How to Start Hydroponics

Overview

When scientists stationed at the South Pole need fresh fruits and vegetables, they don't have them packed in on dog sleds. Instead, they grow their own vegetables hydroponically using indoor greenhouses to grow plants in a liquid nutrient solution instead of soil. You can also grow plants this way hydroponically in your own home. Plants grown hydroponically are scientifically shown to be more vigorous and produce a higher yield of fruits and vegetables.

Step 1

Fill a flood tray with rockwool growing cubes.

Step 2

Water the cubes with a solution of liquid nutrients and soft water so that they are uniformly wet.

Step 3

Plant seeds in the rockwool cubes to a depth of 1/4 to 3/8 an inch. Water uniformly from above using a watering can.

Step 4

Cover the flood tray with plastic sheeting to keep the rockwool moist. Place under grow lights to help the seedlings germinate.

Step 5

Check the dampness of the rockwool daily. Remove the sheeting once seeds germinate.

Step 6

As the seedlings grow, transplant the rockwool grow cubes into bigger cubes by creating a space large enough for the smaller cube inside the bigger cube. Place the entire smaller cube into this space.

Step 7

When the seedlings reach maturity, transplant them into a slab tray.

Step 8

Test the pH of your nutrient solution daily. Seedlings will raise the pH of the nutrient solution to the point that the solution will need to be changed every two weeks. Mature plants will need to have their solution changed weekly.

Step 9

Test the pH of your fresh solution. If it is too high, lower it by diluting the solution with small amounts of sulfuric acid.

Things You'll Need

  • Flood tray
  • Slab tray
  • Rockwool growing cubes
  • Grow lights
  • Seeds
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Watering can
  • Liquid nutrients
  • PH tester
  • Sulfuric acid (battery acid)

References

  • Tamu.edu: Hydroponics as a Hobby
  • Arizona.edu: Growing Tomatoes Hydroponically
  • Uiuc.edu: Growing Plants Without Soil

Who Can Help

  • Wsu.edu: History of Hydroponics
  • Arizona.edu: University of Arizona Controlled Envrionment Agriculture Center
Keywords: hydroponic gardening, container gardening indoors, liquid nutrient solution

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.