Homemade Hydroponic Systems: MOTHER's Mini-Manual to Hydroponics

Learn the how and why of do-it-yourself hydroponics.


| January/February 1977



Hydroponics

A well-kept hydroponic garden requires less work than its traditional counterpart.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ VASILITY KOVAL

At first thought, the practice of growing plants in an inert medium (such as gravel), feeding them periodically with dissolved nutrients, and then draining away the fertilizing solution to aerate the roots seems downright “unnatural.” But people all over the world — from India (where folks frequently feed themselves from discarded containers filled with rubble) to the Netherlands Antilles (where large hydroponic farms operate with distilled seawater on otherwise useless agricultural land) to the good ole USA (where even famous organic gardeners, such as Eddie Albert, endorse hydroponics) — are finding that hydroponic systems do, in fact, have many practical advantages over "ordinary" soil cultivation techniques.

Benefits of Hydroponic Systems

Take, for instance, the fact that hydroponics gardeners can often obtain a greater crop of tasty and nutritious foods (or of healthy ornamentals) from a smaller space simply because the amounts of nutrients given to a plant and the times of those nutrients' application can be controlled and adjusted and tailored to meet that particular plant's specific needs.  

Hydroponics also can be successfully utilized on many tracts of land unsuitable for normal cultivation regardless of the native soil type. In addition — and somewhat surprisingly — the system of propagation uses less water than conventional gardens (because the runoff fluid can be recycled for several days), which makes it ideal for use in deserts and other water-poor regions. Other benefits can include:

  • Reduced threat of soil-borne insects and diseases
  • Weeds are easier to control
  • The growing medium may be used time and time again without bothersome preparation
  • A well kept soil-less garden requires less work than its traditional counterpart.  

Perhaps best of all, these many benefits apply to all hydroponics operations...from the ultra-simple flowerpot-fed-through-a-wick setup to the fully automated commercial greenhouse. Anyone, in short, can put them to work in his or her garden...whether it's large or small, simple or lavish, "just for fun" or seriously cultivated for food and/or profit.

A Hydroponics Container

The hydroponic container can be anything which will hold up a bed of growing medium, usually about 8 to 9 inches deep. Galvanized iron or tin should not be used because the excessive zinc can poison the plants. Wood, plastic, concrete, roofing felt, brick, mortar, plaster, mud, clay, fiberglass, plastic resin, etc. — all are quite suitable. Redwood will not rot if set in the ground, but other wood, especially plywood, must have protection both inside and out from rot. Asphalt emulsion is a good, non-toxic preservative, and should be painted on all surfaces in contact with the ground. Also suitable are jars, boxes, flowerpots, old packing crates, or discarded buckets and barrels. In short, anything at all will do which is non-toxic to plants. The cheapest materials are those which can be found or scrounged.

Some people build troughs right on top of the ground. There should be a liner (plastic, tar paper, mud plaster, etc., work well to discourage soil-borne insects and diseases) between the bed and the soil, and the ground should be graded in an even, gentle slope for good drainage. It is essential that there be no low spots which will collect stagnant puddles. However you make them, plant beds should not be so wide that you cannot easily reach all parts while standing outside.

pierre debono
4/10/2012 2:32:26 PM

Hydroponics was derived from the Greek word hydro, which means "water" and ponos, which means "labor or water-working". Hydroponics gardening involves growing plants with their roots in other nutrient solutions and without soil. Hydroponics gardening is as simple as ordinary gardening. Both of them necessitate sufficient light, water, temperature, light, and humidity. But with hydroponics, no soil is used. Instead a soil substitute holds the roots while nutrients are carried by the water. Indoor hydroponic gardening is not that hard and plants respond well to this method of growing. This is one of the major considerations in hydroponics gardening since it sustains the plants. One has to make sure that this nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. In hydroponics gardening, the plants should be watered more than three times a day. this is usually done using a pump and timer. If your hydroponics garden is located indoors, the most suitable temperature is between 71 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this temperature may change depending on the different types of plant you are working on, e.g. tropical plants. Place your plants somewhere they can receive ample amount of light. Otherwise artificial light must be used. High pressure Sodium lights or bulbs are a suitable substitute for natural light. Humidity is good. When the room’s temperature rises, the air will be able to hold the sufficient amount of moisture your plants will need. A hydroponics system can be fully automated. Since it is water-based, the gardener has no soil to dig or weeds to pull. Also, the water can be re-used to prevent wastage. With hydroponics, an excellent yield of quality plants can be easily achieved on http://www.68-brilliant-clever-classes.com/


pierre debono
4/10/2012 2:31:59 PM

Hydroponics was derived from the Greek word hydro, which means "water" and ponos, which means "labor or water-working". Hydroponics gardening involves growing plants with their roots in other nutrient solutions and without soil. Hydroponics gardening is as simple as ordinary gardening. Both of them necessitate sufficient light, water, temperature, light, and humidity. But with hydroponics, no soil is used. Instead a soil substitute holds the roots while nutrients are carried by the water. Indoor hydroponic gardening is not that hard and plants respond well to this method of growing. This is one of the major considerations in hydroponics gardening since it sustains the plants. One has to make sure that this nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. In hydroponics gardening, the plants should be watered more than three times a day. this is usually done using a pump and timer. If your hydroponics garden is located indoors, the most suitable temperature is between 71 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this temperature may change depending on the different types of plant you are working on, e.g. tropical plants. Place your plants somewhere they can receive ample amount of light. Otherwise artificial light must be used. High pressure Sodium lights or bulbs are a suitable substitute for natural light. Humidity is good. When the room’s temperature rises, the air will be able to hold the sufficient amount of moisture your plants will need. A hydroponics system can be fully automated. Since it is water-based, the gardener has no soil to dig or weeds to pull. Also, the water can be re-used to prevent wastage. With hydroponics, an excellent yield of quality plants can be easily achieved on http://www.68-brilliant-clever-classes.com/






dairy goat

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.

LEARN MORE