Introduction: My First Hydroponic Plant (Beginner's Guide)

Start your very first miniature hydroponic plant! A recommended guide for beginners who both loves planting and technology. I'm going to show you how to make one in less than 15 minutes, out of household materials! Our tiny "Hydroponic System" kinda cost us $5-7.

Since our goal is to make this eco-friendly we hooked it to my 3W solar panel + powerbank, similar to my "Portable Solar Charger" guide. This guide is great for school projects such as: science fair and investigatory projects


Our Investigatory Project (GRADE 8 - IP):
Originally this project was documented for our "Investigatory Project" last year, about: "The Feasibility Of Growing Crops In A Hydroponic System" Our . I.P. was quite a success, caught some attention and got the highest grade in class.

So the problem goes like this: Today’s rapid growth of human population causes the lack of available space for crop agriculture. The traditional method for planting crops requires labor intensive methods such as: tilling lands, watering crops on a daily basis, using unhealthy pesticides, fumigating the crops. Scientists say that “vertical farming” is the future of plant agriculture, although soil is very hard to transport, especially in tall building. Hydroponics is done to have better control of the nutrients being absorbed by the plants and makes planting on rooftops more convenient and easier


Recommended Seeds/ Plants:
- Tomato Seeds/ Plant
- Mung Beans/ Plant (We used this one)
- Chili Pepper
- Bell Pepper
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For the plan to succeed I need to have a number of viewers from YouTube, Facebook & Instructables. Thank you for your cooperation!

Step 1: Gathering Your Tools and Materials

Parts & Materials: (Some links are just alternative, I bought mine for $5)

- Recycled Container (Free)
- Controlled Fertilizer ($1.00)
- DC Water Pump ($4.00)
- A Cheap Mini Funnel ($0.10)
- Aquarium Tubing ($0.40)
- Water Flow Valve ($0.20)
- T-Shaped Splitter ($0.10)
- Super Glue/ Epoxy ($1.00)

Recommended Pump Kit: DIY Water Pump Motor Water Pipe Power Supply Set ($12.90)
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Tools & Equipment:

- Leatherman Multitool (Gift From: Instructables)
- Rotary Tool (Dremel/ Black & Decker)
- Permanent Marker
- Soldering Iron
- Hot Glue Gun
- 12inch Ruler

Step 2: Installing the Water Distribution System in Your Funnel

Our hydroponic setup uses a simple water drip system. Water needs to reach the plant, also needs to get distributed evenly.

1st.)  Drill a hole on your funnels side for the T-splitter.
2nd.) Measure the inner circumference of your funnel and cut a strip of tube [Formula: (2)(π)(r)]
3rd.)  Slit some hole on your tube using a knife, be sure to slit it on 5 even sides. Use a ruler!
4th.)  Connect your tube on the T-shapped splitter
5th.)  Apply a few drops of super glue to mount your assembled drip system (tube) on your funnel

Step 3: Glue the Assembled Funnel to the Cover

This is a three step procedure, be careful in handling knives and hot-glue.

1st.)  Trace your funnel on top of your container's cover
2nd.) Use your leatherman's knife  to cut a hole cleanly
3rd.)  It's now time to warm up your gluegun and mount the funnel to your container's cover. Be sure to seal in the gaps!

Step 4: Installing Your Water Pump

There are some factors to consider in buying water pumps, the AC (outlet type) consumes a lot electricity and isn't compatible with solar panels, the DC (battery type) can be easily hooked to a solar panel w/battery, providing free electricity 24/7.

If you plan to hook it up to a solar panel, I recommend reading:  DIY Portable USB Solar Charger ($20)

Okay lets get started! What I have here is a non-submersible water pump, which I found from my inventory. I had to drill a hole on the container in order to add a pinch valve (water flow valve). The pump is slightly elevated since it is not water proof. 

Step 5: Finalizing the Setup

I saw this pack of fertilizer lying around my our garden, it was my dad's. It's a typical complete & controlled fertilizer for general purpose. For my setup, I just dropped 2 table spoons of fertilizer. If your concerned for your plant's nutrition, there are some fertilizers designed for hydroponic setups found in Amazon.com 

Use smooth pebbles to hold your plant's roots, make sure they are tucked in firmly.

Step 6: Soil Planting Vs. Hydroponics

Here's the result of our experimentation for our investigatory project (school project). You can find a significant difference between the soil plant and the hydroponic plant. The hydroponic plant started as the underdog. As time goes by, it managed to surpass the growth of the soil planted plant.

Bottom Line: Plants planted on a hydroponic medium, grows faster [Hydroponic Wins!]

Our I.P. Presentation
& PDF Guide Is downloadable below! Cheers & Goodluck!

Comments

author
swaldo (author)2015-10-05

you know you could of used just a fish tank pumb (air pump)and a round disk air stone.it puts alot more air into the water.ive had no issues with that set up had a unbrella plant in it for 1.5 years.I did have to clean out the jug every other week to keep the algae down.nice set up u have though

author
Maccay (author)2015-05-03

Outstanding project! This is something that I would like to introduce to my 3rd-5th graders. Did your plant grow to fruition? If so, how was taste compared to store produce?

author
legamin (author)2014-03-12

this week we're starting our DIY deck to support a very weight intensive hot tub... That said I am planning to build a natural 'layer/oxidizer' type gravity pump filter system to siphon off the water that accumulates in the form of humidity under the seal over the tub to feed my green house hydroponics system. I like the further step you have included of using solar power and deep cycle marine batteries to operate the on demand pump for this system. (Just a note for others.. Make sure that you do NOT alter any part of your new, under warranty, $30,000.00 hot tub. If you make a boo boo and call the dealer for service, it will all end in tears! Instead try to find a 'work-around such as a gradual wedge that VERY slightly lifts one side of your cover to fit the 1/8" hose through yet keeps the humidity seal intact only siphoning off a minor amount...'nuf said til I post my own instruct able on the matter!,

author
Zenki (author)2014-02-09

Great, i'll give it a try the next boring weekends :)

author
kakashibatosi (author)2014-02-03

might want to graph using moor dissimilar cookies (ex: red and blue). hard to discern.

author
TP_inc (author)2013-12-02

Great! But unfortunately I probably can't do this till next spring because there is already 3 foot drifts up here in Canada

author
cfiorante (author)2013-11-01

My app works fine on the instructable but hydroponic is still old and not as worth while as aquaponic which needs no expensive plant food to add to the water it only uses waste from the fish in the tank and it grows a lot faster

author
wilgubeast (author)cfiorante2013-11-15

Aquaponics is cool, but willingness to try it depends on how many organisms one feels capable of caring for. :D For neophytes, this is a great way to begin experimenting with using alternative growth mediums and allows them to focus on keeping the greenery alive and balancing nutrients without frying the plants.

As a beginner's guide to a first hydroponic setup, I'd call this a resounding success.

author
ASCAS (author)cfiorante2013-11-02

Well in mass crop agriculture, control over water & nutrients is essential. My next hydroponic system will run with an Arduino as it's MCU controller for the flow of water and the release of fertilizer.

author
azharz (author)2013-11-10

Once more time an awesome instructable from you

author
blueyebri (author)2013-11-02

Awesome deal!! I plan to do aquapontics with my vegatables for the insects ate them up in the ground. Thanks for the info.

author
ASCAS (author)blueyebri2013-11-08

Thanks! And yeah, I'm making a larger version of this for my watermelon plant. The insects ate my watermelons which led them rot. Hopefully raising the plant indoors with a hydroponic system will do the trick!

author
Mirnatarek2002 (author)2013-11-02

This is awesome I like your creativity I like this project it is wonderful and very useful because I tried to plant lots of plants normally but they didn't turn out well .Voted!!!

author
ASCAS (author)Mirnatarek20022013-11-02

Thank you very much! :D I hope you like my other projects

author
BigWeezy (author)2013-11-01

Okay glad to know I'm not the only one who is crashing. You've got some good ibles, and if you cycle through the pictures you can usually get around it

author
ASCAS (author)BigWeezy2013-11-01

Are you guys using IOS? I tried to view it with my Android phone and works just fine. Anyways I'l report that to instructables.com

author
Samuel kos (author)2013-11-01

This intructable crashes the app :(

author
ASCAS (author)Samuel kos2013-11-01

Haha lol XD That's unfortunate at the same time ironic, since this ible only has 6 steps and doesn't even have a video :)) The app needs updating.

author
Samuel kos (author)ASCAS2013-11-01

Well I've already explored hydro and just wanted to check it out but the app does need updating...

author
henal (author)2013-11-01

I want to read it but stupid app keeps crashing after the 5th picture of some thing

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Bio: Hi I'm Angelo! I am a 18 y/o college sophomore taking my majors in BS-ECE at the DLSU. I use my course as ... More »
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