Deep water culture hydroponics is the simplest form of a hydroponic garden. Plants are contained in vessels that float on a bath of hydroponic nutrient solution. Oxygen is supplied by an aquarium air stone that runs continuously. A water culture system can easily be set up using an aquarium (where you can watch the roots develop) or a plastic box and a polystyrene sheet that will float on the nutrient solution and hold the plants. Since plants are continuously in contact with the nutrient solution, there is no danger of damage to plants should a power or air pump failure occur. Lettuce, strawberries, and herbs grow particularly well in this system.
The deep-water culture hydroponic system is the most effective and easiest hydroponic system to use. It is suitable for plants of any size and can accommodate large plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers. And best of all, it is inexpensive and easy to build a system that you can use at home.
The system is based on a bucket that contains the nutrients, a net pot that holds the plant and a tube that serves multiple purposes. It is used to add nutrients, to drain the system, and to aerate the system by attaching it to an air pump.
The following materials are required to build this hydroponic system:
- 5-gallon bucket
- 10-inch net pot
- ½ inch elbow
- ½ inch grommet
- Clear tubing with a ½ inch internal diameter
- ¼ inch drill bit
- 13/16-inch hole saw
To put the system together, drill a hole at the very bottom of the bucket side, first using the ¼ inch drill bit and then the 13/16-inch hole saw. Then, insert the rubber grommet into the hole, insert the ½ inch elbow and attach the tubing. The tubing needs to be the same height as the bucket.
The system can be expanded to include as many buckets as there are ports on your air pump. To maintain the system, measure the pH and concentration of the hydroponic nutrient solution daily and adjust it as required.
Since each plant is contained within its own bucket, the nutrient and pH level can be maintained to the optimal level of each plant.
Pavel Sluka has been growing hydroponically for over 20 years.