How to Make a Hydroponic Herb Garden

Overview

Hydroponically grown herb gardens use a liquid, nutrient-rich environment instead of soil. You can get started in hydroponic herb gardening by buying a system or building one. In either case, successful hydroponic herb gardening has a steep learning curve in order to understand the best options for plants, growing media, nutrient distribution, growing conditions and care. Basil, oregano, mint, lemon balm, chives, cilantro, tarragon, thyme and parsley all grow well in a hydroponic environment.

Step 1

Select a container for your hydroponic garden. An old aquarium or plastic tub will work well for creating a simple garden.

Step 2

Build a stand to support to support the plant's pots inside the hydroponic gardening container. Use a large piece of Styrofoam and scissors to cut a piece that is 1/2 inch smaller than the inside dimensions of the container. The Styrofoam allows the pots to float on top of the nutrient solution while the nutrients are available to the plant's roots.

Step 3

Cut holes in the Styrofoam for each pot. Make the holes large enough so that only the bottom half of the pot fits through suspending the plant's roots in the nutrient solution.

Step 4

Place plants into net pots and fill them with inert medium to within 1/4 inch of the top of the container. The most popular medium is rockwool, but you can also use vermiculite, perlite or small gravel.

Step 5

Add the nutrient solution to the bottom of the container. When beginning to grow hydroponically, it is easier to purchase a pre-mixed nutrient solution. Later, you can learn to make your own.

Step 6

Place the piece of Styrofoam in the container resting on top of the nutrient solution.

Step 7

Place the plants in their net pots into the holes that you cut into the Styrofoam.

Step 8

Attach a grow light centered above container. Metal halide lights are best for herbs. Suspend the grow light about 12 inches above the container using two chains with adjustable length so they can be raised as the plants grow. Loop the top of the chains over hooks attached to ceiling studs. Attach the bottom of the chains to the light fixture using angle brackets.

Step 9

Check the pH of the nutrient solution with paper test strips. The best pH value for most herbs is 6.0. To lower pH add a small amount of vinegar. To raise pH, add a small amount of baking soda. Recheck pH.

Step 10

Use a thermometer to monitor ambient temperature. Hydroponically grown herbs prefer temperatures between 65 degrees and 80 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Styrofoam
  • Scissors
  • Plants
  • Net pots
  • Rock wool
  • Nutrient solution
  • Grow light
  • Chains to suspend grow light
  • Hooks to attach grow light chains to the ceiling
  • Angle brackets to attach grow light chains to grow light
  • pH testing strips
  • Thermometer

References

  • Nutrient Solution Values for Hydroponically Grown Herbs
  • Hydroponics University
  • Information on Hydroponics Grow Lights

Who Can Help

  • "How-To Hydroponics"; Keith Roberto; 2003
Keywords: hydroponic herb gardening, how-to hydroponic herb garden, growing herbs with hydroponics

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer for four years. Prior experience includes 15 years as a writer, project manager and knowledge analyst in defense systems advanced information. She is acknowledged for contributions to three books: Leadership Elements, Knowledge Acquisition, and State-of-the-Art for KA. Barbara has a masters in psychology from SMU and training in artificial intelligence and project management.