Due to rising awareness and preference to healthier and natural products, people are considering more wholesome and safer alternatives in the production of food. Most health-conscious individuals prefer to grow their own food to make sure that they are no contaminants and harmful chemicals in them.
Hydroponics is the exact fit for today’s health needs. Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without the use of soil. Hydroponics systems were used in commercial food production in a large scale setting – mostly, in industries. But today, it has been increasingly done and used in small scale farming such as in home gardening. The best results arrived in horticulture are products of the effective systems of hydroponics.
There are six basic types of hydroponics systems, namely, the Wick, Drip, Ebb and Flow, Water Culture, Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT, and Aeroponics. The difficulty of creating these systems at home depends on its complexity and your skill or availability – that, considering how far are you willing to go in accomplishing with this project. Simpler systems can be made out of every day materials. More complex systems may require more equipment and mechanisms to work. Remember, though, that your chosen system must suit you and your lifestyle and, of course, the plants you are willing to grow at home.
The simplest among the systems involves the Wick method and the Drip method system. The most complicated is Aeroponics which involves growing your plants without a medium and suspending them in air. NFT, on the hand, is less complicated but also involves suspension of some part of the plant, its root, and running a film of nutrient-enriched water under it.
You can create a Wick system in a jiffy by using a bucket and using it as a holding tank for the liquid nutrient. The growing medium you use and placed over the growing tray, such as pea gravel, will act as wicks carrying the needed water and nutrient solution from the tank to your plant. The Drip variation can be made by adding a submersible pump and installing it in the holding tank. The pump should run according to a timer which regulates various intervals for the nutrient solution to drip at the base of the plants. The excess nutrient liquid that drips off runs back into the holding tank for recycling. An air pump is also needed for aeration.
Do note that in adding your growing medium, it needs to be washed or pre-soaked. Make sure to plant the seeds properly in the growing medium. The mixture of your nutrient solution should be according to the instructions on the packaging. Most mixtures are in a ratio of 1/4 to 1/2 fertilizer-water ratio during the first two weeks of plant growth. Mixing it in the holding tank can be repeated whenever it is necessary. Strength of the mixture and other specifications may vary according to plant type or specie.