How to create your first hydroponics setup

You are interested in hydroponics - the growing of plants with no soil, just water. What should you start on first? Probably the easiest setup would be using the Kratky method. Essentially that is a tub of water and nutrient, with a netpot and seedling hanging in the water. As the plant grows, the water level goes down, and the bottom of the roots reach down into the water, but are also exposed to the air. The plant grows and the water and nutrient is used up, and then the plant is harvested.

I created something similar to grow lettuce, but I used a raft of polystyrene floating on a large tub of water filled almost to the top. I added an aquarium air bubbler to add oxygen to the water and added nutrients so the TDS meter showed about 450 to 550 PPM and pH was between 5.5 and 6.5 (Using normal tap water and reducing pH by adding white vinegar)

I had a great crop of lettuce which I have already eaten, and grew in partial sunlight quite well. I was growing slow bolter seeds (from Korea) and the lettuce was great in salads and sandwiches. I probably harvested them too early, as I am now growing more and they grow much bigger..;)

So the costings to do this?..

  • Large tub (not transparent) - 500 pesos
  • Polystyerene sheet 1 inch thick - 200 pesos
  • 8x4 feet board is about 300 Pesos
  • Nutrients - 200 pesos
  • Air stone bubbler - 750 Pesos
  • Seeds - 50 Pesos
  • Netpots - 2 Pesos each x 15
  • Rockwool media for seeds - 150 pesos

So for just over 2000 pesos you can grow 15 lettuce plants, which will take about 4 weeks before harvest time. You will be able to grow basil, mint and other herbs the same way. If you have no natural sunlight then adding 3 x T5 LED lights from Landmark (250 pesos each) and rig them up so they are about 6 to 10 inches away from the seedlings. For lettuce and greens this should be good enough.

mark vernon

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