“The word hydroponics comes from the roots “hydro”, meaning water, and “ponos”, meaning labor.”
As we enter the world of hydroponics, lets just first see what it all about and why we should seriously take a look at setting up something for our homes.
What if, now just imagine, but what if I could tell you in this day of water restrictions and the likes, that you can in fact grow all the plants and veggies your family needs, with less water (about 5% of regular soil requirements) AND grow fish/crustaceans all year round to boot? No soil (yep no soil!), so no air borne worries, no weeds, no digging, more plant space, better control over pH and nutrients, saves water, less laborious, healthy, just simply set up correctly and watch the life grow before your eyes! Most of you by now are probably thinking, this guy has either swallowed too much fish poop or maybe not enough 😊 Well, you can and I did 😊
Let’s have a Captain Cook at some simple set ups we can all manage at home.
DWC: Deep Water Culture and BUBBLE BUCKETS
In a DWC system, a plant’s roots are suspended in a well-oxygenated solution made up of a mixture of water and organic nutrients inside a reservoir or bucket with an air stone attached.
- Oxygen: Because the roots are submerged in water and not soil (which has macro and micro pores where air resides), the water needs to be well oxygenated so the plant doesn’t drown, hence an air stone and pump.
- Water: This is one of the reasons growing hydroponically is so awesome and for those worried about water restrictions – you only use around 5% of the water needed for traditional soil growing.
- Organic Nutrients: A good quality soil contains all of the micro and macro nutrients that a plant needs to survive and thrive. Because there is no soil only a growing media, we need to supplement the oxygen-rich water with organic nutrients so our plants can grow and be happy.
With deep water culture, most of your plant’s root system is dumped in water 24/7 so the need to have highly oxygenated water is paramount to success and for the health of plants.
How to set a Bubble Bucket System up:
Firstly you need to source these items:
- 5 Gal black bucket and lid
- Air Pump and Stone
- Air tubing (4-6mm)
- 5 Inch net pots
- 13mm 90 degree elbow fitting
- 13mm clear tubing
- Growing Media (expanded clay is best IMO)
- pH and PPM metre
- Place the net pot upside down on top of the lid, mark out with a marker pen and using a drill and jigsaw, cut out the hole for the net pot to sit in.
- Using the same drill and bit (12mm), punch a hole in the side of the bucket about an inch from the actual bottom, push the 13mm clear tubing over the joiner, and slip that into the hole with some liquid detergent so it goes in easier and doesn’t damage the hole. This is your drainage point and also water level indicator. Rotate the clear tubing so it is vertical along the bucket to view water level and then rotate it horizontal to empty. I use the handle as a holder for it or you can add on a hose clamp.
- Using a smaller drill bit (4-6mm) drill a small hole on the side, offset to the pot for the air tube and stone.
- Connect the air pump to the 4-6mm tubing, then add the airstone and place the airstone in the bucket, try and centre the stone.
- Fill up the bucket with water and organic solution.
- pH check the water, adjust if needed up or down.
- Fill the pots half way with expanded clay.
- Let the seedling soak for 5 mins in a bucket of distilled water with a dash of seaweed/worm wee in it for root shock mitigation. Gently and I mean gently, wash the soil off the roots.
- Using one hand to stabilize the seedling, start to add in the rest of the clay balls until the pot is filled up. Place in the lid gently.
- Once your plants roots start to hit the water, you’ll see a BIGGA BOY explosion of growth. The plant uses less energy growing roots so your plants just simply suck up as much water and nutrients as they need.
Would you like to know more? Contact Suburban Farmer for more information.