Hydroponics system in no rocket science and neither is making one. It is basically where the plants grow in a water medium. All you need to have a reservoir to hold the water and a support to let the plants growing suspended in the water. It can be done anywhere under $100 for the whole thing. The break up or the items are,
- Water pump – $8
- Air pump – $13
- Water tubes – $5
- Net cups -$6
- Clay pebbles -$17
- Rockwool- $5
- Lettuce seeds -$2
- Fox farm liquid fertilizer- $11
I had an old 25 gallon container white in color. I had to paint it black all over. Now, let’s get started.
Start with making holes on the lid of the container. I made 6 holes that can hold the 3 inch net cups on it. The holes made were slightly smaller than the diameter of the cups so that they do not go through but fit well in them.
I also made provisions for the water inlet and electrical connections for the submersible water pump. The water inlet was connected at the bottom and the electric connection towards the top. The connectors fit them all in the right place.
Then I half filled the clay pebbles in the net cups and they were ready to go into the hydroponics unit.
I couldn’t directly plant the plants in the cups as the seeds needed germination. I used an old cake box with a dome like lid for this purpose. I layered the bottom tray with the rockwool that is already treated in nutrient solution and placed the seeds over it for germination. Cover with the lid and let it grow until it is ready for replanting. I had my table lamp placed near this unit.
Not all the seedlings survived and I just for 5 out of them that was good. I was not to be disappointed and once the plants were ready to be transplanted, they were placed over the clay pebbles. The container was filled with water and the air pump provided the necessary oxygen for the plants.
The only thing I lacked was a pH adjuster, which I decided to go for later once I am confident enough that the unit works well.
This DIY hydroponics unit was placed in a corner near the window that allows the sunlight to come through. There also was an artificial light provided above the unit. The combined light was good enough I guess. The plants did grow rather well for a beginner in me.
In just over a month I had the delight of harvesting my efforts. The lettuce did look fine to be and it tasted good as well.
What this DIY hydroponics unit making taught me was that, the efforts will be rewarded, anyways. The leaves did have some yellow patches here and there, that could mean that the light was a bit hot for the plants or there was excess nutrient supply.
All I know is that I plan to rectify my mistakes and am determined to grow better, healthier plants than earlier. I want to be a pro indoor gardener, before I purchase my first automated hydroponics unit.