How to Make a Hydroponic Garden


You can grow plants indoors, after the primary outdoor growing season, with a hydroponic garden. There are many commercially available hydroponic systems. But you can make a good hydroponic garden with inexpensive and commonly available components and a couple of specialized hydroponic parts.

Step 1

Use a magic marker to trace the outline of the top of the net baskets on the top of the Rubbermaid tub to mark where you will cut the holes for the baskets.

Step 2

Trace the bottom of the baskets inside the tracings you just made of the tops.

Step 3

Cut out the inner holes--the ones made from the bottom of the basket--with a utility knife.

Step 4

Make a series of cuts from the inner hole to the mark that indicates the outer diameter of the mesh pots. Make these between 1/2 to 3/4 in. apart. These will allow the mesh baskets to be inserted through the top and will also hold the pots in place. Remove every other tab to reduce upward pressure on the baskets that could cause them to pop out of the lid.

Step 5

Establish the inner waterline in the Rubbermaid tub. To do this, insert a basket into the cover and measure its depth. Mark the level of the cover on the inside of the tub. Next, mark the lowest point of the mesh basket on the inside of the tub. Then, mark 1/2 in. above the line indicating the bottom of the basket; this is your waterline for the tub.

Step 6

Place the air control valves on the outside of the tub. Valve assemblies are designed to hang from the side of an aquarium and should fit well hanging over the outside of your tub. Run lines from the pump to these valves, then run lines from the valves to the aquarium stones.

Step 7

Cut tabs or holes for the three air lines in the side of the tub.

Step 8

Place the cover on the tub and make two cuts in the cover to allow it to fit snugly on the tub with the valves in place.

Step 9

Place the three aquarium stones along the center-line of the tub. Space the stones evenly.

Step 10

Connect the air tubing between the valves and the stones. Route the tubing through the holes or slots you cut earlier.

Step 11

Connect the air pump to a one-way aquarium valve. This valve will prevent water from entering into and damaging the pump.

Step 12

Connect the one-way valve of the air input to the three valves for the aquarium stones.

Step 13

Insert the net baskets in the six holes.

Step 14

Fill the tub up to the fill line with a nutrient bath. Mix the nutrient bath according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 15

Plug in your air pump to circulate the nutrient bath.

Step 16

Fill the baskets with rockwool and plant your young plants in the rockwool.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use an opaque tub. Transparent or translucent tubs can encourage algae growth in the hydroponic bath. Aquarium pumps are not intended to run when wet; make sure that your pump is in a dry location.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 Hydroponic net baskets
  • 14 gallon opaque Rubbermaid tub
  • Magic marker
  • Utility knife
  • Valves for air stones
  • Air tubing
  • One-way aquarium valve
  • Aquarium air pump
  • Three large, round aquarium air stones
  • Rockwool for hydroponics
  • Nutrient mix
  • Plants


  • Setting Up a Hydroponic Herb Garden
  • Basic Hydroponic Garden Setup

Who Can Help

  • Do it yourself DIY Hydroponics Systems
  • How to Build a Hydroponic Garden
  • Hydroponic System Plans & Hydroponics Gardening Guide
Keywords: hydroponic garden, hydroponic herbs, hydroponic how to

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.