Learn to make your own homemade hydroponics system to grow virtually any plant, vegetable and fruit without soil.
It takes a lot more than 3 tips to get you going with building a hydroponics system, but for now, you'll have to settle with the ones in this article, which are also the most important. Following them doesn't guarantee success, but ignoring them guarantees failure.
When building a hydroponics system by yourself, fun as it might be, things can go wrong and you can end up with a dysfunctional environment that might not give you the results you dream of. There are a number of things that can mess up your plans, ranging from using the wrong materials to not calculating the dimensions right. I'll try to help you eliminate these mistakes by offering you a few tips on building a hydroponics system from scratch.
You can purchase some of the components from your local store (Home Depot, Walmart, etc) or order them online from a hydroponics store.
If you follow a hydroponics system building plan from a gardening book, or from a website, you'll have to make sure you follow the source's advice on what you need beforehand to the point. If the guide asks you to get PVC tubes, don't go for aluminum or some other material. Chances are that particular system you're building is better off with PVC than anything else. A lot of inexperienced hydroponic system builders will rush into the actual work, thinking "I don't have but I have some laying around the house so I'll use it instead". That's a common mistake that will probably get you into trouble, since a hydroponics gardening system is a fragile thing and everything step in building it needs to be followed with precision if you want to end up with a working one.
Again, when building a hydroponics system, you'll have to work with utmost precision when working with dimensions. The most common dimension-related mistake occurs when working with StyroFoam, as you can easily mess up the cuts and carvings that you'll require to perform, rendering your entire hydroponics system near useless. For example, if you cut the StyroFoam (or any other similar material you are using as a platform for the plants) to the exact size of the top of the reservoir, it will be very hard to manage water levels, not to mention the fact that you won't have any room for the air tube to go in the tank and oxygenate the water. You should also pay attention to the approximate dimensions of your plants when building a hydroponics system. If you cut the gaps for each plant too close to each other, by the time they grow your StyroFoam platform will get very crowded.
Just building a hydroponics system, throwing in the nutrients and placing the plants in the soup isn't enough if you want them to grow. Remember, plants don't just feed on nutrients, they also feed on light. So if you're going to grow them in a place that lacks intense sunlight, an artificial hydroponics light source is a must. If you're growing your plants inside your home, even placing them directly near a window might not get them the required amount of light. It's rather difficult finding the right hydroponics lights when you're a novice in the field, because you can easily spend a ton on money on a light that will prove to be an overkill, giving you more light than your plants will ever need. Take a look at this article on hydroponic lights if you've decided to go for some professional equipment.
Other environmental factors you'll need to take care of include the PH levels of your water, air humidity (not as important with all plants) and temperature. This last one is especially important, since a plant that is too cold or too hot will stop growing, or grow at a very slow pace. That's why you need to keep a perfect temperature balance in the room or greenhouse you're growing the plants in.
By the way, even if you follow the guides to building a hydroponics system to the point and take heed of the tips above, this doesn't guarantee your plants will grow perfectly. It takes a lot of tweaking, testing and reinventing the wheel to get your plants to grow exactly how you want them and in this case, time and experience are your best friends.