How to Design a Hydroponic Garden

Overview

Hydroponics is simply growing plants in a liquid-based growing medium without the soil. Benefits of hydroponic gardening include a more controlled environment without running the risk of introducing soil-based insects or diseases, complete control over the amount of nutrients each plant receives (no fighting with weeds for nutrients) and better control over the space used since there's no need for root spread. Starting your own hydroponic garden takes time and attention, but once running successfully, your new garden can yield excellent results.

Step 1

Choose plants for hydroponic gardening. Some types that are perfect for beginners include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs. Order seedlings for hydroponics that have been started without soil, or gently wash away soil from the roots in a steady flow of water, working at it with your hands until free of dirt.

Step 2

Use a hydroculture pot, a specially designed, double-walled pot, or a simple glass container for just a couple plants. Single plants in a container filled with marbles or polished stone make an interesting decoration.

Step 3

Anchor plants in the pot with vermiculite, gravel or rock wool. Each of these mediums offer no nutrients, but give the plant the same support that soil would.

Step 4

Mix the hydroponic solution per the instructions on the packaging. Hydroponic fertilizing mix will provide all the main and minor nutrients that a plant grown in proper soil would receive.

Step 5

Place the fish bubbler into the pot as instructed on the packaging for a fish tank. The bubbler allows a steady supply of oxygen to the plant's roots. Lay marbles, polished rocks or clean gravel over the support medium, if desired, for a more desirable look.

Step 6

Monitor the pH (or acidity) level of your solution on a regular basis, and change your solution as instructed by your particular brand, usually every two weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Hydroponic gardening is as much an investment in time and study as it is in setup. Keep logs of feeding, nutrient needs, solution changes and cleanings to avoid mildew and mold growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydroculture pot
  • Seedling plants
  • Water
  • Vermiculite
  • Marbles, polished stones or clean gravel
  • Rock wool
  • Fish tank bubbler
  • Hydroponic fertilizer solution
  • pH test kit

References

  • Introduction to Hydroponic Gardening
  • University of Florida: Grow Your Own Vegetables Without Soil
  • Arizona Agricultural Extension: Overview of Hydroponics

Who Can Help

  • Hydroculture Supply: Plants
Keywords: hydroculture garden, soil-less gardening, liquid soil garden

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.