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How to make a homemade hydroponic culture

How to make a homemade hydroponic culture

You know what is a hydroponic garden? Also known as hydroponic cultivation or hydroponics, it is a system that is being used more and more all over the world, both at the level of large productions and at home. It is a way of cultivating different from what we are used to today, although it was actually used in ancient times. What makes it different and, as its name indicates, is that water is used as a base for crops instead of soil.

In EcologíaVerde we explain in a simple way how to make a homemade hydroponic culture step by step. Take note and learn how to grow in an easy and ecological way.

What is the home hydroponics system and its characteristics

The hydroponic growing systems are a set of techniques that do not use the soil or land to cultivate and care for plantations, but instead soilless agriculture water is used. Among the characteristics of hydroponic cultivation we find that it replaces the land or soil with the use of waterwhich can be made with very simple structures and make them more complicated as needed, and which works perfectly with a wide variety of organic cropsbut especially with herbaceous type plants and many types of garden plants.

It allows plants to be grown both indoors and outdoors, such as in greenhouses, rooftops, terraces, gardens or on land where the soil is not fertile.

Benefits and advantages of doing a homemade hydroponic culture

There are several benefits and advantages that we can find in hydroponics, which should be known to know what we can obtain and why it is considered part of an organic farming system, provided that good use of water is made. Thus, the main advantages and benefits of hydroponic cultivation are:

  • It is not necessary to have a lot of space, so it can be used at home and it is cheaper, since the land yields more and the cultivation is intensive.
  • It does not depend so much on weather conditions. This allows for more variety of crops throughout the year.
  • It serves so that the land rests and recovers from previous crops, gaining fertility again, so it is good to combine it with more traditional systems.
  • It is perfect for areas where the land is worn, infertile or there are few areas suitable for agriculture.
  • It is more difficult for plants to have pests, diseases and, in addition, there can be no weeds.
  • Constant adequate humidity is ensured.
  • The risk of waterlogging of the roots is reduced, since the water is graduated, while allowing the entire root zone to be irrigated evenly.
  • It greatly improves the quality and quantity of production.
  • Waste of water is avoided, as it is rationed and reused.

You can learn more about this system in this other EcologíaVerde article on Hydroponics, a more ecological and sustainable agriculture.

How to make a homemade hydroponic culture - Benefits and advantages of making a homemade hydroponic culture

How to make a homemade hydroponics step by step

If after knowing what it is and all its benefits you want to start implementing this method in your home, you will have to get a homemade hydroponic kit as they are sold in specialized gardening and agriculture stores, or collect the materials that you can reuse to create it.

Next, we explain how to make a homemade hydroponic culture step by step and for example you can do a homemade hydroponic tomato cultivationlettuce, radishes, basil and countless aromatic plants and herbs.

Material to make a homemade hydroponics

  • Dark container or box, such as a box or a basin, that is between 20 cm and 30 cm deep. It is better if it is dark or opaque so that the sunlight does not affect the roots too much.
  • Air pump, that is, a pump to produce oxygenation in the water, like the one used in aquariums. The oxygenation it will produce will help the roots to feed better and the plant to grow, as well as prevent water contamination.
  • Substratum with the right texture and nutrients for the crop you have chosen. In the store the specialist will be able to guide you better to choose.
  • nutrient solutionwhether they are hydroponic solutions found in specialized stores or made at home if we know what nutrients the plant needs.
  • Seeds, sprouts or germinated seeds of the plants you have chosen.
  • Wooden board or plank or the lid of the container or box itself, to act as a lid that supports the crops while allowing them to reach the water and protect both the roots and the water itself.
  • Plastic or rubber stopperit cannot be cork because it will be in contact with water.

Steps to make a homemade hydroponic culture

  1. Use germinated seeds, sprouts or cuttings, in fact if you are going to use new seeds that you have acquired new, you will have to germinate them first.
  2. Make a hole in the bottom of the box or container you have chosen. This hole is the one you will use to drain the container to do the water changes, so you will put the plug in it when you have to retain it.
  3. Fill the box with water without it reaching the top.
  4. Make holes in the lid, with the help of a small saw or a drill. The holes must be the same size.
  5. Place the roots of the sprouted seeds through the holes, being careful not to damage them, and allow them to be well covered in the water, but the stem to stick out.
  6. Secure the shoot with the chosen substrate, which will serve not only to give the plant stability, but also to better absorb the nutrient solution.
  7. Place the hydroponics in a suitable indoor or outdoor area, where it gets plenty of natural light but not direct sun for many hours.
  8. Place the aerator bottle to oxygenate the water, try to activate it at least every 3 hours for a few minutes.
  9. Add the nutrient solution to the water and substrate. Try to follow a calendar according to the needs of the species you cultivate; in the specialized store they will be able to guide you in this aspect.
How to make a homemade hydroponic culture - How to make a homemade hydroponics step by step

What is and how to make an NFT hydroponic growing system

There are several hydroponic systems apart from the one we have discussed. Some examples of the hydroponic systems that we can use are substrate hydroponics, the NFT system, floating root, aquaponics, aeroponics and the Cascade modular system, among others. Apart from the one we have mentioned, one of the most used is the NFT hydroponics system (Nutrient Film Technique or Film Technique or Nutrient Film).

It is a vertical system of channels or inclined pipes, which contains a constantly circulating nutrient solution. The plants are placed on the upper surface of the channel, in holes at the same distance, and the roots are always in contact, to a lesser or greater extent, with the nutrient solution. The slope allows the solution to fall from one pipe to another to a container that will be at the bottom, in which a water pump must be installed, apart from the air pump, to make the water rise with the solution again. up to the first channel, therefore the NFT hydroponic system is a closed loop.

It is advisable to get a system already assembled and install it at home on a suitable wall, where it can be vertical and fixed, or acquire one in the form of a pyramid, with shelves, which does not need a wall. You can too make a NFT hydroponics with several PVC pipes with holes, plastic pipes or hoses of medium thickness, a large container, an air pump, a water pump, a little substrate, the solution in nutrient water and the shoots.

Steps to make a NFT hydroponic system

  1. Make the holes and fit the pipes.
  2. Connect the pipes or hoses to the top pipe and the large box or container that will go on the bottom. Depending on the angle you give the system, you may have to place more hoses to connect the pipes between them and with the box below that will collect the water, depending on the design.
  3. Fix all the pieces well between them and the wall or support in the form of a pyramid.
  4. Add the water with the nutrient solution or film.
  5. Place and activate the two pumps.
  6. Place the shoots in the holes with a little substrate at the base and make sure that their roots touch the water.
How to make a homemade hydroponic culture - What is it and how to make a NFT hydroponic cultivation system

Tips for making a successful home hydroponics crop

These are some tips for growing with homemade hydroponics make it effective:

  • The size of the container that we have indicated is indicative, you will have to look for a container or several depending on what you want to grow and the quantity. You can opt for PVC-type plastic bar systems and metal structures. However, the optimal minimum depth is between 20 and 30 cm.
  • Keep in mind that the box or container must be opaque so that light does not pass through.
  • You will always need a system to ventilate the air in the container and oxygenate the water, so a simple option is an aquarium pump, but there are other ways. To find out about the options on the market, check with a specialized store.
  • The nutrients needed for most hydroponics are oxygen, sulfur, copper, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and nitrogen, among others. Most are achieved with continuous irrigation, but if you notice that some plants get sick, check the pH and composition of the water and include the necessary nutrients in the water if any are missing. Again in the store they will help you to specify it and solve it.
  • There are several suitable substrates for hydroponic cultivation, but pumice stone, sand, expanded clay, rock wool or vermiculite are usually used. In addition, organic fertilizer can be used.
  • Until you learn how to use this technique well, we recommend that you start using already germinated seeds, as it will be easier to grow.
How to make a homemade hydroponic culture - Tips to make a successful homemade hydroponic culture

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