Step 4: Conclusion and Results
Some Cheap Alternatives
I wanted to go all out and get some real hydroponics equipment but it's not needed. My old system, as stated above, used tap water and just liquid fertilizer (~$3.50) as nutrients to grow an aloe vera plant and did fairly well. Instead of expanded clay, or any other hydroponics media, I just used some aquarium gravel I bought for a few bucks. Instead of buying a light, you can use the sun as long as there is a good location that receives a decent amount. You don't need to spend a lot of money to make your system work. Buying good equipment does provide benefits but it is definitely not needed for the amateur hydroponics enthusiast!
I decided to order some small herb plants online since starting them from seeds taking way too long and is often quite difficult. I got my plants in the mail and transplanted them. The cilantro started to droop and most of the plant died off... but! there was one little sprout in the middle that survived! In a few days it doubled in size and then I noticed more little sprouts starting to grow, so it's coming back to life! The parsley is doing well, a leaf or two started to die off, most likely due to the shock of transplanting them. I was a bit rough trying to get the dirt off the root. The majority of the plant, however, is deep green and looking good. The basil is pretty small but is responding to the light and directing its leaves toward it. The thyme is surviving. No real signs of it flourishing though. I also bought a few small spinach plants but I haven't had time to make more containers for them yet.
After I had transplanted my herb plants I noticed that the nutrient solution was not coming up the whole way in some of the pots. This was due to the fact that one pot had less solution than the others, allowing it to push all of its nutrients up into the plant and bubble, releasing the pressure needed for the other pots push the water up. In order to fix this, flood the system by turning the pump on. When one container starts to bubble, add more water/nutrient solution to it. When you add more, it takes more pressure to make it bubble and allows the other containers to fill up higher. It took me a bit of filling up but I eventually got it all evened out.
I hope this is all straightforward!!! Message me with any questions or comments, I love to help!!! Thanks for viewing!