How to Grow Indoors With Soil & Hydroponics

Overview

Hydroponic gardening gives you the freedom to grow what you want and when you want it without worrying about climate, weather or seasons. Hydroponics is soil-less gardening, but that doesn't mean you can't use soil at all. Using a hybrid approach lets you grow herbs outside on the patio during the summer, then move the pots indoors when it gets cold. You can also start your plants hydroponically, then move them outdoors in the summer.

Step 1

Set up your drip hydroponic kit according to manufacturer's instructions. Fill the nutrient reservoir with water and turn on the pump to test the system. When you are certain the system is working correctly, drain the water.

Step 2

Fill the reservoir with nutrient solution.

Step 3

Dip the electrode of your pH meter into the electrode solution for 30 seconds to calibrate. Check the reading on the meter, and adjust it to exactly 7.0. This way you know that you are getting an accurate reading on your nutrient solution.

Step 4

Insert the pH meter probe into the nutrient solution to measure the pH. Record the result. The ideal pH for most plants is between 6.0 and 6.5. If your pH level is too low, add 1 to 3 drops of potassium hydroxide. If the pH level is too high, add 1 to 3 drops of phosphoric acid. Mix well, then re-test and continue to adjust until the pH level is between 6.0 and 6.5.

Step 5

Fill the pots with potting soil and plant your seeds or seedlings. Place the pots in the flood tray of your hydroponic system and position the drip tubes in the pots at the base of the plants (or where the seeds are). Turn on the hydroponic system and verify that the plants are getting a steady drip of nutrient solution.

Step 6

Move your plants outdoors. Simply turn off the hydroponic system and remove the drip tubes from the pots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Test your hydroponics system with plain water before using it for the first time, or if it has been unused for several months.

Things You'll Need

  • Extension cord
  • Nutrient solution
  • pH meter
  • 7.0 electrode buffer solution
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds or seedlings

References

  • Nutrient Solutions For Greenhouse Vegetable Culture
  • University of Alaska: Engage

Who Can Help

  • Hydroponics and Organics
Keywords: drip hydroponics, year-round growing, simple hydroponics

About this Author

Tricia Ballad has written professionally since 2004. She has authored three books, as well as numerous articles on parenting and website content involving green living. Her work has appeared in Natural Family Online and Budget Artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing specialization from Bradley University.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Grow Indoors With Soil & Hydroponics