Homemade Hydroponics – A Cheap Ebb and Flow System
There are many benefits to using hydroponics to grow vegetables and other crops. There are also many different ways to go about setting up your hydroponics system. Simplicity is always good so this article looks at the Ebb and flow method, one of the best and simplest methods you can use in developing a homemade hydroponics system.
Get Started With a Homemade Hydroponics System Easily and Cheaply
The Ebb and Flow, or Flood and Drain hydroponics system is easy to get started and can be very cheaply set up as well. To start with you need pots for your plants. Nothing fancy is required. The regular plastic pots used at gardens centers will work fine.
Next you need a large tray with a drainage spout already fitted or you can make one yourself with some plastic pipe. This spout should have a valve that you can open when it’s time to drain the nutrient solution. If you’re stuck just use a flexible plastic tube and a bulldog clip. Bend the tube over to cut off the flow like you do with a garden hose and secure it with the clip. Your plants will sit in individual containers inside of this tray and be flooded with nutrient solution so the sides of the tray should be about as high or a little higher than your plant pots.
The tray needs to be on a stand so the nutrient water can be drained into a container that sits under the tray. This stand can be purchased or you can easily make one from wood, metal or even plastic. You need a container to drain your nutrient solution into. You can use just about anything as a drainage container. A clean bucket will do.
The idea now is to fill the tray, which contains your plants in individual pots, with your nutrient solution. After the plant roots are well soaked you open the valve and drain the solution into your bucket and keep it for reuse. When it’s time to feed your plants again you simply pour the nutrient solution back into the tray.
How often you need to refill the tray depends on the growing medium you are using. For the Ebb and Flow method to work well it’s best to use a medium that holds plenty of air and water like Rockwool or coconut fiber. If you’re on a tight budget you can use aquarium gravel but you will need to flood your plants several times a day so the roots do not dry out.
Now you have a very basic homemade Ebb and Flow hydroponics system. Of course with a little more effort and expenditure you can make a system that incorporates a pump and a timer that will handle the heavy work for you and free up your time.
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