How to Grow Vegetables in a Hydroponics System


Growing vegetables in a hydroponics system creates an environment where fresh vegetables are available year-round. The benefits of using a hydroponics system is that the plants grow quickly, have less risk of disease and pest problems and produce a large harvest (by controlling nutrient quantity for the plants). Hydroponics systems are available for purchase at garden supply retailers or made at home out of household items.

Step 1

Start vegetable seeds in a flat filled with soil by following the packet information for planting depth. Cover the tray with clear plastic and set it in a warm area with indirect sunlight until the seeds sprout. Grow the seedlings in soil until they are 2 to 3 inches in height.

Step 2

Plant vegetable seeds into hydroponics rockwool cubes as an alternative method. Place the cubes upright into a tray and soak them in water for two hours. Place 1 to 2 seeds into each cube at a depth of 1/4 inch or the depth listed on the seed packet. Cover the tray with plastic and set in a warm location until the seeds sprout.

Step 3

Move the growing trays to full sunlight once the sprouts appear. Monitor the soil or rockwool moisture level to make sure they do not dry out. Thin the plants by removing the weak sprouts if several are growing in the same rockwool cube or are too close in the planting tray.

Step 4

Transplant the seedlings once the first set of true leaves appear. Make sure the hydroponics system is functioning and nutrients are in the water according to the package instructions.

Step 5

Set small rockwool planting cubes inside of larger rockwool cubes set into the hydroponics system. Do not attempt to remove the seedling from the rockwool cube. Transplant soil-grown seedlings by rinsing the roots with water to remove soil and planting them into netted pots filled with hydroponics medium.

Step 6

Space the hydroponics pots 6 to 8 inches apart for small plants, such as peppers, and 10 to 12 inches apart for large plants, such as tomatoes.

Step 7

Monitor the water level in the hydroponics system and refresh it as needed to maintain an adequate level. Add nutrients to the system when adding water by following package instructions.

Step 8

Place grow lights over the hydroponics system to provide necessary light for indoor vegetable plants. Set the lights 6 inches above the vegetable plants; adjust the height as the plants grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable seeds
  • Planting tray
  • Seed-starting soil
  • Small rockwool cubes
  • Clear plastic
  • Hydroponics nutrients
  • Hydroponics grow system
  • Large rockwool cubes
  • Netted pots
  • Hydroponics medium
  • Grow lights


  • University of Arizona: Growing Tomatoes Hydroponically
  • Hydroponics Online: Seed Germination
  • Simply Hydroponics: Hydroponic System Plans
Keywords: hydroponics vegetable plants, grow hydroponic vegetables, grow vegetables indoors

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.