How To Build An At-Home Hydroponics Garden
You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a gorgeous, fruitful garden right in your home. A hydroponics garden is a simple, easy, sustainable, mess-free way to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, and plants all year long.
Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm, an indoor hydroponics garden is ideal for any space.
Hydroponics Gardening 101
Hydroponics is a soilless form of growing. A specialized system delivers oxygen and nutrients directly to your plants without the need for soil. Often, these systems will use a solution in water or a growing medium to deliver the necessary nutrients to the plant.
Hydroponics are used on a commercial scale to grow healthy produce for sale, but they’re also used on a residential scale for personal use. We’ve seen a blossom in the interest level of individual hydroponic gardening, as people are realizing all of the wonderful benefits of implementing an easy, simple at-home garden.
Why Have An At-Home Hydroponics Garden
Hydroponics gardens are a great option for anyone interested in having fresh produce year round—without putting in a lot of time or effort.
Why should you introduce a hydroponic system into your home this year?
1. Improves health
Having plants in your home has actually been shown to make your house healthier. Plants add oxygen to the atmosphere, giving you fresher air to breathe. They also release water, which helps gently improve the humidity of the room to keep respiratory problems at bay. NASA even found that plants can remove up to 87% of environmental toxins every 24 hours.
A study by Kansas State University found that plants in hospital rooms could speed the recovery rate of surgery patients. These patients also required less pain medication, had lower heart rates and blood pressure, experienced less fatigue and anxiety, and were released from the hospital sooner. The plants were the single variable to improved health. Another study found that plants may even help reduce stress and sharpen focus.
2. Minimal space
Hydroponic gardens take up next to no space in the home. Most home systems are compact or vertical, so they can fit in just about any room. Hydroponic gardens are especially good for apartment dwellers who want to grow food and plants but don’t have a lot of free space.
3. Minimal work
Hydroponic systems require no soil, which means less work and fewer health concerns. You’re not introducing soil-borne bacteria or pests into your home. You don’t have to worry about soil rotation or adding in additional nutrients or growers. There’s no dirt or mess—just healthy plants.
Furthermore, you can put your hydroponic system on timers and pumps to automatically feed your plants oxygen and water as they need it. You don’t have to worry about overwatering or underwatering. You don’t even have to worry about leaving your plants when you go away on an extended vacation. The system does it for you.
Hydroponic gardening is so easy that kids can do it. In fact, many kids do. Have you seen the science experiment where a potato is suspended in a jar of water with toothpicks? The roots grow into the water and shoots emerge above the water. That’s a hydroponic growing system!
4. Fresh produce
You’ll have access to fresh food year round—without pesticides. You’ll have better control over the quality of the food you’re feeding your family.
Plus, hydroponic gardening can reap greater quality and quantities of produce. Because they’re usually held in controlled environments, these systems can also be used year-round to consistently grow delicious food.
Some people even sell the produce at local farmers’ markets as a side business. You can make money off of your hydroponic garden as well!
How To Create A Hydroponics Garden
1. Pick your plants.
What do you want to grow? This will help you determine the hydroponics system and growing media you’ll want to use. The easiest plants for beginning hydroponic growers are leafy greens like kale and lettuce. Strawberries, basil, and other herbs are also common. Still, the sky is the limit—and you can always grow your garden as you grow your experience.
2. Choose a system.
You’ll want to find a hydroponics system that will work with your plants, space, and budget.
Ultimately, there are two basic categories of hydroponics: a solution culture, where the plant roots grow directly in a nutrient-filled solution, and an aggregate culture, where the plants grow in a nutrient medium. Within these categories, there are a variety of systems, from towers to trays to A-frames.
Consider the types of plants you’ll be growing first and foremost. For example:
- Basil: ebb and flow or drip system
- Beets and deep root plants: any aggregate system
- Cucumbers: waterfarm kits or BGH bucket
- Flowers: aeroponic system
- Lettuce: NFT system
- Other types of Lettuce: ebb and flow or drip system
- Squash: waterfarm kits or BGH bucket
- Tomatoes: ebb and flow or drip system
- Small vegetables: aeroponic system
- Strawberries: NFT system
Below are the basic supplies you’ll need to set up your hydroponics system:
- Growing chamber: This supports the plant’s roots and provides access to the nutrient solution. Bigger plants need bigger chambers to hold them. Be sure not to use a material that will interact with the nutrients, like metal.
- Reservoir: This holds the nutrient solution that will be delivered to the plants. Usually, the solution is pumped from the reservoir to the growing chamber.
- Pump: This will pump the nutrient solution up to the plants. Check out our variety of pumps here.
- Delivery system: This delivers the nutrients to the plant. Examples include a dripper, sprayer, or wick. You can usually pick this based on your budget and growing preferences.
- Timer: The timer ensures your plants aren’t overfed or underfed. It automates feeding and lighting, so you don’t have to handle it yourself. See our hydroponics specialty timers here.
- Thermometer and pH monitor: These watch your plants’ health so the system can adjust accordingly. You can find our thermometers here.
Choosing a system can be complicated and confusing. There are a number of hydroponic kits on the market to help you get started. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact us and we can help you choose the right system for your home.
3. Choose a medium.
Some systems—like the wick system—require only a nutrient-rich solution, but others require a growing medium. If you purchase a hydroponics kit, it will usually tell you which medium you’ll need.
Popular examples of growing media include:
- Clay pellets
- Mineral wool
Coconut fiber is another possibility, but it requires attention to ensure it doesn’t get soggy and start growing bacteria.
4. Provide light.
Light is crucial to plant growth and energy (photosynthesis). In some cases, light through a window can be enough for some plants. However, we recommend getting a separate indoor growing light to ensure that your plants always have adequate lighting.
You want a lamp that will mimic the sun as much as possible. We recommend a high-pressure sodium or metal halide lighting system. Check out the Agrosun 1000W lamp, which mimics the sun right in your home.
5. Choose the nutrients.
Nutrients are the most important part of the hydroponics system. This is what makes your plants grow and thrive. Always buy nutrients from a proven manufacturer.
You can choose your nutrients based on the plants you want to grow. Check out our nutrient bundles to help get you started.
The Bottom Line
Setting up an at-home hydroponics garden is simple and easy. You’ll end up with beautiful, healthy plants that will provide for your home year-round.
Check out our feed charts to learn more about choosing the right systems and nutrients for your plants.
HydroPros have everything you need to get started with your at-home hydroponics garden.
Consult with us now for free to start building a personalized starter kit for your home!