Start growing with hydroponics in 4 simple steps!

Step 1: Material Gathering

Hydroponics is container (or pot) based farming. You will need a container to store water, some inert media (cocopeat, oasis cubes, perlite), and some fertilizers. You can buy premix hydroponics fertilizers or make your hydroponics nutrients. I recommend you purchase premix fertilizers and then make your fertilizers as you flourish as a grower.

List of materials: 

  1. Container: A bucket/ a crate/ a tub with a lid/ whey protein container(I am using a blue bakery crate)
  2. Net pots: 2″ Netted pots to hold hydroponics media
  3. Hydroponics fertilizers: Premix fertilizers or different fertilizers if you want to make your nutrients. I have an article that will help you make your own nutrients. The link is available at the end of this post. 
  4. Inert media: Cocopeat, coco pellets, oasis cubes, perlite, small gravels. (if you are starting from plant cuttings) Any one of these media will work. I will recommend you to begin with oasis cubes or cocopeat. 
  5. Seeds: Seeds of your choice (Start with spinach, lettuce, cucumber, eggplant, cucumber, ladyfingers, coriander) These are easier to grow. )
  6. Water: Tap water/RO water/rainwater (anything will do as long as it has low hardness and close to zero TDS) 
  7. Drill machine with 2″ drill bit 

Optional material: 

  1. TDS meter: It helps you measure the amount of nutrients you are adding. 
  2. pH meter: It enables you to measure the pH of nutrients, which tells if nutrients are available for absorption. ( Try to maintain pH in 5.5 – 6.6 range)
  3. Aquarium air pump: It makes bubbles in nutrient water and adds oxygen to the water. 

I don’t use TDS, pH meter, or air pump myself. I am making my own nutrient for years, so I know the TDS & pH of my nutrients. I don’t use these additional materials. But if you are new to hydroponics, these will help. 

Container

Netpot

Media (oasis cubes)

Hydroponics Nutrients

Step 2: Making the hydroponics container 

With a 2″ drill bit, make holes on the lid of your container. The spacing of holes is dependent on the size of the box and what plants you want to grow. I have a 24″ * 16″ crate. I am growing spinach, and tomatoes. I am making 12 holes in my container. If you are growing vine or fruiting plants in the same size, make two holes 12″ apart. Place 2″ net pots in the holes. Your hydroponics container is ready! 

Crate as a container

My used old whey protien bucket as a container

Step 3: Making hydroponics nutrients

Fill the container with water up to 1 ” below the lid. Add premix hydroponics nutrients. All brands provide instructions about nutrient mixing. Follow the instructions and mix nutrients accordingly. If you are making your own nutrient with recipes, add fertilizers in the correct proportion. (Again, the link is below the post if you want to make nutrients with your recipe.) Make sure all fertilizers are completely dissolved in water. 

 

Step 4: Final step 

Put hydroponics media in the netted pot. Add a seed in the medium. Dip the netted pot in container water. Make sure the media is thoroughly moist. Place the net pot in holes of the container. That’s it! You don’t have to do anything else. The seed will germinate. Its roots will come out of the media and touch the water. Roots will absorb nutrients and water from the container. At the end of the month, you will have a good harvest without much effort. 

2 month Plant Update: 

Quick notes: 

  • You can use an insect net to stop mosquitoes from growing, or you can shake water every once in a while or use an air pump. You don’t want mosquitoes in the system. 
  • Ensure water is not exposed to sunlight, or algae will grow in water, mess up oxygen, and stick to the roots. (You don’t want that!)
  • If you are growing wine or fruiting crops, make sure you know how you will support the plant as it grows. 
  • If you are growing wine or fruiting crops, top up the container with 2″ of nutrient water when it’s half empty. You don’t have to do it if you are growing leafy vegetables. 
  • Protect your plants from rats and squirrels. One of the squirrels ate my bottle gourd plant in the why protein container. RIP. Use neem oil to protect your plants from pests. 
  • You can use a green shade net to protect your plants from harsh sunlight. 
  • If you are new to growing, this information is not enough. You will make mistakes. You are like that person who invented agriculture 12,000 years back. Don’t get discouraged. Start again if you fail. 

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