of the plant will be in direct contact with the nutrients that are delivered into the water reservoir, which in turn stimulates growth.

Why Grow Hydroponically?

There are many pros (and cons) that come with growing your plants hydroponically.

So, with that said, before we get into the feeding process, let us take a quick look at them, so you know what you are facing.

Hydroponics Pros

  • Increased growth rate (+25 % faster)
  • Plants will grow larger due to their not having to struggle to get to the nutrients they need to grow.
  • It conserves water through the recycling of water from its enclosed set-up.
  • It creates a sustainable and eco-friendly system to grow your plants. Less waste and pollution are created by runoff from the soil.

Hydroponics Cons

  • The set-up and maintenance of the system may cost more than the traditional way of growing.
  • It takes more time to set-up and maintain than using a soil-based system.
  • A high risk of failure due to relying on mechanical systems that may malfunction or break.

Knowing the basics is important to understanding the whole construct of hydroponic growing.

So, armed with a little basic knowledge, let’s look at the tools you will need to have with you in preparation for the feeding cycle.

Hydroponics Tools You Will Need

Knowing when to feed will be no good to you if you do not have the right tools to do it.

So, here are a few things you will need to have on hand when getting ready to serve dinner to your plant children:

pH tester

You will want to make sure the pH of your water is perfectly suited for growing.

To do this, making sure that you have a pH tester handy is a great idea.

Poorly balanced pH can cause a lot of problems you do not want to deal with.

Measuring spoons

This will be used to divvy up the nutrients and Epsom salts to build your feed solution.


You can buy many types and should make sure that the ones you choose are designed for growing in a hydroponics atmosphere.

Epsom salts

You will want to add ¼ of a teaspoon in every feeding of Epsom salts.

This will help with the magnesium levels and in turn, help with growth.


A container of water will help you dissolve the nutrients and Epsom salts before adding it to your plants, so it is easier to absorb.  

Okay, now you know what you need to gather together to get ready to feed your plants properly, let us look at what and why you need to feed them.

What to Feed (and Water) Your Plants With

With the proper tools at hand, you are ready to start the process of choosing the right nutrients to use when feeding your plants.

Just as important as that is the water you use in the entire process.

There are other factors like temperature and lights, but those will not impact the feeding schedule but rather the entire grow cycle.

All the factors combine to create the perfect growing environment, so let’s look at the two chief components in the feeding process.

Hydroponics Water

Making sure you use the highest quality water, both in the reservoir as well as when watering, is crucial to the health of your plants.

Using water from the tap or other sources that have not been distilled can lead to issues with overfeeding by introducing nutrients from an outside source you are unaware of.

You will want to use the best filtered water possible.

To do this, we suggest using a multi-level filtration system that takes the water through its paces before expelling it into your reservoir and misting system.

This will negate any chance that stray salt, chemicals or nutrients make their way into the water before you adding them yourself.

Hydroponics Feed Nutrients

There are many nutrients available for growing plants, but the first thing you will need to pay attention to is that you are getting one specifically crafted for work with hydroponics.

The typical nutrients you may get from simple soil growth will be lacking certain key nutrients as they rely on the soil to lead a bit of help.

When you are growing hydroponically, you will not have that assist so you will need your interest to cover everything you are losing from not having soil.

There are two styles you have: liquid and dry options to choose from.

The liquid is easier to use but can be a bit pricey.

There is the dry option which is cheaper and requires a few extra steps to get it ready for delivery.

Once you have chosen the nutrient that seems like it will work for you and your plants, you will want to (if dealing with dry nutrients) also pick up those Epsom salts we talked about in the tools section.

Once you have all your gear together, you are ready to start developing your feeding schedule and starting the rowing process.

Feeding Schedule

Understanding the importance of both the nutrients and the water is key in making your hydroponics crop come to fruition the way you envision.

Making sure you never over water and keep clean water flowing through the system is essential.

But to ensure the plants grow the way you want means feeding them on the right schedule with the nutrients that work for them.

The first thing that you should do is pay close attention to the suggested feeding schedule given to you from the nutrient’s manufacturers.

This means not skipping feedings and giving dosages indicated on the bag.

The only time you should vary from that schedule is if you see adverse effects.

Once you have done this, you will find that your schedule may be slightly different than the one the nutrients manufacturers suggested.

So that you have an idea of a good general feeding schedule for your hydroponics we have put together one (note this is just a general and may not work for all plants or hydroponic gardens, not every nutrient mix):

  • 1st Week = 5ml
  • 2nd Week = 10ml
  • 3rd Week = 10ml
  • 4th Week = 10ml

The remaining schedules are all 10ml.

Even with this general feeding schedule, we still highly suggest following the nutrients chart available on whatever brand you use for the best results.

Some Tips to Help Your Plants Grow

Once you have the water, feed, and schedule down, there are a few other essential factors that play a key role in the success of a hydroponics garden.

So, we thought we would give you a few small tips that may help you out even more.

Tips to Help Plants Grow:

  • You will want to make sure that your plants get at least 6 hours of sunlight (or grow light) a day.
  • If you want to make things a little easier, start with a plant that has already begun the growing process.
  • Make sure to check the pH and adjust accordingly and regularly.
  • Make sure your pump timer is set for the perfect cycle.

Final Thoughts on General Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

In the end, the schedule that best suits you will be the one that takes into consideration everything from the plant’s you are growing, to your hydroponic set-up, to your climate, and everything in between.

Once you have decided all of that, you can begin to craft the perfect feed schedule for your own individual needs.

Starting with the suggested schedule, you will want to pay close attention to the plant looking for signs of both over and underfeeding.

If you are overfeeding, you may see your plants wilting or turning yellow, slow growth or even leaves dropping off.

If you are underfeeding, you may see the same issues arise.

So carefully adjusting your feeding schedule will help you combat either problem

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DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

Building DIY Hydroponic PVC System Using PVC

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

Complete Guide to Lettuce Hydroponics and What to Buy

What’s the Best Hydroponics Equipment for You?

Best LED Grow Lights Review – How To Choose

Purple LED lights indoor farm

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Best LED Grow Lights Review – Over the past five years, revenue for the Hydroponic Crop Farming industry has maintained positive growth.

These indoor, soil-less, climate-controlled farms regulate crop inputs of light, heat, ventilation, water, and nutrition for a superior product.

The current annual revenue is expected to grow 3-4% yearly as vegetable and fruit buyers increasingly turn to greenhouse crops to avoid weather extremes in supply.

The light supply is one of the inputs for healthy and productive plants.

Many plants have an optimum light cycle for growth, blossoming and fruiting.

Correctly programmed grow lights maximize yield with a minimum of waste.

Hydroponic Greenhouse

At a glance: Our Favorite Greenhouse Lights

Click here for Greenhouse Lights

Best LED Grow Lights Review – How To Choose so read on to learn more

There are many types grow lights available, but LED grow lights are some of the most energy-efficient and easy to use lights on the market today.

You can view options in-stores, online or even at auction.

Buying and selling LED Grow Lights has never been so easy!

Advantages of LED Grow Lights

LED lights have come a long way from the tiny amber or green glowing indicators on your Casio calculator.

Some of the benefits of changing your greenhouse technology from older halogen or fluorescent light systems are as follows:

LED Grow Lights Power Efficiency

Older forms of lighting your indoor greenhouse can be very powerful but are very wasteful.

Much heat is generated along with the light.

In fact, some halogen lights get to 400-500 degrees F.

LED lights don’t waste energy generating heat.

LED Grow Lights Have Long Lifespan

Incandescent lights might last a few thousand hours, halogen and fluorescent lamps somewhere around 20,000 hours of service.

Most LED lights are rated at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of use.

LED Grow Lights with Small Footprint

LED lights do not require bulky ballasts or heavy, reinforced hanging apparatus.

Since they don’t often need supplementary cooling, there is more room to grow plants instead of equipment.

LED Grow Light Wavelengths

In the natural world, sunshine provides the entire range of light wavelengths.

When simulating this in a greenhouse, different portions of the spectrum will be important at different times in the plant life cycle.

You will be able to control this input entirely.

Full spectrum LED grow lights provide a wide range of blue, red, white, and ultraviolet light.

LED Grow Light Cycles and Plant Growth

In nature, plants need a great many hours of light to stimulate leaf growth at the beginning of the growing season.

The plants mature as the days grow shorter, with longer periods of darkness.

The plants shift from growing leaves to reproducing.

When growing your plants indoors you optimize this cycle artificially.

More time in the beginning stage of the growing season results in larger overall plants.

Which is how giant cabbages are grown in the midnight sun of Alaska.

In theory, plants can be left in the vegetative (leaf-growing) stage forever, without fruiting and regenerating.

This will allow you to use a successful plant to create a parent plant.

These can be cloned over and over again, without taking chances on spouting unknown seed hybrids or sports.

Growing Great Row Crops using LED Grow Lights

For growing single harvest row crops, it is important to have the right amount of light and dark each day in order to stimulate the right amount of growth in both vegetative and flowering stages.

In addition to ensuring proper flavor and nutrition.

LED Grow Lights and Vegetative Growth

The vegetative (leaf growth) growth cycle is where LED grow lights are extremely efficient.

Plants need a steady, color-coordinated, lower-intensity light for long periods of time.

During the vegetative stage of growth, leafy crops need to have 16-18 hours of light each day.

With this much light, they build strong roots and a solid main stem to support the mature foliage.

This strong main stem will also support the fruiting buds if you allow the plant to mature.

Healthy leaves and stems convert light and carbon dioxide to food.

In this stage, the blue wavelength 400 – 500 nm range, the plants will activate photosynthesis.

A full-spectrum LED light is ideal to provide the necessary number of hours to achieve this.

As plants become more mature, their light needs shift to the red spectrum and they seek evenly spaced “day” and “night” cycles.

Flowering and Fruiting using LED Grow Lights

Optimum flowering stage involves simulating 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness.

Shifting the wavelengths to the red side of the spectrum speeds this process.

The Best LED Light Colors

In order to provide your plants with everything they need, you will need full spectrum LED grow lights.

LEDs only glow at one certain wavelength.

LED panels are manufactured with a mixture of certain kinds of LEDs to provide specific colors.

Choose the best combination for your greenhouse operation.

LED Blue light

In the mid-400 nm range, is ideal for vegetative growth that creates tall, leafy plants

LED Red light

In the 600-640 nm range encourages budding and flowering.

LED White light

Is a mixed light that is visible to humans.

It allows people to see inside the growing area.

It also balances the red and blue lights signal to plants.

LED Ultraviolet light

Is not visible to humans, but allows plants to signal to beneficial insects.

If your crop requires insect pollination when grown outdoors, short bursts of UV will increase scent and potency.

The right blend of light ensures proper plant growth and health.

A sample optimum ratio of different colors for a flowering crop like brussels sprouts is below:

  • 55% Red LEDs rated at 660 nm
  • 20% Red LEDs rated at 630 nm
  • 15% Blue LEDs rated at 470 nm
  • 10% Blue LEDs rated at 425 nm

During the vegetative growth cycle, look for wide, cabbage-leaves and a strong, tall stalk.

By manipulating light and nutrition, it is possible to grow Christmas tree-size sprouting stalks for decor or edible use.

LED Grow Lights to Look For

There are hundreds of LED grow lights available on the market right now, but a few have made some advances in 2018 (in alphabetical order):

Advanced Hydroponic LED

Advanced LED is proven to be one of the best LED grow lights manufacturers on the market.

Their products perform far above most of the other grow lights you may stumble upon while searching the internet.

They spent many years working in grow lights industry and have been perfecting their products every year.

California LEDs

California LED (See here) has affordable industrial strength options.

With 14 years of building experience in the US, they focus on automation, efficiency, and power.


G8LED lamps are distributed by DormGrow in the U.S.

These are less expensive, well-known LED lights.

The company is known for helpful customer service, liberal return and warranty practices and some of the best entry-level products in the business.

Hydroponic Grow Lights

Hydro Grow takes pride in some of the most advanced LED light conversions in the business.

They have a long list of established growers who have made the switch from fluorescent and halogen to Hydro Grow LEDs.

Kind LED Grow Lights

Kind LED lights are perfected by long-time growers.

Kind LED has created a one-of-a-kind heatsink that dramatically reduces the temperature, making them even cooler than standard LED panels.

These are well-researched products that save energy and still provide full-spectrum light.

Mars Hydroponic LED Grow Lights

Since 2009, Mars Hydro LED Grow Lights (See them here) has operated their own research and testing laboratories.

Their ongoing innovation and fine-tuning of their products make them listed among the top LED grow light manufacturers.

Spectrum King Grow Lights

Spectrum King LED grow lights (See here) claim to increase harvests by 25%, save 50% in electricity bills, and to have the smallest footprint of all LEDs.

The cost-benefit calculation certainly balances the extra expense of these lights with the good yields.

TotalGrow LED Lights

TotalGrow lights trademarked a specially researched plant growth system they call Solid State Volumetric Lighting Technology.

TotalGrow lights (buy here) produce a Broad Grow Spectrum in the wavelengths plants need most for healthy and quick growth.

TaoTronics LED Grow Lights

TaoTronics produces a number of lighting products.

In operation since 2008, they deliver millions of LED grow lights all over the world.

What are the best LED grow lights?

Indoor farming is one of the fastest growing and exciting advances in crop technology today.

Many companies have built solid reputations for service and the quality of LED light panels in less than a decade.

The market is crowded and buyers have many shopping options.

Whether your customers are replacing less efficient halogen and fluorescent lights in their grow rooms or starting from scratch.

They want a full-spectrum light to simulate the optimum natural sunlight and seasonal changes.

Manipulating seasonal light patterns encourages leaf growth or flowering as wanted.

It is possible to indefinitely continue vegetative leaf growth with the right nutrition and light conditions.

This is ideal for cloned crops or leaf crops like salad greens.

Shifting the light spectrum to favor red wavelengths and equal day and night cycles encourage flowering and fruiting.

Again, with the correct light wavelengths and nutrition can prolong this phase of plant life and increase harvests.

Your knowledge and professional presentation can set your business apart from an otherwise cluttered marketplace.

If you would like to learn more about LED grow lights and growing your auction business, keep reading or contact us today!

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What’s the Best Hydroponics Equipment for You?

Hydroponics Garden plant

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Hydroponics equipment – In the past few years, sustainable living has undergone a reputation transformation.

For a long time, it was misunderstood as a fad or trendy lifestyle. Now sustainability is a guiding principle for how most of us live our lives.

And it has never been easier to do.

The Internet has made it is possible for all of us — whether we live in an urban city or a more rural area — to practice a sustainable lifestyle.

Hydroponics, in particular, has become more popular, and possible, to implement in any space.

There is a wide variety of equipment available online, so it is important to understand what will work best for you.

This will depend on what you want to grow, what space you have to work with, etc.

Below, we’re reviewing some of the best equipment choices so you can incorporate hydroponics into your daily life.

Get Started with a Best Hydroponics Equipment Kit

If you’re new to hydroponics, purchasing a complete system kit is a great way to get started.

This LU Holes Hydroponic Kit includes everything you need to begin soilless growing.

The package includes a growing box, buoy deck, buoy, sponge pieces, air pump, blasted stone, tweezer and 24 colonization baskets so you can start growing a variety of seeds of your choosing.

It also includes detailed instructions on how to use the product to successfully grow different plants and vegetables.

The materials are durable, biodegradable and corrosion resistant, and since it takes up very little space it is perfect for indoor use.

While there are lots of ways to DIY a hydroponic system, purchasing a kit is an economical way to get comfortable with the process when you are just starting out.

Go For a Complete Outdoor Setup Hydroponics Kit

If you have outdoor space to dedicate to hydroponic growing, you might be ready to make a bigger investment in your equipment.

The Viagrow Complete Ebb & Flow System is a great choice because it’s easy to put together and, once it’s set up, you can take a mostly hands-off approaching to your growing.

The system is designed to deliver the right amount of water, nutrients, and oxygen to up to fourteen plants at one time.

Its nursery pots are made from strong plastic intended to be reused growing season after growing season.

In addition, the grow rocks included provide high oxygen levels around the root of the plants.

This system will also allow you to see results quickly, which could encourage you if you’re just beginning.

The way it’s designed lends to increased growth rates and nutritional value so you’ll see high yields early on.

Purchase Complete Nutrients to Simplify Growing

Just like with soil gardening, the nutrients you give your plants will have a big impact in how they grow.

Hydroponics requires a whole different kind of nutrients though, and it can be confusing and expensive to try to buy them all separately.

Buying complete nutrition packets is the most efficient and simplest way to ensure that you’re giving your plants everything they need for successful growing.

For example, this two-part hydroponic nutrition packet contains all 5 macronutrients and all 6 micronutrients needed for growing tomatoes.

Since different kinds of plants need different nutrients, trying to buy it all separately or attempting to mix-and-match could result in little or no growth.

Complete nutrient packages are easy to use so you are setting yourself up for success.

You should always look for a producer that discloses all the information about what ingredients are used in their products and follow all instructions for how to mix the nutrients together.

LED Lights Boost Plant Growth

Whenever you’re growing plants indoors, the lack of exposure to light has the potential to be the most limiting factor to their growth.

If you are putting together your hydroponic system indoors, you should consider adding a grow light to your setup to combat this limitation.

Any added light will help you get the best growth from your plants, but LEDs have the additional benefit of being the most environmentally friendly option.

They use less electricity than other types of light bulbs and last much longer.

When used correctly, LED grow lights can also provide a light spectrum that is uniquely suited to help plant growth.

This makes them a popular choice among hydroponic growers.

Depending on your hydroponic setup, you can choose to purchase a single bulb that emits light on this spectrum, or a more sophisticated tray of bulbs that balances blue, red, UV and IR LEDS.

Providing your plants with this extra light will encourage better growth and stronger production.

Learn Everything You Can About Hydroponic Gardening

Choosing to include hydroponic gardening as part of a sustainable practice can be a big lifestyle change.

There is a lot that goes into the work.

The equipment you purchase should all come with detailed instructions, but the more information you have, the more confident you’ll feel about your setup.

Purchasing an in-depth beginners guide is a great way to learn everything there is to know about hydroponic gardening and how you can be successful at it.

You’ll get ideas on the best setup for you, the best plants to grow, and helpful tips to use along the way.

At home, hydroponics is still new, so it’s only natural that you would have a lot of questions about the process and the best way to get started.

Having a reference on-hand whenever you’re unsure will help you stick with it until you start to see your success.

Interested in Other Sustainable Practices?

There are lots of different ways to incorporate sustainable practices into your life, no matter where you live or what resources you have available to you.

Having the equipment you need and the knowledge to be confident in the process are great ways to get started.

The more success you have, the more projects you may be inspired to complete and the more sustainable you can make your life.

For more information or to stay updated on the newest in sustainable living, please subscribe to our mailing list.

DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

Building DIY Hydroponic PVC System Using PVC

Complete Guide to Lettuce Hydroponics and What to Buy

What’s the Best Hydroponics Equipment for You?

Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

Complete Guide to Lettuce Hydroponics and What to Buy

Hydroponics lettuce farm

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Lettuce hydroponics – Are your leafy greens in the garden already?

If not, you’re in luck. Lettuce hydroponics is a different way to grow that just might change how you think about gardening.

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil, allowing their roots to come into contact with nutrient-dense water and oxygen to stimulate growth.

If you’re new to this method, lettuce hydroponics is a great place to start. Hydroponic Greenhouse

Most types of lettuce do especially well under these conditions, allowing you to plant a garden in almost any locale, climate and season.

Complete Guide to Lettuce Hydroponics and What to Buy

Choose your greens

While almost any lettuce works well in hydroponic gardening, there are a few varieties that do better than others.

The top three options are:

Tom Thumb: Best for small spaces

Romaine: A slow grower but worth the wait

Bibb: One of the simplest kinds to grow

Depending on your space requirements and time-frame, any of these lettuces are an ideal choice.

You may even choose to plant all of them for a lettuce hydroponics trifecta.

Choose your lettuce hydroponics system

Because your lettuce won’t come into contact with soil, it’s important to ensure adequate water intake.

To this end, there are a few models of watering systems you can build or buy that help your plants get the nourishment they need.

The two most popular ones are NFT and Flood and Drain, also known as Ebb and Flow.

NFT System

Standing for Nutrient Film Technique, the NFT system uses a pump to move water along the base of the plants’ roots.

There will be a reservoir on the bottom, connected to fill tubes and water flow tubes.

These will move the water to a top chamber that holds the plants, which is usually comprised of some form of piping.

The plants’ roots will hang down into holes in the piping, receiving a “film” of water as the pump moves it across and back down into the reservoir.

Flood and Drain System

This type of system is also known as the Ebb and Flow system.

One of the newer, yet most popular watering systems, this solution also uses a reservoir, pump, and growing chamber.

The main difference?

Instead of the pump moving the water continuously across the root tips, it moves it in larger amounts upward to the chamber.

There, it sits until it’s adequately absorbed (the “flooding” phase).

Then the remaining water is drained back into the reservoir (the “draining” phase).

Pick your soil alternative

Just because lettuce hydroponics doesn’t use soil doesn’t mean the root environment is completely barren.

In addition to your watering system, it’s equally important to select a growing medium that will act like soil, only better.

A few commonly used growth mediums include:

Rockwool or Stonewool, Gravel, Sawdust, Perlite or Vermiculite, Clay pellets, Coco fiber, or Pine bark shavings.

Common theme of all these growth mediums:

You can pick up a handful of any of these mediums, and they will slip right through your fingers because their density is low.

A cornerstone of hydroponic gardening is to allow plants to absorb oxygen, which they need to survive and thrive.

While Rockwool or Stonewool are two of the most popular choices, keep in mind that when these materials become wet, they can lose their porous nature.

Too much water could cause root rot — the very issue you’re trying to avoid with lettuce hydroponics!

Purchase the basics to be successful at Hydroponic Gardening

When preparing your equipment, almost any watering system you choose will make use of a reservoir and plant holders, also known as net pots.

The good news is you may already have something on hand that will work for both of these.

The Reservoir

Take a look around your home.

Do you have an extra plastic storage container?

What about an old fish tank?

Either of these would make excellent reservoirs for your lettuce hydroponics system.

The Platform

Next, you’ll need to figure out how to get your plants to sit on top of the reservoir without totally submerging them.

To do so, you’ll need to create a simple platform.

If you opted to use a storage container, you can drill holes in the lid for your net pots.

Otherwise, styrofoam is a great alternative that’s easily cut into and adjustable.

Net Pots

Net pots are the small containers your lettuce will actually sit inside, with its roots hanging down and out of holes on all sides.

Once you know the size and amount of lettuce you’d like to grow, then you can cut the holes in your platform to match these requirements.

Water Pump

Next, you’ll need to figure out how to get the water moving.

An aquarium pump works great for this task, as it’s designed to provide the aeration your plants need to grow.

This will allow plenty of room for them to expand without fear of suffocation.

Nutrient Mixtures

It’s important to research the nutrient requirements of your specific types of plants and lettuces to make sure yours can handle what you’re mixing in.

For instance, some types of lettuces don’t respond well to high levels of nitrogen so you’ll want to be aware of that beforehand.

To make sure your water is as rich as possible, you can buy supplemental hydroponic nutrients to add to it.

These mixtures are readily available online or at gardening centers and usually contain a substantial dose of magnesium and phosphorous, as well as calcium — all great for helping your lettuce produce.

Get Planting!

Once you’ve got all your equipment, it’s time to start planting your lettuce.

You’ll want to give your leafy babies a little bit of time to establish their roots before you put them into the watering system.

With lettuce hydroponics, it’s best to germinate your seeds in an egg carton or similar environment, filling the spaces with the growing medium you prefer.

Make sure to put your container in a place that gets a good amount of sunlight.

Water your seeds a few times per week.

Once they reach a few inches in height and have between 3-5 leaves, they’re ready for you to transplant them to your net pots and into your hydroponic reservoir.

In about two months, you’ll have full-sized lettuce heads, ready to enjoy.

To make sure your lettuces keep producing, remember to pick from the outer edges.

Interested in sustainable living? Grow your own lettuce with hydroponics

Living a more natural, sustainable way of life is very rewarding.

The homesteading community is ripe with resources to help you live more abundantly off the land.

For more information, check out our tips on rural living and more, and reach out to us with any questions.

Let’s grow together!

DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

Complete Guide to Lettuce Hydroponics and What to Buy

What’s the Best Hydroponics Equipment for You?

Hydroponics Feeding Schedule

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

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DIY Hydroponic Systems – By definition, hydroponics is a water culture method wherein the plant roots are totally immersed in a nutrient-rich and oxygenated solution instead of soil.

What’s even more encouraging for growers is that they can build DIY hydroponic systems which they can use to grow plants all year round.

There are six types of hydroponic systems.

We will explain each type and also discuss how you can combine different hydroponic systems, depending on your situation and needs.

An option is purchasing Best Hydroponics Equipment, Hydroponic kit or Hydroponic Systems that can be very economical way to get started.

DIY Hydroponic Systems

There are many reasons why hydroponics systems are becoming more popular among hardcore growers, garden enthusiasts, homemakers, and families who simply want to have more plants.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to hydroponics is that it can greatly increase plants’ growth and yield.

There is the potential for plants to mature up to 25 percent faster and produce 30 percent more than the same plants which are grown in soil.
Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

Advantages of hydroponics systems

Why is this so?

Plants have the potential to grow faster and bigger because they don’t need to work hard to get nutrients.

A hydroponics system provides the plants what it needs, so it can grow upstairs fast instead of expanding its root system downstairs.

Uses less water in hydroponic system

A hydroponic system uses less water than soil based plants.

Thus it can be said that a hydroponics system is also environment-friendly because there is a reduction in waste and pollution from soil runoff.

Can build hydroponic system in a small area

Another reason why hydroponics is highly popular these days is because it works well for growers who don’t have a backyard to plant.

Hydroponics can save a lot of space unlike in traditional soil gardening.

Home-based growers can pack their plants closer together.

In fact it is not uncommon to see plants grown in hydroponic systems in apartments and condos.

Challenges of hydroponics systems

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to hydroponics systems.

One is that it can be time consuming to set up a large scale hydroponics system.

If you aren’t the most experienced grower, you could end up ditching the system because of its intricacies.

Managing it is also time-consuming and challenging, as you need to closely watch and balance the pH and nutrient levels on a daily basis.

Perhaps the biggest risk you are taking just in case you try a hydroponic system is the potential to kill off your plants due to a pump failure.

Plants can die quickly in a water culture since the system can’t store water the way soil can.

A pump failure can cut off a fresh supply of water, and that would be enough to kill your plants and waste whatever progress you have made.

Hydroponic PVC Designs

Hydroponic Basics and Types of Hydroponics Systems

There are six types or methods of hydroponics systems.

  1. Hydroponic Wick System
  2. Water Culture
  3. Ebb and Flow
  4. Drip
  5. Nutrient Film Technique
  6. Aeroponic

Hydroponic system Wick

Wick is the easiest and lowest costing hydroponic method.

The idea is that a material like felt of wicking rope is surrounded by a growing medium such as perlite.

One end of the wick material is immersed in a nutrient-rich solution, which is then wicked to the roots of the plant.

Wick is best suited for growing small, non-fruiting plants such as herbs and lettuce.

However, it won’t work for large plants that need more water.

Water culture in a hydroponic system

Water culture is perhaps the most popular among home growers.

It is simple and inexpensive to build.

Also known as the reservoir method, this system has the roots of the plant suspended in a nutrient solution.

The latter is oxygenated by an aquarium air pump which prevents the roots of the plants from drowning.

Ebb and flow for a hydroponic system

The third type, ebb and flow, functions by flooding the growing area with a nutrient solution at certain intervals.

The solution then slowly drains back into the reservoir.

To ensure that the process repeats itself at specific intervals, a pump is hooked to the timer.

This allows the plants to get the right amount of nutrients at certain intervals.

This hydroponics system type is best suited for plants that are accustomed to dryness.
Hydroponic PVC Systems

Hydroponic system Drip

The fourth type, drip, is also quite simple.

There’s a tank of water where vital nutrients are added, creating a nutrient reservoir.

The water is then released to the plants individually through a network of tubes.

The problem with this system is that it is notorious for clogging due to the particles from nutrients.

Nutrient Film Technique NFT

In nutrient film technique or NFT, a continuous flow of nutrient solution runs over the roots.

The solution is slightly tilted, so that nutrients will flow with the force of gravity.

It is preferred by most growers because the roots of the plant are able to take in more oxygen from the air.

It can also facilitate a fast growth rate because the plants are able to get more oxygen, while the tips of the roots get the nutrient from the solution.

Aeroponics or hydroponic system

The aeroponics system is the most technologically advanced among the six hydroponics systems.

In fact scientists believe that this system will be the solution to man’s food shortage woes in the future.

In this system, the plants are suspended in the air and the roots hanging down below.

A tube pumps up the nutrient solution while another pump of higher pressure sprays the solution as a mist over the roots.

Building your own hydroponic system

When you do it yourself, you can choose from any of the six methods, or combine their principles in building your own hydroponic system.

One reason why DIY hydroponic systems are popular among do-it-yourselfers is that you don’t need to buy a lot of materials for this project.

In fact, you can have a DIY hydroponic system using recycled water bottles.

One note when choosing plastic water bottles is to watch out for the harder plastics. They are often number 7 plastics which you will want to avoid.

This is the plastic made from polycarbonate which is made from Bisphenol-A (also known as BPA) a hormone disruptor.

The best plastics for hydroponics are number 2 and number 5.

Hydroponic System Materials

For this project, you will need a plastic water bottle of any size, a cutting tool like a knife or razor blade, a marker, and a drill or awl.

You will also need a wicking material like a cotton yarn, a hydroponic nutrient solution, perlite, and duct tape.

Hydroponic system Procedure

Start by cutting the top of the bottle using a knife or razor blade at the part where the curve of the upper part of the bottle meets its straight sides.

Turn the upper portion of the bottle and insert it into the bottom, so that its lid is inside the bottle.

Using a marker, mark the point where the lid is. This would serve as the point of reference in adding nutrient solution.

Then drill a hole in the lid. The hold should be large enough for the wick material to pass through.

Then insert the material into the hole in the lid.

It must be long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle and with at least an inch or two remaining in the top.
Hydroponic PVC
Remove the top of the bottle and pour the hydroponic nutrient solution into the bottom part.

Refer to the mark you put on the side of the bottle.

Reinsert the upper portion of the bottle into the bottom, enabling the wick to fall into the nutrient rich solution.

Using the duct tape, secure the top of the bottle to the bottom.

Moisten the perlite with the nutrient solution before placing it on the top of the bottle.

String the wick through the perlite so that it can draw nutrients from the solution and into the perlite-filled top section.

Add the seedling in your hydroponic system

Then put a small seedling in the perlite.

The seedlings should get nutrients from the dampened perlite.

Once the nutrients have been absorbed, more nutrients will be drawn up from the wick.

Hydroponic Kits

You may also buy hydroponic kits if you aren’t fond of DIY.

These hydroponic kits have everything you need to get your home garden started.

There are also instructional manuals to guide you on how to set up the hydroponic system.

But you will still have to watch the systems closely unless you want your plants to die quickly.

While you obviously have to pay upfront for these hydroponic kits, it may well be worth the price if you want to make sure you get things right, and if you want to start right away.

Advantages of Hydroponic vs Soils

As mentioned earlier, hydroponic systems save space compared to traditional gardening.

But there are other advantages of hydroponic systems which make them ideal for home growers.

Save water in hydroponic system

One is that it can save water. Studies show that a hydroponic setup can save as much as 90 percent of water used in traditional soil gardening.

No weeds in a hydroponic system

Second, you don’t need to weed in hydroponics system.

Because there is no soil, there won’t be weeds in a hydroponics set-up.

You can spare yourself of the exhaustion you will get from weeding.
hydroponics roots trimmed

Hydroponic system: No pests and diseases

Plus, there are no pests and diseases to worry about.

Taking away soil from the equation also gets rid of soil-borne diseases that plague traditional gardening.

Hydroponic system Save time

Finally, you can save a lot of time.

You don’t have to water the plants, or weed like in a traditional garden.

Plus you don’t need to put pesticides and fertilizers.

These tasks that you have to do in soil-based gardening aren’t needed in hydroponics systems.

The idea of growing plants in a soil-less environment may sound impossible for the uninitiated.

That is until they learn what hydroponic systems are.

With all these benefits of hydroponics systems, you may want to give DIY hydroponic systems a try.

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Last Updated on

Hydroponic PVC – Do you want to grow your own plants but you don’t have enough space in the backyard?

Do you live in a condo thus you don’t have any backyard to grow veggies?

Then you can build a hydroponic PVC system.

It is a clever way of growing plants on a small area without exerting much effort.

It can hang on a wall or a fence, meaning you don’t need to have a garden to pursue your hobby.

Hydroponics is a word derived from two Greek words.

Hydro means water while ponics is a word for hard labor.

Hydroponics actually goes along way back, as the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs were said to be familiar with the principles of growing plants in water enriched with nutrients.

There are lots of plants that you can grow in a hydroponic PVC system.

These include onions, spinach, chives, zucchini, arugula, yellow squash, lettuce, basil, and cucumbers.

You can also grow all types of cabbage, mint, broccoli, cilantro, peas, oregano, cauliflower, and green peas.

Other plants that you can nourish in a hydroponic PVC system are peppers, strawberries, chili, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and radishes.DIY hydroponic System

What are Hydroponic PVC Systems

Hydroponic PVC systems use the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe that is commonly used for household waste plumbing.

While there are other materials that can be used for a hydroponic system such as metal or plastic, PVC has become very popular among home gardeners because of its inherent advantages.

Advantages of Hydroponic System PVC

Arguably the most glaring advantage offered by PVC is affordability.

A hydroponics system based on metal or plastic can be very costly.

PVC, on the other hand, is very easy to put up because the low price of the material.

If you’re looking to create your own hydroponic system at home, you’ll be attracted to the low price of PVC that leaves you with enough space for error and tryouts.

Another advantage of PVC is its efficiency.

PVC pipes are lighter than other hydroponic system materials like steel.

It is also not toxic and soluble.

Plus, hydroponic gardening systems that make use of PVC pipes perform very well outdoors notwithstanding different weather conditions.

It’s perhaps the quality that sets PVC apart from other materials, which can break down over time due to constant exposure to rain.

PVC can withstand harsh elements, and won’t be a problem if taken indoors.

Disadvantages of PVC Hydroponic System

This is not to say that PVC doesn’t have its own share of disadvantages.

There are some downsides to having a PVC hydroponic system.

One is the tendency to cause contamination.

Plant roots can also get inside the PVC pipes.

However, these problems can be easily controlled.

For instance, the use of a water permeable fabric for coating the inside of the pipes can control the roots from getting inside the PVC pipes.

This should let water and nutrients to run through and stop the roots from getting to the inside of the pipes.

The other problem can be solved by thoroughly cleaning the pipe with a 1 percent sodium hypochlorite solution after a crop has been grown in it.

This involves mixing one part of bleach with nine parts of water.

Best Hydroponics Equipment
Best Hydroponics Equipment

Hydroponic PVC Designs

Should you decide to build a DIY hydroponic PVC garden, there are certain things that you will have to determine.

Do you want to build a horizontal garden on a table or floor, or mount a vertical one on a frame or wall?

The horizontal garden is slightly less difficult to put up because there’s no fear of the thing collapsing under the weight of the plants and water.

But if you have a limited space, the more viable option is the vertical garden.

In case you opt for a vertical design, you need to buy a large pump as it will have to work harder in pumping nutrient-filled water to the topmost part or layer of the garden.

Hydroponic methods

You’ll also have to decide on the hydroponic method.

There are two common choices here—ebb and flow and deep water culture.

Ebb and flow hydroponic systems allow water to flow through the pipes.

There’s a pump that runs for 15 minutes an hour, flooding the pipes with water filled with nutrients.

Once the pump is turned off, the nutrient solution goes back into the reservoir.

It simply duplicates the rain and drought cycle.

The other method, deep water culture, has the roots of the plants suspended directly in the nutrient solution.

The PVC pipes are filled with the solution.

Meanwhile the pots with plants are placed in holes that are drilled on the upper part of the pipe.

Lastly you need to determine the growth medium.

You can go for HydroClay pebbles that are very good in holding oxygen aside from providing excellent drainage.

You can also opt for Perlite and vermiculite which are ideal for roots needing more support.

Rockwool cubes, meanwhile, are ideal for starting seeds in the hydroponic system.

The size of your hydroponic PVC garden will also be influenced by the number of plants you intend to grow.

Generally speaking, you can allot six inches of PVC for every plant.

Hydroponic PVC Plans

Building a hydroponic PVC system is a DIYer’s dream because of tools and materials needed are often found in the household, or can be bought at a nearby home improvement store.

Moreover, setting up is quite simple.

The process requires cutting and connecting the PVC pipes, cutting holes, cleaning the system and controlling the water level in the pipes.

We’ll show you how to build a DIY hydroponic PVC system that measures 3 ½ feet x 8 feet, and capable of holding up to 36 plants that are up to six inches tall.

It can also hold up to 15 gallons of water, with its nutrient reservoir holding almost the same amount.

You’ll also need a hydroponic pump for this.

Building DIY Hydroponic Systems
Building DIY Hydroponic Systems

How to start DIY Hydroponics

Using a hack saw, start to cut four PVC pipes.

Each pipe should measure 7 feet and six inches long.

Then cut two six-inch pieces which will be used for the u-turns for the PVC elbows.

Clean the burrs from the pieces using a PVC primer.

Hold the pieces together for a few seconds when gluing them to avoid the pieces from popping back out.

The PVC pipe glue should be applied on the end of the pipe and the u-turns, covering 1 ½ inches on the end of the pipe.

Make holes for the plants

Once the u-turn pieces are dry, the next step is making holes for the plants.

Ideally, the system should be left to dry overnight before drilling holes.

This should make the process easier to accomplish, and ensure that the entire system won’t come apart while you drill the plant holes.

The plant holes should be at the top of the PVC pipe.

Measure 3 ½ inches from the elbow of the pipe, marking it with a dot.

Each long pipe which measures 7 feet six inches long should have nine dots, with a space of 10 inches in between.

After drilling the holes, clean the system again and flush it several times to ensure that it is safe from breaking.

You’ll also need disposable cups (16 oz) to make the netted pots.

Drill small holes on the sides and bottoms of the cups.

Make the holes small enough that no one can see them.

Install a dam hydroponic system

At the end of the system, install a dam hydroponic system to keep the water in the system as high as possible without causing any leakages.

The DIY dam can be a milk jug.

For this dam to be operative, look for a piece of thin plastic and a 4 inch piece of scrap PVC.

Trace out a circle on the plastic using the scrap PVC then cut it out.

Cut a side of the circle for the height of the water level that you would like to be maintained inside the pipes.

Then cut two slits that would give a flap which can be bended down so that the level of water can be fine-tuned.

Set up the system by filling it with water, and the dam filled with 1/3 water.

Turn on the hydroponic pump.

The amount of water going back into the system should be the same as what is being pumped into it.

Put the disposable cups into each hole, adding clay pellets to each cup.

Half of the pellets should sink in the water.

To complete the system, install a 1000 watt light.

Hydroponic PVC Kits

Of course, you can make your life easier by buying a hydroponic PVC kit.

But there are certain things that you have to consider when buying one.

The kit should have all the necessary items like grow lights, nutrients, fan, grow medium, and instructional guide.

Odor control is equally important.

Be sure to have a plan for odor control so your garden won’t be saturated in unpleasant scents.

Lastly, buy a kit with outstanding customer support so that you can have someone to turn to in case you find something wrong with the kit.

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How I Built My DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

How I Built My DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

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DIY Hydroponic System – We do not have any garden space or soil for planting in our yard.

But that didn’t let that stop us from starting a vegetable garden.

Here’s how we about building a hydroponic garden.

How to Build a DIY Hydroponic Garden

If you haven’t considered setting up a DIY Hydroponic Garden you’re really missing out.

These gardens are the wave of the future, and just about anyone can set them up.

The best part is, they can fit into just about any space, so even those in the smallest apartment can have the garden of their dreams.

I live in a climate which is very hot and dry throughout nine months of the year.

While I have a small yard, there isn’t usable soil for growing a garden.

I don’t know much about gardening, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

I realize it will be a greater challenge with the hot climate.

My goal is to have a year round system to produce herbs, lettuce and other greens without needing to bring in dirt or compost.

Building a DIY hydroponic system was one of the first things I did.

hydroponics tomato plants

Why Should I Build a DIY Hydroponic Garden?

Setting up your very own DIY hydroponic garden comes with a whole plethora of advantages.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your space is, you can set up your garden and watch it flourish.

These gardens also use far less water than traditional gardens and are less vulnerable to harmful pesticides.

Since these types of gardens conserve water and don’t erode the soil, they are environmentally friendly.

Plus, they produce the same delicious crops that you would find in traditional gardens.

How Do I Get Started on My Hydroponic Garden?

If you’re ready to build a DIY hydroponic garden, there are several things that you will want to take into consideration.

Making sure that you give the following steps the due diligence they deserve will help you maximize your garden and get the best returns on what you plant.

How I Built My Hydroponic System

My DIY Hydroponic setup 

My setup is a free standing, recirculating pump based hydroponic system. 

It has a reservoir full of nutrient solution which is pumped through 3/4” PVC tubes up to system of four 4” PVC grow pipes.

The 170-200 GPH fountain pump can push water up to about 7 feet.

Pumping about 170 gallons per hour through the system, it makes for lots of circulation.

Hydroponics System
Hydroponics System

Hydroponic Reservoir

The reservoir is a standard plastic storage container with a lid.

I keep the reservoir covered to avoid evaporation and prevent debris and critters from entering.

In addition, I put reflective insulation around the reservoir to help deflect direct sun, as that raised the temperature of the water considerably.

Even with the reservoir covered, I have to replenish the system roughly once every two weeks.

A lot of water is lost through the plants themselves and their pots.

Hydroponic Grow pipes

Each of the 48” grow pipes has four grow sites, spaced about a foot apart.

Each grow site has a net pot filled with clay pellets.

I used standard 4″ pipe caps. (They were only about $2 each).

I didn’t cement the ends because I wanted to disassemble and clean the unit as needed.

The pipe ends have a snug fit, but not enough to prevent water leaking, so I wrapped the ends with black PVC pipe tape.

That took care of the remaining leaks.

How I Built My DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden
How I Built My DIY Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Garden

Each end of the horizontal PVC hydroponics pipe

At each end of each horizontal pipe, I drilled a 3/4″ hole in the PVC for intake or outlet.

You can see that the intake ports are positioned high on the end caps, and the outlets are low.

I did tests during construction to get the position just right.

If it drained too fast, then the standing water level would be too low, and conversely, if the outlet was too high, the pipe would fill up and overflow.

It was a bit of a balancing act there.

In each hole, I put a 3/4″ steel pipe plug with outside threads as a thread tap.

It ended up working pretty well and didn’t cost nearly as much as a real 3/4″ tap and die set.

Hydroponic Water pumped

The water is pumped from the reservoir up to the top grow pipe.

Then it flows through the top grow pipe, down to the next pipe below, and so on.

Finally it drains back into the reservoir.

I try to keep 2″ to 3″ of water in the tubes.

The nice part about keeping it so deep is that if there is a pump failure or other issue with the water supply, there will be some standing water that keeps the plant roots wet and fed for a while.

This happened to me once when the tomato plant roots blocked one of the pipes, causing the tube above to overflow and eventually drain the reservoir.

Once the pump shut off from lack of water, the tubes still had enough water in them to keep the plants alive until I noticed several days later.

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Before planting the homemade hydroponics

Before planting anything in the hydroponic system, I had started some beans, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and peas indoors in a growth medium that I could easily transfer to the net pots.

Not all of my starts took off.

My beans did not survive at all, and all but one lettuce plant died.

I attribute this to planting too soon, before the starts had developed good roots.

In the photo here, you can see the tomato plants are taking off, peas are doing okay and the onions and lettuce are still slow to get going.
homemade hydroponics garden

Think about where you want to put Hydroponic Garden

Location is everything!

Although these gardens can thrive and exist in all sorts of different sized spaces, where size doesn’t matter location does.

Make sure that the garden is located in a spot where it will not be disturbed.

You will want to find a place that is fully enclosed, private and temperature controlled.

Greenhouses are great options, as are basements.

Simply make sure that your space is safe from the elements, dry, and easily accessible.

If you put your garden in a darker space, like a basement, you’ll want to add lights to it to ensure that the plants are able to grow properly.

Small greenhouse

I put a “green closet” small greenhouse around the structure to help control temperature and filter out some of the intense sun.

The greenhouse is made out of PVC pipe, made rigid with wood bracing and covered in 7 mil painters plastic.

When this greenhouse photo was taken, the tomato plants had grown the most by far.

So much, that I had to remove a few plants due to their roots blocking up the pipes, and to allow for the other plants to get more light.

Later, I added string support for the plants to cling on to. I should have added this support much earlier on.

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Set Up Your Hydroponic System

There are several different types of hydroponic gardens.

The hydroponic system or hydroponic garden that’s best for you will largely depend on your skill level, space restrictions, or the amount of time that you are willing to devote to the garden.

Ultimately, most gardens are built out of PVC pipe, which is readily available at any home improvement store.

You just need some standard pipe, a trellis for the plants to latch on to as they grow, and a pump inside of the pipes to distribute nutrients to your new plants.

Remember, these systems recycle water and nutrients, so the pump system is absolutely imperative to the growth of your brand new crop.

You need to cut holes at the top of the pipes and place the plants inside of them.

That will allow the nutrient and water mixture to wash over the roots, fortifying the plants and helping them grow properly.

If you are growing fewer plants, you can always use buckets with holes punched at the bottom.

The nutrients will snake up into the roots.

You can either set up a pump or water the bucket manually.

This s a great option for people who want to grow a few large plants and don’t have a lot of skills when it comes to the mechanics of setting up a PVC pipe hydroponic garden.
Hydroponic PVC Designs

Mix the Nutrients and Add the Plants

The nutrients are what will really get the party started in your DIY hydroponic garden.

The general rule is to add one cup of nutrients per 25 gallons of water.

Don’t pop your plants in just yet.

Let the pump mix up the nutrients and water so everything is fully integrated before you add the plants.

Then it’s time to add the plants.

If you are using seedlings, remember to wash all of the soil off their roots before integrating them into your garden.

It’s important to make sure that you do this very gently because water that is too hot or cold could damage the fragile root system of the plant.

You can buy seedlings at just about any store that sells plants.

Once your roots are nice and clean, you can put them in your PVC pipe or bucket.

Make sure that the roots are firmly encased in clay pellets and accessible to the nutrient and water mixture that is flowing through the pipe or into the bucket.

That way, they will have the best chance to get all of the important nutrients that they need to thrive.

Root system

I was very surprised by the root systems.

Below is a photo of the root system of one of the tomato plants.
roots fr our hydroponics system and garden

These roots actually started to become an issue.

They started to grow so much that they would block the pipes and cause water to back up in the system.

A little bit of a “hair cut” fixed that for a little while.

This is a pot I removed to thin out the garden.

hydroponics roots trimmed
Support the Plants

Here is where your trellis comes in.

Once the plants are securely fixed in your pipe or buckets, it’s time to make sure that they are growing upright properly.

The best way to do that is to tie them to the support system and guide them in their growth.

You want to be very careful with this step.

Seedlings and smaller plants are very vulnerable to shock and breakage.

Think about tying them to the trellis as a way to simply guide their process, not affix them like glue to the support structure.

Supporting the plants is very important if you are operating in a small space, or dealing with multiple plants.

You need to maximize the area while still giving these plants ample room to flourish.

Start Up the Pump and Watch Your Plants Grow

Now it’s time for the fun part.

Start up the pump and let the garden do the rest.

You can be assured that you’re doing something awesome for the environment, and also creating a garden full of delicious fruits and vegetables that you can enjoy without having to worry about pesticides.

Remember to keep an eye on your plants.

There are times when these plants need to be cut back, so trim them regularly and make sure that they are growing in a straight line.

If you have multiple plants in a single pipe, it’s important to ensure that dominant or aggressive species are not taking over.

Ultimately, have fun on your gardening adventure!

Enjoying the harvest of your hydroponics setup

We used the green onions and lettuce from the setup to make a lot of salads for six (two adults and 4 kids).

Here is a photo of one of those plants.

We just kept cutting leaves off for salads, and they just kept growing back.
hydroponics setup

DIY hydroponics cost

Overall, the bill of materials cost on the entire unit is well under $100.

I also bought some tools that I didn’t already own, including a 4″ hole saw for $20.

Materials I used to build DIY hydroponic System

  • 170-200 GPH fountain pump
  • 27-gallon plastic storage container with lid
  • 4” PVC pipe: 4@48”
  • 3/4” PVC pipe
  • 4” PVC end caps: 8
  • 3/4” PVC elbows: 8
  • 3/4” steel pipe plugs: 8
  • Flexible PVC fountain tubing
  • Black PVC pipe tape
  • Wood for support frame

Hydroponic Supplies

  • Standard garden seeds and plant starts
  • Standard seed starting medium and starter cells
  • 4” hydroponic net pots: 16
  • Hydroponic clay pellets
  • Hydroponic nutrient solution formulated for growth; I like FoxFarm.

Hydroponic Equipment

Hacksaw and guide for cutting pipe, Drill, 4” hole saw and 3/4” drill bit

If you don’t already own the proper tools, there are several options.

You can ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to borrow them.

Oftentimes, you can rent them from a local hardware store.

And of course, you can buy the tools you need and then use them for future projects.

All in all, my DIY hydroponics setup has been a good experiment, and we’ve grown a lot of produce.
Hydroponic PVC Plans

What can you grow in a hydroponic garden

You can grow everything from root vegetables to melons in a hydroponic garden.

However, there are some fruits and vegetables that grow quickly and are easier for beginners. After all, we all want success with our hydroponics.

Leafy greens

Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard all do well. These grow especially well and are among the easiest to grow. In addition, they grow fast.


These are ideal for hydroponic gardens because they don’t need additional ground space as they grow.


Strawberries excel in wet conditions making them ideal for hydroponics.


In general, herbs are fairly easy to grow. They do well in hydroponic gardens. Consider starting with basil and cilantro.


With enough light, cucumbers do well in these gardens.

DIY hydroponic System
DIY hydroponic System

Advantages to hydroponic gardening

In addition to being able to grow all of this produce in a space space, there are several benefits to growing with hydroponics.

According to hydroponics.net, under the same conditions, the rate of growth for plants in water is 30-50% faster than when they grow in dirt. They also yield more fruit.

There is less chance for bug infestations and diseases.

Because there is more oxygen, it stimulates the roots better.

You won’t need to contend with topsoil erosion, and generally, you won’t need to use pesticides.

Also, it was fairly easy to set up, and it worked well in my small space.

I can’t wait to build my next hydroponic system, refining my ideas with these tips from what I learned.

We’d love to hear what you’ve been successful with in your hydroponics system.

Please share in the Comments.

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