I want to set up a hydroponics system but don't want to buy commercial nutrient or medium.

Can i just flood the soil the plant is growing in for a temporary portion of the day? I don't have a problem with the pump, just buying the nutrient / medium. Can i just use soil and wet it down really well once a day and then drain it (out the bottom)? Would floating soil in the water being circulated through the system work? I could empty water / put more soil in on a regular basis.

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Rotten1948 years ago
If you're using soil, it aint hydroponics. You seem to be describing an ebb-and flow system. That should work fine with growth medium. With soil, I'm not sure. Soil has a tendency to clump together when its too wet, suffocating the roots and hindering or killing the plant. Instead, I would use clay pebbles/clean gravel as a medium and hydroponic fertilizer or even normal fertilizer dissolved in water for nutrients.
Another type of hydroponics is aquaponics. Aquaponics is 100% organin meaning no fertilizer. Aquaponics uses an aquarium with fish, fish produce nitrates and nitrites from crapping in the water. Plants use nitrates for growing = clean fish tank and simple organic hydroponics. Im sure you can use any method of hydroponics setup weather u use ebb and flow, top drip, flood and drain... ect
I'm not sure why you don't want a commercial nutrient solution. The stuff I bought was only about $10 and will make hundreds of liters.
Please share where you get your nutrients.  I have found nothing that reasonable anywhere....Thanks
nope! the different nutrients will bind to one another in water, and will turn into a salt that is insoluble to the plant if you try to recirculate soil run off. If you float your soil, your nutrients will leach out into the water. Normal fertilizer dissolved in water also wont work because different nutrients are released at different times according to how they are bound chemically and some are more water soluble than others. This means you'll end up with more of one nutrient available than another in your water, and there's a good chance you'll end up with both nutrient toxicity and deficiency. If you don't want to take care of your plants as much and don't want to buy medium or nutrients, I would say your best bet would be making yourself an earth box. Hydroponics takes a lot of time, money and know how to do properly and even then it can be tricky at times, so don't start until you're ready or it will be a waste of time and money.
SdaMaster8 years ago
if you want spicier habaneros build a greenhouse around your pepper plants the more hot and humid the hotter they are when picked!!! send me a pm if you want ideas for one plant greenhouses
Ceefa8 years ago
If you have access to an aquarium, you might like to google aquaponics which is basically using the water the fish swim in to circulate through your hydroponics system. The waste the fish produces turns to ammonia and normally one has to clean the tank and refresh some of the water at regular intervals. By pumping it through gravel the bacteria changes the ammonia into a food that the plants use and in turn the plants refresh the water for the fish. All you have to do is feed the fish - and pick the produce. Even the soil you use will have to have nutrients replenished from time to time.
Toulouse (author) 8 years ago
Thanks guys, I was only interested in this because I am resistant to buy anything for this project.... I am trying to grow spicier habanero peppers...maybe hydroponics is not what i'm looking for.
In Holland some growers use coco coir which is the coconut fiber in place of traditional mediums like rock wool. It is very similar to soil except for commercial production after the first year it retains too much water with less air that can be a problem for some crops. What might be a better idea for you is to use drip irrigation that will have your plants on precise irrigation schedule and can be similar to the wick system of hydroponics or double dutch pots. This system uses two buckets in each other with a like a shoe string running in the medium above in the first bucket to the water below in the second bucket and can be optimized by adding an air pump to the second bucket. This system can be done with soil. Hydroponic system to this version would replace the string with a pump set on a timer to move water from the bottom pot to the top at intervals of time by your choosing. Other systems can be cheaply constructed like the ebb and flow which can be manually or by pump done. This system is done by using gravity as your aid to move the water out the pot as the pump moves the water up to the plant from the reservior. Other system nutrient flow technique (NFT) and aeroponics. Aeroponics yield usually the best results but the steps from soil to hydro to aeroponics each increase plant growth but every degree you go higher in the same order the risk that the crop goes bad by minute problems increases as well. Soil is the easiest to handle stress and problems while aeroponics can wipe out a crop instantly. Hope this helps. Growing plants also depends on your skill level with different systems.
Good day, As a studying horticulturist there are two ways you can proceed from here either by making your 1.)own chemical fertilizers by mixing the nutrients from scratch your self making an A and B mixing tank 2.)or to produce natural fertilizers like compost tea and worm tea. Chemical fertilizers used can be sulphuric acid, chelated iron, ammonia, urea, magnesium(epsom salts), nitric acid etc but some chemicals can not be mixed together without the water be added for these not to react. If mixing chemicals your self i recommend a chemical background so that percise formula can be made. A more precise list if substances used can be obtained as needed let me know as i focus more on bio-dynamic and organic myself. For organic liquid fertilizers a worm farm can be purchased or made. The concentrated liquid at the bottom can be used in your hydroponics system. Brewing compost tea by adding compost to water and bubbling for 24 hours prior to use is also quite good. Other methods include the dissolving or hydrolysis of food items that are high in particular nutrients like oats into a liquid that can be used to feed your plants.This can be aided by beneficial bacteria. When using hydrolysis bear in mind the nutrient value of the products used will affect nutrient levels in the tank. Other natural products that can be used include molasses, sea weed extract and humic and folvic acid dilutions. Fish emulsions can also be useful. Hopes this helps Bless
akosin8 years ago
What I did for this is I bought an aerogarden, grew for about 2 weeks took the pods out panted them and returned the aerogarden
Putzer8 years ago
You'll get what you put into it, which isn't much if I'm understanding you correctly. If you are using soil, why not just stick with soil and forget about drowning thew plant everyday?
trf Putzer8 years ago
i dont know? Mayebe he wants the extra growth and health to the plant..but still better off to just plant it in that case
cutt8 years ago
Clean playground sand from Home Depot or Lowes for the medium and Rapid Grow or just about any water soluable fertilizer will work just fine. Flood the sand medium with the nutrient solution and let it drain twice a day.
plumber_bob8 years ago
The thing about hydroponics is that you have to identify if your plant is a heavy feeder or what amounts and kinds of nutrients it requires. I have seen kids do science projects with hydroponics and little fish are all that is needed to provide the nutrients for the plants. It's a recycling thing. There are plenty examples of this within easy searching distance. I'm thinking that lettuce and things like that are in the lighter feeding categories, an might be the way to start. Fresh veggies are the best! Hope this helps you.