If you are an avid gardener or wish to grow large amounts of flowers, fruits and vegetables, a hydroponic system is ideal for you. When planning a hydroponics system, it is best to start small before using it for large amounts of crops, in order to completely understand all the steps and work out any glitches. This will help you save money and time in the long run. Consider some key factors when planning out a hydroponic system, such as location, budget and what you are growing.
Decide what type of vegetation you are going to grow with the hydroponic system. Popular items to grow include flowers, decorative house plants, vegetables or fruits. Crops that grow well in hydroponic growing systems include tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, marigolds and petunias. All house plants, except for cacti, do well hydroponically.
Make a sketch to figure out how large you need or want the hydroponic system to be. This all depends on how much available space you have and what you are going to grow. Keep in mind to start with a small to medium size portable system. For example, a 5-gallon bucket with a 3-gallon growing container is an ideal size for growing a tomato plant or two pepper plants. A 5-gallon aquarium will easily grow eight 4-inch pots of salad greens. For flowers, you can grow almost double the amount in these containers.
Pick a grow site for the hydroponic system. This depends on if you want it indoors or outdoors. For indoors, keep in mind that you will need to use artificial lighting.
Pick what growing medium you want to use, which can be found at any gardening center. This may depend on specific crops you grow, but in general multi-use growing mediums are recommended for long-term crops, such as trees or houseplants. The other growing medium is a one-use growing medium such as perlite or vermiculite that is thrown out right after harvesting the crops. Although the one-time use mediums are much more inexpensive, the multi-use mediums have longevity and nutrient retention.
Pick out a pump for aerating the roots in the nutrient solution, such as an aquarium pump. This is a part of the hydroponic systems that should not be a cheap purchase. Invest good money for a good pump in order to make it last and provide top quality performance. A medium aquarium pump is adequate for any portable home hydroponic system.