A hydroponic system uses tubes or troughs to recycle a fertilizer solution that provides plants with the nutrients they need to grow. The plants grow suspended in the solution or anchored in a tray of soilless growing media or aggregate.
Plants grow faster and produce more fruit and vegetables in a hydroponic garden. There are no weeds, and fewer soil-borne pests and diseases. More plants can be grown in a hydroponic garden than in the same amount of soil. Several styles of hydroponic gardens are available as kits from garden centers, hardware stores and online.
Decide if you want a water or soilless growing media hydroponic garden. Consider the size of the system, ease of set-up and maintenance, and how many plants will fit in the garden. Buy a kit or the parts to build the garden, hydroponic fertilizer mix, and seeds or plants for the garden.
Choose a location for the garden close to a water source and an electrical outlet, where it is protected from rain or overhead irrigation (to prevent electric shock). Assemble the hydroponic garden, following the manufacturer's instructions or the design plans.
Check the pH of the water, which should be between 5.0 and 6.0. Adjust the pH if necessary. Mix the water and hydroponic fertilizer, according to the manufacturer's directions. Fill the reservoir.
Suspend the plants in the nutrient solution in a water system, or set the plants in containers of soilless growing media in soilless systems. Sow seeds in trays of soilless growing media.
Plug the water and air pumps into electrical outlets, and turn them on.
Change the nutrient solution every two weeks. Check regularly for pests and diseases. Remove and destroy diseased plants to prevent the spread of infection.