A few month ago i came across an article about a guy who want ,my country(Singapore) which is a dense island state to be more self sufficient in our food supply buy using hydroponics to grow vegetables on the roof of all the buildings in Singapore.
This sparked my interest which led me to this little project. A huge percentage of the cost of your fruits and vegetables came from the transportation and keeping it fresh for the journey by refrigeration which also cause lots of co2 emmisions.
So the closer the source of food it is to you the better.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is growing plants in water instead of soil .
It has many advantages over traditional growing such as it requires less water as water could be recycles instead of letting most of the water flow into the ground,easier to control its nutrients, no need for pesticide offers much higher yields per square foot and the best of all able to grow indoors without attracting disgusting insects.
Step 1: Parts/costs
Things you need:
container(needs to be opaque) i got mine at ikea for around $3
2' net pots $3.20 for 10
nutrients $15 for two 1 liter bottle
medium(i used clay pellets)$2 for a big bag.
Air Pump (Cost depends)
Air hose (came with air pump)
Air Stone ($3)
Seeds or plant
Step 2: Cut Holes
drill holes on the container cover for your net pots.
Step 3: Water and Air!
Drill a small hole on the container for the air hose.
Add air stone.
Mix nutrients with water according to the instructions on the label (usually 1 part nutrents to 100 part water)
Fill up till it almost touch the bottom of the net pot.
Step 4: Plant 2 Pot
Put plant onto the net pot and cover it with the clay pellets.
BTW, if you don't know how to germinate seeds,Just bury some in soil, 1 inch deep, water regularly.
when the plant is big enough, uproot it gently as not to do too much damage to the roots and wash off the soil attached to the roots.
Step 5: Put Everything Together
1.Net pots on Cover.
2.Cover on container.
3.On the air pump.
How much Simpler can it be?
Step 6: Light Source.
Choice 1 is the sun as first choice as it is free but i live in a small apartment so i can't use this option.
Choice 2 is Fluorescent light bulb .2 85w white bulb is more than enough for for a small system like mine.Plus it's also quite cheap.
Choice 3 is LED,the one i'm using right now.The only reason this is third is cost.the one that works costs a couple hundreds of dollars and the cheap ones(like the ones on the side in the picture) are almost completely useless.Led is good as it uses very little electricity yet has high light output.plus it focus on the specific band of light required by plant(red and blue) thus is very efficient.(my light uses only 35 w )
also if you are using and artificial light source,i recommend you buy a timer to switch the light on and off for you.
Also don't give your plant more than 16 hour of light a day.
Step 7: Give Some Time
Give it some time to grow!