Introduction: Deep Water Hydroponic Garden Builder's Guide

Picture of Deep Water Hydroponic Garden Builder's Guide

Deep water culture is the oldest hydroponic gardening system, and one of the simplest, a platform of planters simply floats in the nutrient reservoir while the roots of the plants dangle in the advanced nutrient solution. Deep water culture hydroponic gardening is basically a highly oxygenated bubble system that emits super oxygenated advanced nutrient solution directly on plant roots. A deep water hydroponic gardening system will allow you to provide nutrients to plants immediately, so plants will experience stronger growth.

The deep water culture (DWC) hydroponic gardening system is one of the simplest hydroponic gardening systems to build. If you’re a beginner, this is an easy and inexpensive way to get started and it’s ideal for a hydroponic gardening beginner project.

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Materials for Your DWC Garden

System
5 Gallon Bucket - $12.97
6” Mesh Basket - $7.01
Single Outlet Air Pump – $11.97
Air Stone - $5.21
Check Valve - $1.38/2pk
5mm/20” Airline Tubing - $5.99/25ft

Lighting
Grow Light Clamp Reflector – $9.99
Full Spectrum CFL Bulb 45 Watt 5500K - $7.99

Supplies
General Hydroponics Flora Series Nutrient Supply - $37.49
2lb Bag of Clay Pebbles - $8.30
30pk Rockwool Starter Cubes - $10.48
Hydroponics pH Kit - $16.21

Step 1: Prepare the 5 Gallon Bucket

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Use a power drill to drill a 1/4” hole in the top of the bucket about 1” from the top for the ¼” airline tubing.

Materials required for this step:

· 5 gallon bucket

· Power drill

· ¼” drill bit

Step 2: Prepare the Air Stone

Picture of Prepare the Air Stone

Cut two 18” length pieces of airline tubing. Attach one piece of the airline tubing to the air stone and place the air stone in the 5 gallon bucket with the stone surface facing upwards. (Note: Remember to leave enough airline tubing so that the air stone will rest in the bottom of the bucket.)

Materials required for this step:

· 5 gallon bucket

· Air stone

· 5mm/20” airline tubing

· Scissors

Step 3: Attach the Air Pump

Picture of Attach the Air Pump

Feed the unattached end of the airline from the air stone through the top of the 5 gallon bucket and connect the open end of the airline tubing to the check valve. Attach the second piece of airline tubing to the opposite end of the check valve and to the air pump. Verify bubbles are coming out of the air stone. (Note: Attach check valve [arrow pointing toward 5 gallon bucket] outside of the bucket.)

Materials required for this step:

· Single Outlet Air Pump

· 5mm/20” airline tubing

· Check valve

· Scissors

Step 4: Prepare 5 Gallon Bucket

Picture of Prepare 5 Gallon Bucket

Fill 5 gallon bucket ½” above the bottom of the mesh basket with your advanced nutrient solution and attach the mesh basket to the 5 gallon bucket. (Note: After the roots have grown a few inches below the mesh basket, it is recommended you lower the level of nutrient solution to about 1/4" to 1/2" below the bottom of the mesh basket.)

Materials required for this step:

· General Hydroponics Flora Series nutrient supply

· Hydroponics pH test kit

· 5 gallon bucket

· 6” mesh basket

Step 5: Plant Your Seedling/Cutting

Picture of Plant Your Seedling/Cutting

Place your cutting or seed into the net cup and cover the rockwool starter cubes and roots with clay pebbles. (Note: Seedling is placed inside rockwool starter cube prior to being placed in clay pebbles.) Learn more about seeds and propagation…Get your copy of the Hydroponic Gardener’s Journal Today!...and go from seed to harvest in 2 months.

Materials required for this step:

· 2lb bag of clay pebbles

· 24pk rockwool starter cubes

Step 6: Modifications

Picture of Modifications

The system described in this Hydroponic Garden Builder’s Guide™ is just one example of an infinite number of possibilities. We’ve listed a few simple modifications you can easily implement into your project.

  • Add a solution level gauge by simply adding a 1/2" rubber grommet, a 1/2" elbow and a short piece of see-through blue vinyl tubing.
  • Also, these systems can be linked together with a central reservoir using 1/2" rubber grommets, 1/2" barbed fittings, and 1/2" vinyl and/or pvc tubing.
  • Add a trellis for support. Great for growing peppers and tomatoes.

Visit GrowFoodEasy.com for more simple & easy to understand guides, tutorials, video lessons, recipes, tips and tons of great hydroponic gardening resources.


Step 7: Recommendations

Air pump - We like these pumps from Hydrofarm although similar models are out there, these give the best bang for the buck. Get the single outlet Active Aqua 50GPH pump for a single bucket deep water kit. Hydrofarm air pumps promote proper gas exchange, expel harmful gasses and introduce fresh, oxygen-rich air into your plant’s roots.

Water pump - We like these pumps from C.A.P. although similar models are out there, these give the best bang for the buck. Get the Xtreme Water 270 75GPH pump for smaller reservoirs. C.A.P. pumps operate reliably in the harsh environment of nutrient salt laden water.

Check valve - Important accessories for air pumps. Check valves will protect your air pump by preventing nutrient solution from back siphoning during a power outage. Place these valves in your airline tubing between your air pump and reservoir to prevent water returning down the airline.

GH Flora Series - The original 3-Part Building-Block Nutrient System, contains all primary, secondary and micronutrients required for balanced plant nutrition. Made from pharmaceutical grade minerals, Flora Series is formulated to be the finest balanced and pH buffered fertilizer available. We encourage you to develop your own nutrient plan by learning your plants and participating in the community at www.growfoodeasy.com.

Grow cubes - Plant your seeds in rockwool cubes and it will be easier to transfer the delicate seedling roots into your bubble bucket hydroponic garden.

Clay pebbles – Contrary to belief these “rocks” are common hydroponic medium, not just ordinary rocks. These pebbles help roots maintain the correct amount of nutrients and moisture and also assist in preventing disease.

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Comments

Tmcfall2012 (author)2016-01-18

Is there any way i can make a smaller set up. Like a 1 gallon. I live in a small apt so need it small

GreenBiteHydro made it! (author)Tmcfall20122016-01-23

Absolutely! The 5 gallon bucket reservoir can be substituted with a 1 gallon container using the setup described in our GrowFoodEasy DWC Guide. Here's the link to a food grade 1 gallon bucket reservoir: http://amzn.to/1nGHb5a

seamster (author)2015-10-27

Good instructions, than you for sharing!

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