Building a Floating Hydroponic Garden
M. Sweat, R. Tyson, R. Hochmuth
1. This document is HS943, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food andAgricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date June 2003. Revised November 2009. Visit the EDIS Web Site athttp://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.2. Michael Sweat, county extension director, Baker County, Richard Tyson, extension agent II, Seminole County, and Bob Hochmuth, extension agent IV,North Florida Research and Education Center – Suwannee Valley. Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information andother services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex,sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service,University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.
The Aztecs amazed the Spanish conquistadorswith their floating gardens, and now 500 years lateryou can impress your friends and neighbors withyours. A floating hydroponic garden is easy to buildand can provide a tremendous amount of nutritiousvegetables for home use, and best of all, hydroponicsystems avoid many pest problems commonlyassociated with the soil. This simple guide will showyou how to build your own floating hydroponicgarden using material locally available at a cost of about $50.00 (Figure 1).
Lettuce in floating garden system.
• Build a rectangular frame using 2-by-6-inch or2-by-8-inch treated lumber. The frame shouldbe 4 feet, 1-inch wide by 8 feet, 1-inch long.This size frame eliminates the need to trim thefloating styrofoam, however, the size can bevaried to suit personal needs.• Line the frame with a 6-mil polyethylene plasticsheet to form a trough to contain the nutrientsolution. Be sure the site is level and free of anydebris, which could puncture the plastic liner.• Secure one end and side of the liner to the topedge of the frame with 1-by-2 inch furring stripsor lattice using wood screws or small nails.• Place a 4-by-8-foot sheet of 1 1/2 inch thick styrofoam insulation in the lined frame. Makesure the edges have sufficient room to allow thegarden to move up and down. If necessary,adjust the frame to make it square with thestyrofoam. The styrofoam sheet will create afloating platform in the wooden frame you haveconstructed.