Have you been interested in getting started in hydroponics but the thought of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a system prevents you? Build your own hydroponic system!
Building your own hydroponics unit is simple and requires many common components. Understanding the basic principles of a hydroponics system is a great first step towards building your own DIY hydroponics system. Building your own system allows you to get started with hydroponics, for a lot less cost than purchasing a pre-built system from a manufacturer.
Custom built hydroponic systems work just as well as the expensive brand name units, and allow for a lot more customization. Growing with hydroponics may take a little more skill and love, but its an interesting hobby and is a nice change of pace from traditional soil grows.
Home gardening is an ever increasing trend as people seek to maximize the health of their meals for the least amount of money. Hydroponics is a great solution to both of these challenges. Building your own DIY hydroponics system allows you to minimize the price of your hydroponics set-up, while also allowing the ultimate control over how your produce is cultivated, grown, and delivered to your table. Some would argue that hydroponically grown food and produce are tastier and healthier than standard store bought produce and that food hydroponically grown at home develops and retains increased levels of vitamins and minerals when compared to your typical grocery produce.
When supplied with the right conditions plants have the opportunity and capability of growing faster and larger because the plants are supplied with nutrients in a very effective, even scientific, manner.
These are just some of the reasons why people are building their own systems and turning to Do It Yourself hydroponics. It provides them with a constant supply of quality vegetables and produce all year round!
The Components To Build Your Own Hydroponic System
Grow Chamber or Grow Tray
This is the part of the hydroponics system that contains your growing media and plants. Consider it the home for the plants. A typical grow chamber comes in many forms depending on your method and the types of plants you plan to grow but the performance of the expensive manufactured hydroponic systems can be replicated with many common items including a simple plastic storage container. Another low cost option is to use a large bucket to create what is called a bucket hydroponics system. There are many possibilities when it comes to choosing a good grow chamber but remember to choose a size that will meet your needs throughout the growth cycle.
Nutrient Solution / Water Reservoir
This component of the DIY hydroponics system stores the water and nutrient solution that supplies the plants with nutrients. Common hydroponics reservoirs include 32 gallon trashcans, storage drums, or any other large, sterile container. You want to be sure that the container wont contaminate the solution by avoiding the use of cheap materials that may leech into the nutrient supply.
Also, be sure to use a container that DOESN’T allow light to penetrate and come into contact with the nutrient solution as this may promote photosynthesis that will cause algae to build up in the reservoir.
Submersible Water / Solution Pump
The submersible pump supplies your plants with nutrient solution by pumping the solution from the reservoir to the grow tray or plants directly. Submersible pumps can be found in the home improvements section at Walmart or in the Garden area of your local hardware store.
Prices can vary greatly depending on the quality and volume capacity but should be proportional to the size of system you are building.
Delivery Tubing / Pipe
The delivery tubing is required to transport the nutrient / water solution from the reservoir to the grow chamber / tray. The tubing should directly link the submersible pump to the grow chamber. Clear tubing isn’t advised as it gives the light extra access to your solution and may cause algae build up in the line.
PVC pipe or vinyl tubing are common materials to use for this and are also available at Walmart or your local hardware store.
An automated timer is any simple timer that allows your custom built hydroponic unit to be activated on a predetermined schedule. The typical timer goes between your system and the power outlet and usually allows for timing on a 24 hour cycle but more sophisticated timers may allow for alternating schedules depending on the current day / date. Deep water culture and other types of systems can benefit from an automated timer.
Nothing fancy needs to be supplied here as long as it is safe in a moist environment and performs as intended.
Air / Oxygen Pump
An air / oxygen pump is necessary to oxygenate the nutrient solution. This avoids stagnation of the nutrient solution, prevents algae build up, and supplies the roots of the plant with a constant source of O2. A common aquarium air pump works great and are available at Walmart or your local pet / aquarium store. A simple air diffuser or Air Stone is then attached to the pump to diffuse the O2 into the nutrient solution / reservoir.