Hydroponics is a system of container gardening in which plants are grown without soil. One of the most common types of hydroponic systems, an aggregate system, supports the roots in a soilless potting medium such as perlite or peat moss. A system such as this allows the roots to grow as if they were in soil. However the plant obtains nutrients from a nutrient-rich watering solution rather than from the aggregate system.
Fill a seedling tray with peat moss and water thoroughly from the top with a solution of water and mixed nutrients. Ensure that the peat moss is uniformly wet before planting seeds.
Place seeds in the peat moss starter solution.
Cover seedlings with ¼ inch of peat moss. Water with a watering can to ensure that peat moss is uniformly wet.
Cover the seedling tray with plastic sheeting to hold in moisture for germination. Place the seedling tray under grow lights.
Discard the plastic sheeting when seeds sprout and check peat moss daily so that the seedlings don’t dry out. Mist seedlings to keep them damp and thin them as needed.
When seedlings are large enough to transplant, place them in small peat pots. As seedlings grow, transplant them by completely burying the smaller peat pots into larger peat pots filled with peat moss.
Transplant plants a final time into a mesh basket made for hydroponic gardening. Place this pot into a larger hydroponic bucket and fill it with water. Cover the bucket with the hydroponic lid. This lid has a hole in the center for the plant stem.
Test pH level of water and nutrient solution before feeding plants. pH can be lowered by mixing in sulfuric acid. Add nutrient solution to plants as needed. This may be daily in warm weather as the plants feed heavily.
Test the water in the plant’s liquid chamber daily. Add sulfuric acid to lower the pH if it gets too high.
Every two weeks (or weekly for larger plants) completely drain the aggregate peat moss solution of water and change the nutrient solution.