Guide to Hydroponic Gardening

Alternative-Innovation.com

Table of Content: Introduction To Hydroponics Getting Started Hydroponic Gardening Common Hydroponic Systems Growing Hydroponic Mediums Nutrient Choosing a Nutrient Solution Nutrient & pH Microbiology Nutrient Recipe Horticulture Lighting Plants & Carbon Dioxide Starting Seeds & Cloning Problems in the Garden

System Plans: Ebb & Flow Water Farm Lettuce Raft Bubble System Aeroponic Easy Cloner

Other Plans: CO2 Generator Nutrient Level Indicator Air Lift Pump

Guide to Hydroponic Gardening

Introduction To Hydroponic Gardening Hydroponic cultivation is the method of gardening without the use of soil. In place of soil an inert medium is used or the roots of a plant are suspended in air. Plants get their required nutrition and moisture in the form of highly specialized mineral formula which is delivered through several different methods. These methods have been developed to create an oxygen rich environment for the plants root system, which is necessary for maximum nutrient absorption. Hydroponic gardening is not a new concept, dating back thousands of years, only recently have developments been made allowing easy access to the home cultivator. Highly specialized nutrient formulas are manufactured and readily available. Pre- built systems can be purchased from specialty shops and on line and although they are costly due to demand, prices should drop due to increased interest and growing popularity. A homemade system can be built easily from parts found at almost any hardware or department store

.

Hydroponic cultivation offers precise control over all conditions needed for plants to develop beyond what is possible in nature. This method of gardening delivers water and nutrient directly to the plant's root system. Because the plant does not need to develop a large root system searching out nutrient and water, the time and energy generally spent on such pursuits can then be put into vegetative and flowering growth. Also, plants can be grown much closer together since the root system does not need to grow as large as they normally would. The pH can easily be monitored and altered to meet the exact specifications desirable for any plant. As you may know, this can play a vital role in the overall development and health of any plant. Although it can be very difficult to measure the pH of soil,it can be done in a matter of minutes with a nutrient solution and quickly adjusted if needed. Nutrients can be easily mixed to create the exact amount of minerals needed for any plant and for any stage of it's growth. This will ensure that plants receive just the right amount of food at all stages of development. Combining hydroponics with indoor or greenhouse gardening, all aspects of the environment can be created and controlled to mimic any plant's natural environment, going beyond what is possible in nature. Without violent wind, rain and animals or insects plants cannot be easily damaged. Settings can be altered to duplicate seasonal conditions through lighting and temperature, and in a controlled environment such as this plants can easily reach their full genetic potential.

Getting Started Hydroponic Gardening: There are hundreds of possibilities when it comes to building or buying a hydroponic system. Choosing to buy your system means you will have the advantage of engineered, proven and reliable design. Important factors will quickly narrow down your options, such as how much room you have available, your budget and of course how much time you have to devote to building and operating your system. Automation is obviously an important factor. Lighting needs to turn on and off at certain intervals in order to simulate nature. Timers need to turn off pumps and fans at certain intervals and of course to conserve electricity. In some more advanced systems, humidity, temperature and CO2 are monitored and automatically adjusted. Humans aren't perfect and we do forget, but timers are inexpensive and they do not forget. You can't be expected to be available at all times to tend to these things nor would you want to try. Appliance Timers play an important role in hydroponic gardening. Lighting, pumps and fans can all be controlled making your garden almost completely automated. Digital timers, although more expensive can be programed with many more cycles and in 1 minute increments.

How much space you have available is important. Although hydroponic gardening does offer the advantage of requiring less space than an average garden, plants still need room to grow. What type of plants you plan on growing is an important factor. Herbs, for example, require very little space while tomato crops require a lot of room although they can be reasonably trimmed and reduced in size. If you plan on expanding your garden later, certain design elements can be built into your system for future growth. In the end your budget will determine what type and size of garden you will produce. If time is worth more than money to you then you will probably be considering buying your system and everything you need. If, on the other hand, you are a do-it-yourself type of person who enjoys spending your spare time building something useful with your own hands then building your system is right for you. This is also an inexpensive introduction for anyone interested in getting started in hydroponic gardening. Lighting is expensive and unless you have access to a good source of sun light such as a green house or sun room you will definitely want to invest in a High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting system. Normal vertical windows don't work for indoor gardening. Although they do offer enough needed light for low light plants and for most house plants to just get by, an indoor garden without proper lighting will most likely not succeed or produce the amazing results capable of a hydroponic garden coupled with a good HID lighting system. Materials for a homemade system are, for the most part, pretty affordable. Most DIY systems consist of parts available at most hardware stores and home centers. You could actually build a basic system with material you probably already have around your house. Pumps are usually the biggest investment in most DIY systems. Although recently fountain water pumps prices have fallen and a good long lasting pump capable of producing the pressure needed for large systems are now available for $20 or $30. Hydroponic systems can be either active or passive. An active system uses a mechanical pump to deliver nutrient to the plant's roots, and a passive system uses capillary action, absorption and gravity to deliver nutrient. A passive system, although not as effective, offers low operating costs and dependability because they do not need mechanical pumps or electrical devices, such as timers, that commonly fail or wear out. The basic wick system is an example of a passive system. Although unpopular, it is a very simple and inexpensive way for beginners to gain skill. Most will choose a more advanced, active system. Because I am providing instruction on producing your own working system, as the author, I do need to inform you of the inherent dangers in building a homemade system. An improperly built homemade system can be hazardous. Mixing electrolytes and electricity can be deadly causing fire and electrocution. Using unsafe parts such as non-food grade plastics and metal can leach harmful chemicals unfit for ingestion and, in some cases, inhalation. If improperly sealed a homemade system can leak several gallons of water causing damage to your home. These dangers are completely avoidable and rare. Just be cautious and don't do anything that you do not know how to do such as rewiring a water pump or installing an outdoor electrical outlet without a proper GFI switch. There are many different types of hydroponic systems and new techniques are developed all the time. The most commonly used today for the home gardener are Wick, WaterFarms, Ebb & Flow, Dutch Bucket, and drip systems, Nutrient Flow Technique(NFT), Raft systems, Ein Gedi System (EGS), Aeroponics and recently micro sonic pulse emitters are gaining popularity.

Another possible problem is overflow. say an inch or so at all times. Since the plant's roots must receive constant moisture. you can never produce the air diffusion an air stone is capable of producing. This system always supplies a lot of oxygen and nutrient solution to the roots. These are commonly found in use in newer humidifiers. if one or both were to fail. basic and fail safe irrigation type system which incorporates a recycling system for minimizing nutrient waste. This is a problem that can only be solved by always maintaining a clear overflow system. Fogger systems are pretty new and gaining a lot of popularity. failing only if the pump or plumbing system fails. where it is then drained back to the reservoir. is simply a system that uses a cotton rope as a wick with one end submerged in a reservoir of nutrient solution. and are easy to build and operate. and more than likely be completely destroyed within a day. low cost system. and the roots have access to nutrient through the wick. old air is forced out of the growing medium. This is a very. If a small level of nutrient solution is allowed to remain in the bottom of the growing bed. . The Dutch Bucket System is. The constant aeration provided by the air pump and through the constant movement insures more than adequate oxygen is supplied. where the plant sites are situated above the channel and the roots are suspended within. The Raft System is. This system is only suitable for short stature plants such as lettuce. One problem with this system is that spray heads can become clogged by mineral buildup and cause pump failure. high performance. then an overflow system keeps the bed from overflowing. The roots are suspended and fed nutrient and moisture through the fog. This system offers the highest amount of oxygen to the root system. a constant shallow flow along the bottom of the channel. These usually consist of a bucket as the main reservoir with a smaller pot suspended above used as the plant site. kind of like gutters on your house. this may very well be the best available system as far as root development goes. of course. and is pretty reliable. The major drawback of this type of system is the possibility of timer or pump failure. but well worth the effort if you want a nice looking. The only way to fix this problem is constant cleaning and changing of the stone. Once the system timer shuts down the pump. a Styrofoam flat with several plant sites that floats on top of the nutrient solution. In Aeroponics the roots are suspended and are constantly sprayed with a fine mist of nutrient solution which then drained or drops back into the reservoir. result in overflowing of all the nutrient solution above what the bed can hold. They look cool and are a little bit more difficult and expensive to build. This system works so well because as the nutrient solution fills the bed. A common aquarium air pump is used to air lift the nutrient solution to the top of the system where it is distributed evenly through a circular tubing with many holes. basically. If the system were to become clogged with debris or roots this would. basically. Another drawback is noise. The nutrient is pumped to the channel where gravity is used to send the solution through the channel. This type of system is easy to build and operate. This type of system can produce incredibly healthy roots. Roots receive oxygen that is pumped into the nutrient solution with an aquarium pump and aeration stone. commonly a 4” or larger PVC pipe. Nutrient Film Technique(NFT) consists of a large enclosed channel. the most basic. the entire nutrient solution drains back into the reservoir. The nutrients then fall over the roots and back into the reservoir. The Ein Gedi consists of an enclosed chamber in which the plant basket sits in a shallow pool of nutrient solution. although one air pump can run several systems. The Ein Gedi System is one of the most popular systems in use today by home gardeners. Ebb and Flo or Flood and Drain systems consist of a reservoir and another shallower type of reservoir called a growing bed. This also has the added effect of increasing aeration by allowing the nutrient to fall back into the reservoir. This systems is so popular that even the homemade type systems are being sold in shops and online.Common Hydroponic Systems Wick systems. The drawback of this system is that there is often only room for one plant. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing bed until it fills to the desired level. your garden would suffer within a few hours. The solution is fed through drip emitters from the top. These things are loud! Not good for a lot of reasons. easy to use system. The baskets are heavily misted individually and the nutrient collects at the bottom until it reaches the overflow level and is drained back into the reservoir. this could easily prevent the problem. Especially for those who enjoy privacy and need to avoid unwanted attention. In this type of system a fog of nutrient solution is created by transducers. The main problem with this system. as with many others. Not only is it a cool new technique. It is really reliable and the only problem is that the aeration stone will usually clog quickly and reduce aeration. a pot or bucket fitted with a drain that allows a shallow pool of nutrient solution to stay in the bottom. Some have suggested using a piece of air tubing with lots of small holes but I have found that no matter how small the holes and no matter the number of holes. and receive nutrient from. Aeroponic systems are an excellent and affordable option. WaterFarms are a popular. and when the bed is drained this action draws fresh oxygen back into the medium. is that as the roots grow they can slow nutrient distribution. Any kind of growing media can be used in this system.

. The main advantages are that it is reusable and can be completely sterilized. It is reusable and easily sanitized. Sand and gravel do not make good growing media although course gravel can be used as long as the system constantly circulates nutrient. Steam is the safest method for sanitation. Soaking the media in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of cool water for 30 minutes can also effectively sanitize your media. Pea Gravel: Can be used but is not recommended. Sanitizing media can be difficult but it is necessary because using unsanitary media can introduce fungus and bacteria to your system that can easily propagate. All media needs to be rinsed and sanitized before use. Rinsing new media before use is necessary to remove any small particles. introducing harmful chemicals which will then be absorbed into the plant and eventually into your body if consumed. It is heavy and non porous. Rockwool can be used for starting seeds and rooting cuttings which are easily transplanted. LECA: An acronym for Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate. Make sure to flush well with hot water. Rockwool: Commonly used and the most widely available hydroponic medium. and new ones are always being introduced. An important thing to remember when choosing your medium is to use proven ones. reducing flow and decreasing the life of your pump. Some loose mediums can clog pumps and spray heads. Using an untested or unreliable medium can change your nutrient pH. There are many of options when choosing a growing medium. LECA is pH neutral and will not alter your nutrient solution in any way. A good hydroponic medium should hold an equal ratio of water and oxygen.Hydroponic Growing Medium The growing medium for hydroponic cultivation should be inert and should not affect the chemical composition of the nutrient solution. It is only suitable for systems that constantly circulate nutrient like the waterfarm. Always rinse new LECA before use to remove any dust particles. A dust mask should always be used when handling rockwool. Coconut fiber is a renewable resource which would otherwise go to waste as a food byproduct. Using a pressure cooker is a good option for the home gardener and will completely sterilize the media. It holds the perfect amount of water and air. LECA is made with expanded clay which is porous and and holds the perfect amount of water and air. Some common and readily available hydroponic mediums include: Coconut Fiber LECA Pea Gravel Rockwool Coconut Fiber: A new concept gaining popularity. It contains natural hormones needed for germination and cutrooting and is naturally resistant to fungus and biodegradable. killing all fungus and bacteria. Heating the medium in your oven is another way to pasteurize your media.

Potassium regulates the opening and closing of the stoma by a potassium ion pump. Without Nickel. and is essential in the manufacturing of chloroplasts. Magnesium is an important part of chlorophyll. Copper is important for photosynthesis. Macro Nutrients are the most commonly known nutrient. Manganese deficiency may result in coloration abnormalities. Potassium deficiency may cause necrosis or interveinal chlorosis. commonly known as "little leaf" and is caused by the oxidative degradation of the growth hormone auxin. Sulfur is a structural component of some amino acids and vitamins. leading to the formation of necrotic lesions. Boron is important in sugar transport. . an enzyme involved with nitrogen metabolism that is required to process urea. phosphorus is important for plant growth and flower/seed formation. Nitrogen deficiency most often results in stunted growth. Calcium deficiency results in stunting. but is essential in others. Since stomata are important in water regulation. You may already be familiar with the N-P-K rating printed on most fertilizer packaging. Nickel activates several enzymes involved in a variety of processes. cell division. toxic levels of urea accumulate. Cobalt has proven to be beneficial to at least some plants. in higher plants. Boron deficiency causes necrosis in young leaves and stunting. Manganese is necessary for building the chloroplasts. Iron is necessary for photosynthesis and is present as an enzyme cofactor in plants. Nitrogen is an essential component of all proteins. Nickel. such as discolored spots on the foliage. As a component of ATP. and depletion or exclusion of any one would result in death of the plant. In lower plants. Micro Nutrients are minerals absorbed in small to minute amounts. Magnesium deficiency can result in interveinal chlorosis. and can substitute for Zinc and Iron as a cofactor in some enzymes. Phosphorus is important in plant bioenergetics. Phosphorus can also be used to modify the activity of various enzymes by phosphorylation. There are many other biological roles for magnesium-see Magnesium in biological systems for more information. phosphorus is needed for the conversion of light energy to chemical energy (ATP) during photosynthesis. Iron deficiency can result in interveinal chlorosis and necrosis. Zinc is required in a large number of enzymes and plays an essential role in DNA transcription. is essential for activation of urease. and can be used for cell signaling. and synthesizing certain enzymes. Symptoms of copper deficiency include chlorosis. Since ATP can be used for the biosynthesis of many plant biomolecules. potassium reduces water loss from the leaves and increases drought tolerance. Molybdenum is a cofactor to enzymes important in building amino acids. A typical symptom of zinc deficiency is the stunted growth of leaves. These nutrients or salts are all vital to all plant life. It is important in the production of ATP through its role as an enzyme cofactor. such as legumes where it is required for nitrogen fixation.Nutrient The main reason hydroponic gardening is so successful in outperforming all other cultivation methods is due in part to the fact that all of the needed nutrients for plants to thrive are always present in the correct amount. Calcium regulates transport of other nutrients into the plant and is also involved in the activation of certain plant enzymes. a critical plant pigment important in photosynthesis.

Also. Most systems must be mixed in a special order and should never be mixed together without first diluting. I highly recommend the General Hydroponics three part system Flora series for a high quality tested and proven formula. including FloraNova and they also produce bulk dry nutrient mixes. Three part systems offer the advantage of being able to custom blend your solution for various crops and growth stages. Mixing a three part system is pretty easy and directions should be provided. General Hydroponics has been around for a long time and are the most commonly used worldwide. your main concern for now is selecting a quality. General Hydroponics has recently added more variety to their selection. I have met a few that have no idea what they are talking about. Measuring nutrient concentration is done by testing electrical conductivity of a solution in parts per million (ppm) or total dissolved solids (TDS). Most municipal tap water can read anywhere from 120-400 TDS.Choosing a Hydroponic Nutrient Ready made concentrated Hydroponic formula is available at specialty stores. Phosphorus and Potassium. Always shake well before using. and buy what you came for. This can cause nutrient lockout. Anything above 500 is considered unfit for consumption. Your best bet is to find what you need beforehand and ask for it. on line retailers and recently most nurseries are stocking a wide selection. representing the percentages of Nitrogen. Ignore everything else. you may never want to use it again though. While most employees at any given shop are knowledgeable. helpful and looking out for your best interest. There are so many different solutions currently being produced that walking into a shop can be a bit intimidating. making some minerals unavailable. well known formula for your application before going to purchase from a retail store. Research what you will need as much as possible and choose the most suitable. Just for fun you should measure yours. While it is true that there are a lot of different types & brands. The best choice and investment for beginners is to start with a three part system. proven and reliable formula. look for a guaranteed analysis. . Have you noticed the repeating keyword yet? “High quality” it does make a big difference. Always use a nutrient solution that is made for hydroponics. Pure distilled water contains no conductive mineral salts (electrolytes). Standard fertilizers like Miracle Grow are not manufactured with the necessary minerals because they are made for use with soil. The labeling on the package will include the standard N-P-K rating. high quality. or are trying to either push an inferior product or sell you “the best” which is usually the most expensive. Pretty much all municipal tap water is unfit for any use other than washing in my opinion. but that's another story for another day. which already contains most micro nutrient.

Different stages of plant development and size. as well as environmental factors. Citric acid can be used as a natural alternative to raise acidity. A buffering agent is just an additive which increases your solution's ability to hold a steady pH balance. should be done in small increments with testing done in between. Proper temperature of nutrient solution is important for a number of reasons. In order for maximum absorption of minerals the pH must be maintained at optimal levels which vary by plant species. It must first be calibrated using a known PPM solution and can easily and conveniently measure your nutrient solution by simply submerging the probe into your solution.5 and 7. Adding more nutrient solution is not recommended and can lead to toxic levels of minerals. vital components. but beneficial bacteria as well. I've always been lucky by living in an area with constant supply of neutral tap water with pretty good buffering capacity. Altering pH. pH can easily be measured with litmus paper and many other methods. Always follow the directions on the label. Nutrient & pH pH is a method of determining whether a solution is acidic or basic/alkaline. seedlings and cuttings only require a small amount of nutrient solution. Cooler water can retain much more oxygen than warm water. Phosphoric acid is the main ingredient in most pH lowing solutions and is safer and easier to use. The entire nutrient solution should be changed every two weeks at minimum. In time your plants use the nutrients and deplete necessary. and small amounts can be added at intervals and tested until the desired level is obtained. but there are some pretty nasty ones that can easily propagate and out compete. but this is a very dangerous method.G. Sodium bicarbonate can also slightly lower pH. The pH of your nutrient solution is very important.A digital PPM meter is commonly available and easy to use. 1 being acidic 14 being alkaline. pH level is measured between 1-14. Muriatic acid is often used to lower pH. I have had to alter minimally. Using a larger reservoir can also help keep a stable pH. and in some cases add a buffering agent when a pH level was unattainable or a little stubborn. not only your plants for food. while vigorous vegetative growth requires the most nutrient of all stages. though they are a bit pricey. Bacteria and fungus are necessary for a balanced system. and we have already discussed how important oxygen is for root development. Pure water is 7 or neutral.5 or around neutral. either up or down. and commercially available chemicals are pretty cheap and easy to use. Electric pH meters are available. An optimal temperature to aim for is between 68-75º F. determine the amount of nutrient solution required for optimal growth. Usually a level between 5. They do make testing incredibly easy All you really need to know about pH is that it plays a vital role in your plant's ability to intake minerals. E. Raising pH is always easier than lowering it. I will not go into a lengthy discussion on pH as plenty of data is readily available. . Lowering the pH can be a little difficult and takes a bit of time. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is all you need. Poorly oxygenated and exceedingly warm temperature do not mix well in a nutrient rich environment which is already a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of bad things. Maintaining a given pH balance is relatively easy.

mishandled or used improperly these chemicals are very dangerous. reliable source of the fresh salts needed. Use only reagent grade chemicals. but I don't want to get involved in any lawsuit. chemical resistant gloves. by nature. In any given natural body of water a very complex ecosystem of bacteria and fungi play a vital role in the overall success and health of the complete system. Some of the chemicals require special permission to obtain. Reagent or chemical grade potassium phosphate and magnesium sulfate are recommended. a bad combination of everything needed for bacteria and fungus to proliferate. A very simple example of an unbalanced system would be any stagnant. An electric current or TDS/PPM meter to insure proper levels in stock solution. In an unbalanced system pH is never at a constant or desirable level due to waste byproducts of anaerobic bacteria that. will be covered with all sorts of bacteria. over time.Microbiology Although it is a rather lengthy subject. Adding an extra supply of oxygen to any hydroponic system nutrient solution is never a bad idea except for the extra electricity use and possible added noise. You'll need: Dry and liquid measuring containers. . oxygen is plentiful. This can be anything from a layer of small rocks at the bottom to a net bag of perlite. The salts should be dissolved in warm water separately and then added to the solution tank. A mixing device. It is not an easy process. They can cause chemical burns. considered "bad bacteria". by nature. If used properly they aren't really that dangerous. which are usually available in hobby shops. keeping them in check. you have to consider having no bacteria as an impossibility. An added bonus being that you will always have a supply of beneficial bacteria that can be used as a “starter culture” to be added to new systems which will greatly reduce the time it will take for a new system to naturally develop its own system of beneficial bacteria. and nutrients are available in the right amount. over heated and under-oxygenated body of water. Another consideration is to add an extra growing media to your system. balanced system aerobic bacteria out-compete anaerobic bacteria. Stock solutions of diluted micronutrients should be made up and added to the solution tank. I should mention a bit about water microbiology. including but not limited to: goggles. Make no mistake. so use at your own risk. In your hydroponic system. A completely sterile environment would be perfect. Because amounts of trace elements used is so small. A small aquarium air pump and aeration stone can easily be incorporated into almost any reservoir. measuring and mixing these tiny amounts is difficult without proper laboratory measuring and distribution equipment. fireworks and rocket propellant. temperature is kept at a reasonable level never exceeding levels required to support life. and some of the salts needed are as common as Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate). qualifying them as hazardous material. Most of the chemicals are various forms of salt peter. and most of are highly flammable. you can definitely make your own nutrient formula and save a lot of cash in doing so. a spoon or electric mixer will do. In a healthy system all of the components are balanced. While all surfaces of your system. and a proper respirator. having extra space for them is never a bad thing. In a healthy. are abundant and because anaerobic bacteria require little or no oxygen they have no competition from aerobic bacteria (good bacteria) which require lots of oxygen. Fertilizer grade potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate may be used and are less expensive than the chemically pure forms. which is. This can be confusing to anyone who has never studied the subject. such as a stir plate would be ideal although not necessary. but if you can find an affordable. Always wear proper personal protective equipment when handling these chemicals. In an unbalanced system anaerobic bacteria. but in reality this simply will never happen. Homemade Nutrient Can you make your own nutrient solution from scratch? Of course. cause very unstable pH levels. Mixing your own nutrient solution requires a basic understanding of chemistry and the knowledge that some necessary chemicals contain active components of low explosives such as those in dynamite. are dangerous to inhale and if ingested can cause blindness and/ or death.

5H2O) 1 teaspoons Iron sulfate (FeSO4 . For other chelate products calculate the amount required to result in a final nutrient solution containing 1 part per million of elemental iron. Use ¼ pint of this solution for 25 gallons of stock solution.Macro Nutrients: Amount for 25 gallons of solution Potassium phosphate . 4H2O) ½ pint Zinc sulfate (ZnSO4 . 7H2O) 2 teaspoons Copper sulfate (CuSO4 . 5H2O) ½ teaspoon Iron sulfate (FeSO4 . The small amounts of zinc and sulfur needed are usually present in the water or as an impurity in the other fertilizer nutrients.mono basic (KH2PO4) ½ ounce or 1 teaspoon Potassium nitrate (KNO3) 2 ounces or 4 teaspoons of powdered salt Calcium nitrate (CaNO3) 3 ounces or 7 teaspoons Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) 1 ½ ounces or 4 teaspoons Mix the following chemicals with one gallon of water in a clean container: Chemical Stock Solution 1 US Gal Boric Acid (H3BO3) 2 teaspoons Manganese chloride (MnCl2 . zinc sulfate and copper sulfate may not be required. 7H2O) ½ pint If tap water is used. Mix 1 ½ ounces of NaFe EDTA (13 percent Fe203) in 5 quarts of water. . 7H2O) 4 teaspoons Add the following amount of Stock Solution to 25 US Gal of Nutrient solution: Chemical 25 US Gal Nutrient Solution Boric Acid (H3BO3) ½ pint Manganese chloride (MnCl2 . 4H2O) 1 teaspoons Zinc sulfate (ZnSO4 . 7H2O) ½ teaspoon Copper sulfate (CuSO4 . An iron chelate should be substituted for the iron sulfate if your tap water is alkaline.

Other sources for affordable lighting are non-profit donation based home building centers. a lot of outdoor commercial lighting and street lighting is HID lighting. High Pressure Sodium emits mostly red light required for flowering. For electricity consumed. Most units come with built in ventilation in which a fan can be used with 4” LAMA Flexible tubing. light intensity. the further your light should be from your plants unless using a light mover which limits exposure allowing your plants to cool. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting is the most efficient form of horticulture lighting. aluminum foil is a cheap alternative and would be well worth the effort. I've also seen outdoor HID lighting systems at auctions. A simple inexpensive timer can be used to automate your lighting system. Aluminum foil can be used although it is actually less reflective than flat white paint. Heat from your lights can damage your crop so keeping them at a safe distance is important. High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide are the two main types of HID lighting. plants should be exposed to 12-14 hours of light a day. vegetative and flowering/fruiting. For force flowering. Light intensity is usually measured in watt per square foot. It is now possible to so closely duplicate the natural light energy required by plants that an entire crop can be produced without ever actually seeing natural sunlight. . 20-50 watts per square foot is optimal. Metal Halide emits primarily blue light spectrum necessary for vegetative growth. If the surface is unpaintable for some reason and/ or of a dark color. Although incredibly efficient. I have been experimenting with outdoor HID lighting units. Your growing area should be finished with a semi-flat white paint or highly reflective mylar sheeting. spectrum and duration. they do not produce enough photosynthetically active radiation to achieve the desired results. 16-24” for a 400 watt bulb and 2' minimum for a 1000 watt system. Complete darkness is required for flowers and fruits to form correctly. as a lower cost supply for HID lighting. and if you plan on growing flowering. like Habitat for Humanity. A light meter can be a valuable tool for insuring an evenly and properly lit area. I did find a 50 watt HPS unit for $20 on sale which I now use for additional red light. Lighting duration should be 16-18 hours per day. The optimum distance from your light source to your plant should be: 12-14” for a 250 watt bulb. This can be maintained by simply timing your lights to shut down at night and power up during the day.Horticulture Lighting Many cultivators wish to grow their plants indoors in the privacy of their own home. It is a valuable low cost investment that will be necessary for creating proper light cycles. Many advances have been made in horticulture lighting recently making indoor gardening possible year round. Anything more than 18 hours is pointless. budding or fruiting plants you can either purchase both a HPS and MH system to use in combination or a Son Agro or Hortilux brand HPS bulb which emits 30% more blue light than a standard HPS bulb. commonly used for venting clothes drying machines. If you are only growing leafy vegetation a Metal Halide system would be required. Have you ever wondered how garden centers and flower shops always have out of season blooms and beautiful orchids in midwinter? Most flowering plants have three main stages: seedling. HID lighting emits the most amount of needed photosynthetically active radiation per watts used. I've found HPS bulbs and outdoor lighting units at flea markets as well. All lighting units need to be vented to keep your growing area at the proper temperature. Compact florescent lighting is kind of a touchy subject when it comes to indoor horticulture lighting. The last stage is initiated by changes in the season including temperature. Growing plants indoors can be difficult due to limited access to enough sunlight. purchased from Home Depot. The higher the power. and in case you wanted to know. Advanced cultivators can actually mimic natural sunlight and seasons using artificial lighting. Lights should be suspended above your plants on an adjustable stand. Although most of the units they sell are actually more expensive.

In that case it is more than likely there will no longer be human life available to study and document any further development. such as plants. . All life on earth depends on plants and algae. If your garden is in a small area such as a closet or grow box nothing larger than a small computer fan is needed. If this plant were put back into agricultural use it could possibly counter all man made CO2 and end all forest destruction. The reason some shops do this is to be able to offer CO2 without the heavy cost of having a distributing system and the inherent danger that comes with the distribution of compressed gas. When the tank is empty you simply exchange it for a full tank once again paying for only the gas. In small enclosed spaces things happen quickly. Without a fresh supply of air they will quickly use up all available CO2 and become stressed. not only for food and shelter. leaving a deposit for the tank and paying a surcharge for the CO2 gas. plants “breathe” CO2 and produce oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. Most shops have an exchange system where you borrow the expensive tank full of gas. introducing CO2 through other methods can almost double plant production. and will probably never be known unless the day comes when plant life can no longer be supported on earth. This can increase growth production up to 40% if done properly. A small electric fan can be used to evenly distribute CO2 throughout your enclosed garden. This is especially true when living matter. Introducing CO2 to your indoor garden or greenhouse is pretty simple and well worth the effort. some plants. In most gardens a CO2 level of 1000-1600 PPM is ideal. If your growing area is 10'x10'x10' you would have 1. While simply having an exhaust system built into your garden will provide enough CO2 for plants to survive. but in an enclosed system you are left to control and monitor everything.000 cubic feet. This can easily be accomplished with a fan timed to switch on every hour for as long as it would take to exchange all of the air. although purchasing large amounts can draw unwanted attention. a plant that is now unreasonably illegal is a CO2 consuming machine. This plant is so efficient. This will consist of a CO2 tank and a regulator. It is an important fact. Things get a little more complicated in enclosed systems. All plants require CO2. you must calculate the cubic area of your garden by measuring the area and multiplying the length. but most importantly for oxygen. your plants should be considered the same. provided it is capable of moving the proper cubic feet of air per minute. Put simply. Plants are in fact the givers of life. Plants make it possible for life to exist on earth. Keep in mind that in order for fresh air to come in old air must be released through an exhaust port on the opposite side of your garden. and there are several ways to do it. You would not be comfortable in an enclosed space without a supply of fresh air. you and all life on earth only exist because plants and algae exist. One popular method is purchasing compressed CO2 in a tank. similar to a thermostat that monitors and adjusts the temperature in your home. one popular ancient plant. If you choose to use a compressed CO2 system to supply CO2 to your garden. Whether life on earth may have adapted and evolved in a completely different direction without plants is unknown. More advanced systems use a device that monitors CO2 levels and adjusts them by either opening or closing the flow of gas. Your greenhouse or indoor garden should be completely replenished with fresh air every hour. The least expensive regulator simply releases a small flow of gas constantly. you will also need a way of distributing the CO2 throughout your garden. In order to completely cycle the air in a small amount of time you would need a fan capable of moving 100 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) set to power on for 10 minutes every hour. To determine what size fan is needed to accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time. are incorporated.Plants & Carbon Dioxide Everyone is aware of the important role plants and algae play in our ecosystem. This can be accomplished with the use of an electric timer. a few acres of it can replace an entire forest of trees. More expensive systems incorporate a solenoid that automatically opens and closes the gas supply. but we've chosen synthetic over natural and forest products over the possible alternative of using this “vile weed”. In nature everything is pretty well balanced. width and height in feet.

Alcohol fermentation is pretty complex. Just pour out the liquid leaving behind the yeast cake on the bottom. although not very efficient. So. and mix in more sugar and warm water. An often overlooked source of CO2 is humans. Building a yeast CO2 generator is pretty easy. and a good method is to simply mix half a gallon of warm water with a packet of bread yeast and a pound of sugar in a one gallon milk jug. Fermentation does produce allot of foam that can easily travel through the tubing. Although on a large scale this method would be way to expensive. CO2 and alcohol are among the many waste products produced.Another way of introducing CO2 to your garden is the use of a homemade yeast CO2 generator. if you haven't considered putting your CO2 waste to good use then perhaps you should. it's use in a small enclosed area like a closet or grow box should not be overlooked. Although we can't live in our greenhouse or garden. but all you need to know is that as yeast consume sugars. just by working or sitting for an hour or so will introduce a lot of valuable CO2. . and if you are worried about this an overflow reservoir can easily be added. The yeast can actually be reused a few times. you produce CO2 every time you breath. Have you heard the old wifes' tale that talking to your plants is beneficial? It's true! Every time you talk you release CO2. This will generate CO2 for about a week. A lot of people are now using alcohol fermentation to their advantage. Drill a hole in the lid and connect a length of aquarium tubing that can be placed behind a fan that will distribute the CO2 throughout your garden.

a method I use is to plant the seed at a depth of 2 times the size of the seed. I. Seedlings need a lot of moisture and a warm environment. Continue feeding plants with a ¼ strength nutrient solution after sprouting. I build a type of mini aeroponic system out of a small tub. coconut coir and perfect starts are all good medium choices for starting seeds. such as a Tupperware container. Use a quarter strength mixture of nutrient solution with a 6. you will want to remove any seedlings that are showing signs of weakness. I cut small rockwool cubes from a slab to form a 2x2 square.80ºF. but has been very successful in producing plants that can very easily be introduced into a hydroponic system. Experts say that seeds do not need light to sprout due to the fact that they are using their own food at this point. You want the media to be as clean as possible because the environment needed for seed development is also a perfect environment for bacteria and fungus. If unsure. As always. to cover your seeds. Rockwool cubes.0 pH to moisten the starter media. This is squeezed into a square hole which I've cut into the lid. if the seed is about ¼” in size I would plant the seed about a ½” deep. This should be in the directions of the printed package.Starting Seeds & Cloning Starting seeds for later use in a hydroponic system is a little different than starting seeds for a soil garden.E. Seeds should be planted at the same depth as they would be in soil. This can be accomplished by using a clear plastic dome. You may need to use an electric heating pad or other method to keep the seeds at a consistent temperature of about 72º. You will want to use soft lighting until most seeds sprout and eventually increase the light to normal levels. I can keep the seedlings in the starter system until they reach roughly a foot tall and are ready to transplant into any hydroponic system. I build a small air lift pump from a length of ½” tubing which I jam into the center of the rockwool to keep it in place. I always provide light. Seedling must be grown in a proper hydroponic medium which can easily be transplanted into your system when they reach the right size. it may seem pointless but I just consider it natural. A method I use to start seeds is a bit more complicated. Once plants develop a second set of true leaves they are ready to be hardened off. . This is up to you.

If your plants will be grown indoors. Feed your cuttings with a ¼ strength nutrient solution and keep under low indirect light. they are ready to be transplanted into your hydroponic system. Hardening off is a method of slowly introducing young plants to intense lighting. place your plant into it. first soak the root ball in lukewarm water for ½ an hour and gently shake while submerged to remove the bulk of the soil. They should be of the first 3-5” of a healthy growing tip with no more than two or three sets of leaves. no genetic alterations are made. The process consists of carefully placing them into the grow site or net basket and gently filling any empty area with more growing medium. Because the natural method of reproduction is bypassed. A rooting hormone or cloning gel should be used in most cases. After your plants have been hardened off. Cloning a plant produces an exact. lower humidity. Transplanting your seedlings and cuttings into your hydroponic system is stressful to your plant no matter what the circumstances are. sterilized growing medium. In order for cloning to be successful. Have a warm bowl of water. You may find it necessary to research cloning methods that will work best for your particular situation. Moisten well and cover the cuttings with a large clear plastic dome to maintain constant humidity at 90%-100%. Plants should always be hardened and acclimated to their new environment. Low indirect lighting must be supplied. Newly developed roots are very delicate as well as the entire plant structure. Plants that will be grown indoors do not have to undergo a very harsh transition although they will be subject to the intense light produced by HID and an entirely different environment. To minimize the damage. Humidity must be very high. a good method is to use a coffee can with both sides removed to push into the rock bed.Cloning plants is a method used to produce several plants from one “donor plant”. and then back fill. 90-100%. This method has been in use for hundreds of years and is relatively easy. If you are using a system with a growing bed made of LECA or something similar. Using a sterile blade cut the selected tip and immediately place the end of the cutting in a bowl of lukewarm water. Because all of the soil from the entire root ball must be removed. You will also want to mix a gallon of ¼ strength nutrient solution. Either use sterile surgical gloves or a good hand sanitizer to clean your hands. you can start by introducing your plants to a higher level of lighting by placing your HID lighting two feet higher than normal and slowly decreasing the distance over a few days. . Carefully remove the lowest set of leaves from your cutting. and are then ready for transplant. A sterile environment is of course important. If you are using cloning gel or hormone powder be sure to follow the manufacturers directions so you do not ruin your entire supply. Cuttings should only be taken from new growth of a healthy plant. Cuttings should develop roots in 7-21 days. certain conditions must be met. and the temperature must be maintained at about 80ºF. This is one of the methods used to reproduce hybridized plants since most cannot reliably reproduce naturally. clean your work area and sanitize all surfaces with a diluted bleach/water spray. There are many methods for taking cuttings. Almost any soil grown plant can be put into a hydroponic system as long as it is a mature plant that is healthy enough to undergo transplantation. genetically identical copy of the mother plant. You can then remove the medium from inside the can to the desired depth. the plant must be hardy and able to withstand the process which should be considered quite a violent process. Minimizing stress is an important aspect of transplanting. While the cutting is submerged make a 45º angled cut above the original cut. It's important to make sure that your plants are receiving enough moisture during the first few days. and your hormone powder or cloning gel ready. this is the method I typically use. this is where the new roots will form. A 20 watt florescent fixture would be a good option. This is especially true if transplanting outdoors. First. fluctuating temperatures and wind. For plants being transplanted outdoors you can start the process by placing your plants outside in indirect sunlight with low wind for a couple hours a day for 2-4 days. and then trim any dead or decaying roots. Dip the cut end into your rooting hormone or cover the end with cloning gel and then insert the cutting into your starter medium up to the bottom nodes. Next use warm water to gently spray off any remaining soil.

Over watering can be a confusing term to new gardeners. Keeping the reservoir void of light. There is one main aspect of hydroponic gardening I have tried to stress throughout this entire guide. Keeping the humidity at the appropriate level (between 60-80%) and keeping good air flow is vital. Bacteria and Algae There are many things that can go wrong in your hydroponic garden. By doing your part to eliminate or minimize these conditions you can prevent most from taking hold and spreading. Keep walls. over saturated media can be problematic. Remove all debris such as fallen leaves and always remove dead and dying or sick plants immediately. As a general rule the media should never be sopping wet. Although. Try to keep the starting media from being over saturated as well as any other media. Keeping a healthy environment free of conditions in which harmful bacteria.Problems in the Garden Fungus. more potential problems exist within a hydroponic garden than in a soil garden. Sterilization of the media is necessary. (see CO2 for more info) An enclosed grow room or green house should have all of the air replaced or “cycled” every hour with fresh air. They require higher temperature and moisture. these conditions are the perfect environment for fungus and bacteria as well. at low temperature and well oxygenated will keep algae at manageable levels. Chances are you are reading this section because you already have a fungal or bacterial infection. If this is the case first try to investigate and resolve the problem by fixing the environment in which you keep your plants. Bacteria and fungi spores are present in the air around us at all times. Algae in the reservoir and on roots is usually harmless unless excessive. in soil gardening the term is used to describe soil that is not draining and the roots become oxygen deprived. many possible problems will be prevented. Cleanliness of your system. Though the reward far outweigh the risk. proper aeration and adequate ventilation. A pressure cooker is the safest chemical free method used to completely sterilize the media. Other methods such as boiling for 15 minutes. If you were to pick up a hand full and squeeze it no more than a few drops of solution should come out. some snails are known for eating plant roots and some snails reproduce rapidly research the specie of snail before adding any. A 30 minute soak in a 10% bleach solution followed by a through rinsing with hot water can be used in some cases but is not recommended. prevention! If you take preventive steps such as sanitation and cleanliness. Visible fungus and bacteria can be wiped off with a soft cloth. heating in a conventional oven or microwave oven may be used. A method I have used is to keep a few live snails in the reservoir. Avoid using areas with carpeted floors if possible. although not as detrimental as long as adequate oxygen levels are maintained. A weak solution of vinegar and water can be directly applied to the area or a commercial fungicide may be used as directed if needed. In hydroponic gardening over watering is applied to over saturation of the media. . Seedlings and clones are most vulnerable to fungal and bacterial problems. If you do choose to use this method it can add a significant amount of waste nutrient from the digestive process. ceilings and floors clean and any surface or tool used while physically working with the plant should be sanitized with a 10% bleach solution. once they arrive at an area which meets their needs for growth and reproduction they go to work. Flushing your system with a 10% bleach solution before adding plants will help prevent excessive algae as well. media and grow area are very important. fungi and disease and in turn possible insect infestations thrive is your best defense.

Insects Most insect infestations can be avoided by keeping healthy plants free of bacteria and fungus. Unpetroleum Jelly 4”x8” plastic cards or cardboard Waterproof yellow paint Apply paint onto both sides of the card and let it dry. especially if the end crop is to be consumed in any way. and whiteflies 12 cloves of minced garlic 2 tsp. then spray top and bottom of remaining leaf surfaces to control spread of the disease. In many cases insects will not appear unless you have a sick plants. keep outdoor plants outdoors! Bringing plants that have been outdoors for any amount of time almost always insures that you will be bringing insect or larvae inside that will thrive without any natural predators or natural pest control that exists outdoors. if there are no signs of improvement apply again. Some home remedies. such as fungus gnats. although not as powerful and fast acting are generally a bit more expensive. 1-2 Tbsp. but worth the money and extra efforts. the trade off. Garlic Oil Spray Affective against aphids. Most important. and whiteflies. There are many environmentally friendly pest control methods available to home gardeners than ever before and commercial petroleum oil based chemicals should be avoided. Mix thoroughly. if you are taking the time to grow your own crop that will eventually end up in your own body. apply Unpetroleum Jelly liberally over both sides of the card. Add soap flakes to help solution cling to leaves. liquid dish soap. is usually more time needed and no absolute guarantee of success. A lot of insects are actually feeding on the micro organisms of the decomposition process of a dead or dying plant matter rather than the plant itself. Place the card just above the plant canopy. Here are a few of my favorite home remedies Homemade insecticide Affective against aphids. Strain garlic out and add 600 ml water and 1 tsp. Once the paint is dry. work well and are very cost effective. Vaseline or preferably. Prevention is key but mysterious conditions will arise in which there is no direct visible cause. If possible use safe non-toxic insecticides or introduce natural predators such as Lady Bugs or Praying Mantis is possible. Sticky Traps An affective alternative for controlling winged insects. Some feed on roots and others the leaves and stem. Spray plants with this solution once and wait a few days. spider mites. In my opinion. and whiteflies. mineral oil 1 qt water A couple drops of liquid dish soap Soak garlic in mineral oil for 24 hours. After all. Choosing a healthy solution is advisable if you plan on consuming your plants in any way. In a clean spray bottle filled with water add a few drops of mild dish soap. Apply moderately every couple of days. . There are very few safe chemical insecticides that can be employed to control insect infestations. any toxic chemicals used to control insects applied directly onto the plant should be avoided at all cost. Pests controlled: Flying pests. Keeping your plants healthy and free of fungal infections will in turn help keep most insects away. why would you want to ingest dangerous and toxic chemicals? There are many chemical solutions to many garden problems. Organic solutions. Remove infected leaves from plant. baking soda 1 qt water A couple drops of liquid dish soap Dissolve baking soda in 1 qt of warm water. spider mites. Fungicide for Mildew and Black Spot 1 tsp.

How to build an Ebb and Flo Hydroponic System An Ebb and Flo/ Flood and Drain System is little more advanced than the other system plans. This particular design is not quite typical. . as most flood and drain systems use a single growing bed filled with media. The arrangement and number of plant sites is up to you and only limited to the pump capabilities and your imagination. proven system that provides excellent result and high crop yields. The flood and Drain technique is a classic. with this design individual plant sites are plumbed together and detachable for easy access and cleaning. The flood and drain technique works so well because as the plant sites are filled. it is a tried and true system and a lot more interesting than the previous system build. old oxygen is “exhaled” or push out and when the plant sites drain fresh air is sucked back into the growing media. An over flow U pipe is used to keep the nutrient from over flowing. some people even use 2-liter soda bottles. Building the system can be done in a couple of hours and most parts are available at hardware stores. The plant sites can be any water tight rigid container. The pump should be rated at 200 GPH or more and you will need a pump that can accept 1/2” ID tubing. Although it is a bit more difficult for beginners. I once again recommend the Eco Plus line of pumps because they are affordable and come with the necessary attachments.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. Add plants and watch them grow. You will want to watch for over grown roots that can clog the plumbing. especially the over flow.Operating your system Fill the nutrient reservoir and use a timer to power on for 10 minutes every 15-20 minutes. Over flowing is a real possibility with this type of system and you will need to keep all system parts clear of roots and debris.

The ring has several small holes where nutrient drips through and falls over the roots and finally drops back into the reservoir. Standard white buckets do not work well because they expose your nutrient to too much light which can cause fungus and bacteria problems. The plant basket can be made from any container with a rim by drilling lots of small holes. 5 gallon food grade buckets make great reservoirs as long as they are of a dark color. The only drawback of this system is the noise produced. with minimal tools and material. . This is an Aeroponic type system that uses the concept of air lift to push nutrient through a tube to a ring at the top of the system. Several systems can be operated by one air pump using splices. It must be tall enough to hold about a foot of nutrient with enough space for the plant pot to be suspended above with about 6 inches of air space between the bottom of the pot and the top of the nutrient. This is probably the easiest to build of all the active systems and one of the most reliable.Water Farm hydroponic System Plan The Water Farm is a popular. It must be of food grade material if you plan on consuming any part of the plant. Even a small colander could be used. easy to build and inexpensive system. The reservoir can be almost any water tight container that meets the following requirements. Building the system yourself can be accomplished within an hour or so.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

This can result in half the power usage although timers can fail which would result in severe crop damage within a couple of hours. If other medium is used you might consider using a timer set to run for 10 or 15 minute intervals. .Operating the Water Farm Simply fill the reservoir about half full or about 6 inches from the bottom of the plant pot. The system is relatively maintenance free. Always make sure the air lift pump is functioning properly and the nutrient stays at least 6 inches full for proper lift. The air pump should run 24 hours a day especially if gravel is used as a medium.

How to build the Lettuce Raft System The Lettuce Raft is another easy to build and affordable hydroponic system. It can usually be built in about an hour with minimal tools and easy to find parts. The Raft System is an aeroponic or aquaponic type system. A “raft” made out of Styrofoam serves as the plant site and floats directly on the nutrient solution. The roots are aerated by an aquarium air pump and diffusion stone. The system is reliable and pretty much maintenance free and a great build for beginners or those who wish to experiment with hydroponics. The main drawback of this type of system is clogging of the air diffusion stones with mineral build up. Another drawback is that only short stature crops and plants, such as lettuce, can be grown in this system. The parts are cheap and the reservoir can be any water tight food grade container. Totes and buckets make the best choice but virtually anything that holds water may be used. Some people use small fish tanks, which is fine as long as the glass sides are covered or painted to block out light. Styrofoam flats can be purchased at most hardware stores in the insulation section.

.

.

.

.

The air pump must remain on 24 hours a day.Operating your Lettuce Raft System The Raft System is easy. Wind can easily blow the raft over and out of the system. . The Raft will rise and fall with the level of nutrient so you can always tell when nutrient gets low. just fill with proper nutrient and add your plants. Just make sure your diffusion stone stays clean and replace when needed. due to the design of the system rain can easily flood your system. If you plan on keeping this system outdoors you may want to keep it sheltered from rain and wind.

easy to operate system. this is an aeroponic/aquaponic type hydroponic system that uses an aquarium air pump and diffusion stone to produce tiny bubbles that aerate the submerged roots. The main problem with this system is that the diffusion stone can quickly clog with mineral build up. Constant attention and cleaning or replacement is required to insure proper aeration. low cost. The best reservoir to use is a rubbermaid or sterilite food grade tote. . The system can be built in about an hour and most parts are readily available and inexpensive. Sometimes called the poor man's hydroponic system.How to build the Bubble System The Bubble system is another easy to build.

.

.

.

.

. It is important to always maintain this level especially when plants have not yet developed roots long enough to reach the nutrient.Operating your system Fill the reservoir to an inch above the bottom of the plant baskets. mineral buildup can quickly cause clogging and drastically reduce aeration. Keep an eye on the air diffusion stone. The pump should remain on at all times.

There are lots of different plans available but this one has been designed for an easier build although it is not expandable. if the pump should fail the roots will always have moisture and access to nutrient. Because it is an Aeroponic system the root system will be incredibly healthy and vigorous. The material for this system is easy to find. The pump recommended in this plan is the most affordable and was chosen because it has suction cup feet to hold the manifold in place and a 1/2” threaded female outlet.How to build an Aeroponic system This system is a little bit tougher to build but a pretty cool and popular aeroponic system. If a pump is used that cannot support the manifold in this way then you will have to use another method. Since the roots are suspended above the nutrient solution. . making this a pretty fail proof system. This system is very successful in growing lots of different types of plants. A system timer can be used to run the pump in 10 minute intervals to cut electricity usage in half.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Make sure new plants are receiving enough moisture until roots are able to reach the spray. Fill reservoir about half full or up to the bottom of the manifold. . Plants should be braced with LECA or similar medium. This may take about a week and you may want to water from the top daily.Operating your Aeroponic System The system is relatively maintenance free.

I just use foam gasket tape around the entire inside edge of the lid. in place a plexi-glass piece was used. .How to Build an Easy Cloner System Plan The Easy Cloner is an amazing method used for rooting cuttings. There are several ways of obtaining a leak proof lid. One of the biggest problems is making a water tight seal for the lid and the power cord. in some cases up to 50%. Building an Easy Cloner/Aero Cloner is pretty simple. It is advisable to use a system timer to run the pump in 10-15 minute intervals. If operated correctly rooting time can be cut drastically. Ive seen homemade cloners where the entire lid was sealed with silicon and the top cut out.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

2 Cups of .

.

A level indicator makes checking the amount of nutrient in your reservoir a snap. It may also be used to drain the reservoir by rotating downward. . Other types of level indicators can be built out of a float attached to a stick that is visible through the top of the reservoir.How to build a Nutrient Solution level Indicator A nutrient solution level indicator can be easily added to almost any reservoir.

.

.

.

.

.

The air lift is great for hydroponics because not only does it supply oxygen. .How to build an Air Lift Pump An air lift pump is relatively easy to build and an inexpensive option for a low budget system. The idea is that the rising air bubble. There are so many uses for this versatile device that the only limit is your ingenuity and imagination. it also provides nutrient circulation. The concept is simple and commonly used in aquarium under gravel filtration systems. when confined in a tube. will push liquid upward between the bubbles. The main drawback of this system is noise.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful