Beginning Hydroponics

Something we have become interested in is hydroponics and aquaponics. This is beginning hydroponics 101. We are experimenting with several different models. All on the CHEAP side, using what we have on hand or can purchase relatively inexpensively.

We started all of our seeds in dirt (later to be washed off) until about an inch and a half to two inches tall.


Beefsteak Tomatoes
Beefsteak Tomatoes and Parsley

From here, each little plant is carefully removed from the dirt and washed. I only broke a few during this process. From here they go into their very own portion cups with root holes, cotton and small rocks for support and stability.

The beginning of our hydroponic farming.
The beginning of our hydroponic farming.

As you can see we are using a small under the bed storage type tote. I think it was like $7 at the Family Dollar store here in town. We traced the cup sizes for spacing and for hole cutting. We can fit 27 plants in this tote. It does have small holes in the handle (we didn’t find these until after we filled it with our plant solution). Time to break out the hot glue fun and pronto! Whew – disaster averted.

Plant solution…..what’s that you might ask. We use a fish emulsion mixed into plain old water. Why fish emulsion? Because, it what we used on the garden all season last year and we have it on hand. Remember, we are beginning hydroponics on the cheap. 

We put everything under the growlight. He light is approximately 6 inches or so from the plants. We got our light from Home Depot the fixture was $14 and the T-8 bulbs were something like $8 for 2. Since this is more or less an experiment we only bought two bulbs. You can buy a whole box of bulbs for about $30. You will want to use either T-8 or T-5 bulbs as they have the correct “grow colors”.

As always, I’ll keep you posted along the way. If you’re thinking of beginning hydroponics and have questions, please ask away. Or if you have some tips for us, we’d love to hear them.

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