Plants require certain nutrients to grow and flourish. Sunshine and water provide essential elements to plant growth. Many necessary nutrients exist in garden soil. Hydroponics is the practice of gardening without soil. An aero garden utilizes hydroponics to produce healthy plants. Aero gardens are one type of hydroponic kit available for purchase. Building your own hydroponic garden provides an inexpensive way to create an aero garden. Enjoy this fun method of gardening by following a few basic techniques.
Use a Styrofoam cooler to provide a waterproof container for your hydroponic garden. Buy four or five small seed pots for starting seeds indoors. Select pots that have numerous drainage holes to allow room for roots to extend toward the solution tank. Purchase or borrow a small pump, such as those used in fish tanks, to incorporate oxygen into the water.
Cut small holes in the lid of your Styrofoam cooler to allow insertion of the small seed pots. Cut one extra hole to provide room for adding hydroponic solution. Insert the seed pots into the lid, pushing down until the rim of the pot is level with the upper surface of the lid.
Mix up your substrate. The substrate provides the necessary material to support the growing plants. Use equal amounts of perlite and vermiculite to form a soilless planting medium. Place an even layer of substrate on the bottom of each seed pot.
Purchase hydroponic solution mix from your local garden center or online supplier. Mix the solution according to the package instructions. This solution provides necessary nutrients to your plants. Place your hydroponic setup in a sunny location. Fill the bottom of your Styrofoam cooler with the solution, leaving a small space between the bottoms of the seed pots and the top of the solution. This air gap provides necessary oxygen for germinating seeds.
Place your pump into the solution and adjust to a low setting. The pump pushes oxygen through the liquid solution to encourage adequate amounts of oxygen to plant roots. Plant your seeds in the seed pots, adding a little solution to each pot to encourage germination. Watch as the seedlings mature and form roots that extend into the nutritious solution.