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How to build your own hydroponic system: A beginner's guide

Nov 3

Hydroponics: How do I start?

Are you interested in growing hydroponics at home, but aren't sure how to begin? Are you thinking of making your own system of hydroponics in St. Louis using up-cycling materials at home? Growing your own hydroponically at home is the best option to reduce costs. You'll get fresh, healthy produce all the time.

There are a lot of different hydroponic systems. We will concentrate on the easiest-to-understand one in this article. We are going to explain how a Deep Water Culture hydroponic system is constructed and how you can build one for yourself in no time.

What's the most effective hydroponic system for novices?


Deep Water Culture (DWC) is the easiest type of hydroponics system you can build and maintain at home. In this type of system, plants are grown by submerging their roots directly in nutrient-rich water. For home gardeners, the best way to accomplish this is by growing in large, opaque storage containers, or buckets. Commercial growers use rafts which are floating on a bed of water. These function as conveyor belts that has young plants on one side, they are moved along until they are ready for harvest on the other side.

The absence of moving parts or the possibility of recirculating water means that DWC systems are quite easy and affordable to construct. The water in DWC systems is not circulated and remains in the reservoir for the duration of the plant's life. That means you need to be able to aerate the water to replenish the oxygen used by the roots.

The air pores in the soil provide oxygen to roots. In hydroponics systems that recirculate, water is aerated as it circulates. This can be corrected in the DWC system using an air pump attached to the system (used in fish tanks).



What is my DWC system's maximum capacity for growth?


The best plants to plant in DWC systems are Lettuce, Kale, Chard, Bok Choy, Basil, and Parsley. They aren't heavy. In DWC systems, the roots are not well anchored which means that growing taller plants like tomatoes could be difficult. If you decide to grow them, you'll need the proper support to keep the plant on its feet.

How to create a DWC hydroponics setup at your home



  • Container or bucket to store items

  • Net pots

  • Airpump with air stone

  • Hard Water Liquid Nutrients (A & B)

  • pH Down

  • pH Meter

  • Measurement of beaker

  • Pipettes

  • Hole saw for arbor

  • Drill



1. Pick the correct container for your needs


Many people have found that deep storage containers as well as buckets work well for these types of systems since the greater the depth of the reservoir of water, the more stable the nutrient solution will be. Fluctuations in nutrient concentration and pH are more likely to occur in smaller reservoirs, you will need to replenish your water more frequently. The light should not be able to enter the container, or else there is a good chance that algae could grow in the water.

2. Drill holes in the lid of the container.


The plants can grow in net pots. These are pots with plenty of holes that roots can grow through. The next step is to drill holes into the lid of the container, in which the net pots will be put. This requires the only specialist tool needed for this build-the-hole saw, these are quite affordable and user-friendly. To keep them from falling through, the net pots must be larger than the hole.

3. Assemble your air pump

  • The reservoir has to be free of the air pump. The check valve is provided with the air compressor. This makes sure that water does not back up after it is turned off. It must be kept above the water level in the event that it does not come with one.

  • By using a length of tubing, connect the check valve to the airstone. Be sure that the check valve's arrow faces toward the airstone. Then connect the check valve with the air pump the same way.

4. Fill the reservoir, add nutrients and adjust the pH

  • It is likely to be heavy when fully filled. Before you fill it, make sure to decide where the container will go. Fill it to about full water, leaving about 1-2cm of space on top.

5. Make sure the system is assembled.

  • Connect the air pump and place the air stone inside the reservoir. You're nearly done!

  • It's easy to add your plants, I placed some plants planted in Rockwool plugs in the net pots. Although seedlings can be grown in soil, we recommend choosing a medium that's not messy. A cleaner solution is to use Rockwool plugs and hydroton clay pellets.

This is a great way to create a hydroponic system. We would love to see your efforts on Facebook.

Indoor Earthworms offer vertical agriculture to city dwellers in their homes and at work. Our goal is to help people become more involved in the cultivation of food and to promote healthy, sustainable living. Get in touch with us to inquire about our services for offices and homes.


The Indoor Earthworm
510 W Hwy 50, O'Fallon, IL 62269