How to Make Your Own Hydroponic Garden


For those who grew up with fond memories of grandmother's garden, a hydroponic system for growing plants may seem too sterile. But scientific studies have shown that plants grown hydroponically are healthier and produce more crops than plants that are grown in the ground. Hydroponically grown vegetables are even grown in scientific research stations at the South Pole to help supplement the diets of the people stationed there. You don't need a lab in your own garden to grow fruits and vegetables hydroponically and get results that even grandma wouldn't turn her nose up at.

Step 1

Measure the diameter of your net baskets at a point 1 inch beneath the lip of the basket with a measuring tape. Draw six circles the same diameter as this measurement in the lid of the plastic storage tub.

Step 2

Cut out these holes in the lid of the tub. Place the baskets in the lid and put the lid onto the tub. Fill the tub with water until the waterline is ¼ inch above the base of the net basket. Mark the waterline on the outside of the storage tub.

Step 3

Make a mark along point on the lid and the tub's lip that align. Remove the lid and cut a rectangular notch that is ½ inch wide and 1 inch deep in both the overlapping edge of the lid and the lip of the tub. This will be the channel for your air tubing. Cutting a channel helps to keep the lid from crimping the air hose.

Step 4

Attach the bubble mat to the air hose and place the mat in the bottom of the tub. Put the air hose in the notch that you made in the lip of the tub. Attach the free end of the air hose to an air pump. Place the air pump on the ground next to the tub.

Step 5

Mix the liquid nutrients into the water in the tub following the guidelines for the amount directed on the back of the liquid nutrient packaging. Insert the pH meter probe into the liquid nutrient solution in the storage tub to check the pH of the liquid nutrients. If the pH is low, you can raise it by adding sulfuric acid. If it is high, you can lower it by adding potassium hydroxide.

Step 6

Fill the net baskets with vermiculite. Rinse the soil away from the roots of plants, and place them in the vermiculite medium. Place the lid on the tub so that the channel cut for the air hose aligns with the air hose channel on the side of the tub. Then place each basket in its hole in the lid of the storage tub.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves and a breathing mask when mixing or handling chemicals. Never submerge an air pump inside the tub. Doing so can cause electric shock.

Things You'll Need

  • 40-gallon opaque plastic storage tub
  • 6 hydroponic net baskets
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Garden hose
  • Fish tank bubble mat
  • Fish tank aeration pump
  • Plastic tubing for a fish tank
  • Hydroponic nutrients
  • pH meter with a probe
  • Vermiculite
  • 6 plants to grow hydroponically


  • University of Arizona Agricultural Department Website: Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes
  • University of Arizona Agricultural Department Website: Hydroponics
  • Simply Free Plans

Who Can Help

  • The Glass is Too Big Website: Setting up a Hydroponic Herb Garden
Keywords: Liquid nutrients, hydroponic gardening, increased crop yeild

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.