It might seem odd growing plants without soil, but hydroponics dates back to the Aztecs. As long as a plant has oxygen, light, water, nutrients and proper temperature it will grow, regardless of the medium it is in. For homeowners, hydroponic gardens are an ideal way to maintain a year-round indoor vegetable garden when yard space is limited. A container hydroponic system can be built inexpensively and provides a yield comparable to a traditional soil garden.
Drill a hole in the side of the container(s) about 1 inch from the bottom and insert a 6-inch rubber hose into the hole. This enables the nutrient solution to drain out into your catch basin bucket. Attach a clothespin to the hose to stop the solution from draining.
Fill the container with a growing medium. The growing medium promotes oxygen flow, ensures proper drainage of the nutrient solution and prevents the plant from falling over. Pea stone is commonly used, but other good growing mediums include grow cubes, clay pellets, rockwool, peat moss, or a combination of vermiculite and perlite.
Fill the container with water and add a nutrient solution. A premixed blend with a pH level of 6.4 is best and is available in dry or liquid form at garden centers. As a guide, use 1 teaspoon of nutrient solution per gallon of water.
Add seeds, seedling, or starter plant. If growing from seed, the seeds need to be placed in a growing cube before placing in your container garden. If growing from a seedling or starter plant, place the root into your hydroponic system. Depending on the size of your container, you may need to start the seedling out in a small container and transfer it to a larger one as the roots grow.
Place the hydroponic garden in an area of the home that gets good sunlight. During other times of the day and night, place the plants under florescent lighting or LED lighting.