Hydroponics Systems

Essay by deedway November 2004

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1. Hand Watered Bucket

2. Water Culture System

3. Ebb and Flow System

HAND-WATERED BUCKET This inexpensive system is one of the Professor's favorites. It is probably the simplest hydroponics system on the planet. Simple yet effective, we have seen very impressive results achieved with this easy to build system. The series of holes that ring the bucket are about 1 1/2" inches above the bottom, this makes a small reservoir of nutrient solution in the bottom that will be wicked up to the plants roots by the capillary action of the growing medium. This system is perfect for large plants; it can easily handle a single tomato or pepper plant or a couple of smaller plants like lettuce or herbs. NOTE: With large plants you may need to supply external support to help hold the plant upright. This system can be automated with the use of a separate reservoir, submersible nutrient pump, a short cycle timer (one that can be set to come on for as short as a minute), an air pump & air stone as well as a little bit of drip irrigation tubing.

(See drawing on left)

Materials Required: 5 GALLON BUCKET (or equivalent water tight plastic container). Make sure that the bucket doesn't have any leaks in the bottom, it is important that the bucket holds water up to the point of the overflow holes.

GROWING MEDIUM - The Professor favors straight Prelate or a Prelate / Vermiculite mix for this system, however there is a vast variety of growing mediums that will work well.

FIBERGLASS WINDOW SCREEN (optional) - A small amount of window screen is handy to put over the overflow holes that you must drill in the bucket, this helps keep the growing medium from falling out.