Build a Home Hydroponics Container System

A home hydroponics container system is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding systems to build. A container system basically involves 1 or more plants placed in a container with or without growing medium and flooded with nutrient solution.

This home hydroponics system is distinguished from a passive hydroponics system in that nutrient solution is periodically added and drained much like an ebb and flow system. The 'container' usually holds one plant and is filled and drained with nutrient solution manually.

container hydroponics,home hydroponics Here is a picture of a home hydroponics container system growing a tomato plant. It is a plastic flower pot filled with pea stone with a drain tube atttached to the bottom side of the pot.

The attached tube at the top side of the pot was a later addition which I will describe later. I merely pour in nutrient water until the water level reaches the top of the growing medium.

And I used a clip of some kind to crimp the hose so it could not drain. After a half hour or so I would uncrimp the hose and drain the nutrient solution into a bucket to be reused.

container hydroponics,home hydroponics

And I did this 2 or 3 times a day. Easy isn't it?

Here is a similar home hydroponics system showing a plastic bucket with an outlet near the bottom controlled by a spigot. A plastic hose is attached to the spigot to drain the nutrient solution into a bucket for reuse.

container hydroponics,home hydroponics To use this simple home hydroponics system, close the spigot, dump the nutrient solution from the bucket into the container until the water level reaches the top of the growing medium, let sit for a set amount of time such as a half hour then open the spigot and drain the solution back into the bucket.

You may be asking at this point, 'Why go to this trouble? Why not place the plants in a dirt garden and be done with it?'.

You certainly could do that but keep in mind that this home hydoponics system shares all the advantages of other hydroponics systems: you have full control over your plant, less insect predators will attack the plants, there are no weeds to pull and they are protected from roving and hungry wild animals.

A system such as this would be ideal for growing your favorite vegetable in your home in a sunny location during the winter...

Building a Home Hydroponics Container Garden

Here is a list of needed tools and materials:

  • 1 plastic bucket or flower pot,
  • A length of hose about 1/2 inch in diameter,
  • 1 barbed water outlet fitting sized to fit the hose diameter you have selected or one plastic spigot sized to your hose diameter, with a screww nut,
  • 1 tube of silicon gel (I use the type made to seal kitchens and bathrooms),
  • 1 clip or something similar such as clothespins to crimp the hose if you are not using a spigot,
  • 1 rubber washer that fits over the water outlet fitting or spigot on the inside of the bucket,
  • 1 drill with bit sized to your water outlet fitting or spigot.

To build this system do not be put off by the directions, anyone can do this and I'm living proof. Below is a picture of the clip I use to crimp the hose and the silicon used.

container hydroponics,home hydroponics

container hydroponics,home hydroponics

After gathering the needed tools and materials, drill a hole into the bottom side of the plastic container about an inch from the bottom. Make sure you position the hole a little bit off the bottom so as to leave room for the spigot and rubber washer.

It may be easier to drill if you place a board on the inside of the plastic pot resting against the section you are drilling into so the plastic does not buckle making it hard to drill.

Insert the spigot into the hole from the outside and on the inside of the pot, coat one side of the rubber washer with a generous coating of silicon and place the washer onto the spigot or water fitting so the silicon side rests against the side of the pot.

Screw the plastic nut onto the fitting tightly against the rubber washer and silicon and let the silicon dry for however long needed - 6 hours or so.

And that is basically it! Attach the hose to the spigot and place the other end in a bucket. Fill the plastic pot with whatever growing medium you wish and you are all set for planting.

Looking back on the first picture of this page you can see a second hose attached to the top side of the plastic pot...

container hydroponics,home hydroponics Now that you have a working home hydroponics container system, the addition of this second hose along with a water pump attached to a timer converts this system into an ebb/flow, otherwise called flood/drain, system that is completely automated.

And that is exactly what I did to my container system. To do this attach a second hose to the plastic pot the same way you attached the bottom hose. Position this hose right at the level of the top of the growing medium. Connect the bottom hose to a pump which is connected to a timer plugged into an electrical source.

This seems easy enough to do but there is one very important bit of information you need to make this work properly...

The bottom hose through which nutrient solution is pumped into the plastic pot MUST be about one half the diameter of the top hose which drains the system back into the nutrient container.

Consider this: a pump will pump the water at a fast rate into the container. A pump's strength is rated by it's GPH or gallons per minute. So as the pump forces nutrient water into the pot it is pushed through at a rate which makes this input hose a virtual mini-firehose.

Once the water level reaches the top hose and begins to drain, this top hose cannot drain fast enough because its GPH is determined mostly by gravity and will be nowhere near the rate of the bottom hose. And I learned this from bitter experience.

Restricting the diameter of the bottom hose will compensate. Or you can partially crimp the bottom hose to restrict water flow. Just keep this little fact in mind and you will have a perfectly functioning home hydroponics system.

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