Learn to make your own homemade hydroponics system to grow virtually any plant, vegetable and fruit without soil.
If you've ever dreamt of building a hydroponics system from scratch, you should try and follow the steps below, if you want the process to go smooth and eliminate any unpleasant surprises.
When hydroponic systems first started to grow roots around the globe, they were rather complicated and it would take someone with extensive technical and gardening knowledge to operate one, let alone build one himself. However, as the industry flourished and with technological advances in the past 2 decades, we've reached a point where everyone can now build a hydroponics system from scratch, with a very small investment. You don't even need to be extremely technical to start building a hydroponics system, as long as you can connect a tube into a water pump and fix a tray over a reservoir, you're almost good to go. But let's take it step by step and see exactly what you need to do if you're going to build a hydroponics system from scratch.
To plan building a hydroponic system isn't all that difficult or complicated, but at the same time, it's an essential part of the process. First of all, you'll want to decide exactly what you're growing: this choice will heavily influence how you build your hydroponic system later on. Plants that love water in abundance will benefit from a water culture or an ebb and flow hydroponic system, whereas others will need a more sophisticated drip system. Once you've set a clear goal towards what you're going to grow in your hydroponic system, do some research on the type of system that particular plant prefers. Once you know what you're building, you can look for actual plans for hydroponic grow systems on the Internet. Some of these might require a fee to get hold of, but there are also websites that offer free hydroponics plans.
You can purchase some of the components from your local store (Home Depot, Walmart, etc) or order them online from reputable dealers.
Most websites that offer guides on how to build a hydroponics system from scratch will also have a list of components next to each system type. You can find several articles on how to build hydroponic systems on this site and each one will have a list of required components to help you out. So once you know what you need, it's time to go shopping. This is where it gets tricky. Component shopping might be fun, but it's also a risky process. You will have a clear list of components with you, but in the store, it's often hard to find the exact type of component you've seen on the site, or you might be tempted to replace one component on the list with what you think would be something better for your hydroponics system.
Remember though, in many cases those components in the list weren't picked because the writer of the guide fancied them: they were there because they're probably best for the job they're going to do. If the component list tells you to get a fish tank and spray black paint all over its sides, will it really matter if I spray it with yellow? Yes, because black paint stops all light from going inside the fish tank (your future hydroponics system reservoir), thus cutting down the risk of forming algae, whereas yellow or any other light colors do little to stop them. See how a small "I thought this would be better" decision can change the way your hydroponic system will function?
Once you've got your hands on the right components, it's time to get down and dirty and start building a hydroponics system to last you…well at least a few winters. Stuff to look after in this phase: right dimensions, right angles and right balance. Start by placing the big things, such as a nutrient container, somewhere safe, where it can't go off balance. Then attach any trays if your hydroponic system requires them, but make sure to use support fixtures if the tray's don't have some safe and balanced way to be sustained to the container.
It's often the small details that ruin a seemingly perfect hydroponics system. You might easily miss some of these details while building the hydroponics system itself, so it's quite a wise decision to do a full check-out once the building phase is over with. Check for fixtures that are low on balance, loose pipes or air tubes, dysfunctional pumps and off-limit drain systems. If you're using a suspended system for your plants, make sure they're well tucked in it.
A hydroponic system can only offer so much to a plant and it can handle nutrient feeding and oxygenation, but a plant needs much more than that. A plant needs a good temperature balance, intense sunlight (for as long as possible, although some scientists suggest that a plant can only benefit from light for around 18 hours per day) and humidity. For all those, you'll need to get extra components, such as hydroponic lights, humidifiers, heating and cooling systems and so forth. Obviously, these aren't part of the hydroponic system per se, but they're definitely a much needed addition to it.