Grow Hydroponic Fruits & Vegetables Tips
Hydroponics means growing plants without soil, using nutrient-enriched water instead. For the home grower, hydroponics is inexpensive and requires less space than a traditional garden, so it works well anywhere. There are a range of ways to grow fruits and vegetables hydroponically. A deep water hydroponics system is easy and cheap to make at home.
Make six holes in the lid of the plastic storage container with the 1 3/4 inch hole saw. There should be at least 1 inch between each hole.
Drill a 3/8 inch hole into one side of the container using the hand drill. The hole should be about one inch from the rim. Fill the container with water and keep it at least 1 inch below the drilled hole.
Mix a nutrient-rich hydroponic formula into the water. Follow the instructions that come with the formula to mix the proper ratio of water to formula.
Run the black air hose through the hole. Plug the hose into the blue bar air stone and submerge the air stone in the water. A blue bar air stone is a piece of equipment generally used for a fish tank: it creates bubbles and makes the water more oxygenated. To prevent flooding, make sure the water level is above the hole where the hose is running through.
Connect the air pump to the open end of the black air hose (the part that is outside of the plastic storage container). An air pump is connected to the blue bar air stone and feeds the air into it through the black air hose. It is important for hydroponics that the air hose is black because it keeps the light out and prevents algae from growing. Preventing algae is also the reason why it is important to have an opaque storage container.
Plug the air pump into an electrical outlet. There should be bubbles in the water coming from the blue bar air stone.
Prepare 4-to 6-inch cuttings from the seedlings (young plants available from a garden store or nursery). Make the cut at the point where the seedling splits into two stems or at the base where its two biggest leaves are growing out of the stem. Make sure the cuttings are long enough to fit into the cloner and still allow the bottom of the stem to be submerged 1/8 inch into the water. The cuttings will be cloned into new plants, using the hydroponic system to develop their own root system.
Insert the cuttings into the foam cylinder inserts, which are cut to allow them to open into a “C” shape. Fit the inserts into the holes drilled in the lid of the container. The cutting is set into the center of the cylinder, and the foam closes back around it, securing the cutting in place. Roots will start growing from the cutting within the first week.
Tips: LED grow lights are substantially more energy efficient and instead wasting energy by producing high heat like conventional grow lights, the energy is instead directed to the plant in the form of light. In fact, LED’s work so well that NASA uses LED technology to grow plants in space. There are no ballasts or reflectors needed nor does it need any cooling and ventilation equipment as with HPS or Metal Halide lights. It works right out of the box! Also available in: bright white (6500K) for fantastic task or room lighting. The Red+Blue+Orange+White UFO LED outshines any 400W commercial light fixture and is 5 times more efficient than HID lighting.