What is Hydroponics?
Simply put, it is a way to grow plants using a mineral nutrient solution in water, without soil. While more complicated options may seem overwhelming, this system offers an easy-to-understand method that will inspire you to get started.
Without further ado, here's a cheap and easy way to begin your first window sill hydroponics garden!
Step 1: Materials
- 11"'x19" x3"-4" plastic tray (we used a kitty litter bin) or aluminum roasting pan
- 2 1/2' to 3' of 3/8" I.D. vinyl tubing
- plumbing sealant
- ~2"x4"piece of galvanized or fiberglass screen
- Perlite, gravel or sand- only inert growth media
- clamp or clothespin
- 1 gallon pitcher
- your choice of plant food solution
OPTIONAL: seedling starter tray or discs
Step 2: Constructing Your Tray
Drill or cut a hole that will accommodate your tubing into one corner of the tray.
Insert at least 2-3" of tubing into your tray. Now put a watertight seal at this entry site with your plumbing sealant, while also securing the tubing to the tray bottom.
After this has dried, use your plumbing sealant to secure your appropriately sized piece of screen over the tube entry. This will prevent particulate from draining along with solution.
Step 3: Add Your Growth Media
Add enough Perlite, sand or gravel to reach within 3/4" of the tray's top edge.
Use only inert growth media.
Step 4: Seeding
Place seed starter discs with seeds inside them or your started seedlings securely into Perlite or growth media.
You can place seeds in the media directly but they may move during solution wettings and may grow randomly and perhaps not where you initially placed them.
Step 5: Plant Solution
With the tube clamped to the top edge of the tray, add enough of your chosen plant solution from your pitcher to cover the growth media.
The solution will not drain when the tube is clamped above the tray top.
After your pitcher is emptied or the tray is filled, drain the excess solution by unclamping your tube and placing it into your pitcher that you have now placed below tray level so that your hydroponic setup may drain by gravity.
Repeat as necessary.