This article deals with 10 simple steps to make yourself a fully functional container for a hydroponic a herb garden.
I, myself prefer working with soil, but it started out by pure curiosity when I first started experimenting with this medium. Results are been very interesting and the nuances can be quite delightful, I’ll discuss this in more details in an eventual paper.
The soil is replaced by a nutrient-rich liquid environment in which the ”floating” plants grows. A large selection of the most popular herbs grows very well in such a space, however, the numerous challenges to face for the perfect balance from the distribution of nutrients, growing media and giving the best care to the plants in such an alien environment can be perceived as a steep learning curve.
Some might prefer just doing out and buy one but if you enjoy assembling and recycling material and working this to your likings, well it can be a very interesting project. Here is how you will go about building yourself a hydroponic herb garden.
1. We will need a container to begin this project. A plastic tub, an old aquarium would be fine to grow a small garden.
2. The plant’s pots will need to be supported inside of the container. Cut a piece of Styrofoam so that it is 1/2 inch shorter on all sides than the dimension of the container. This will allow the potted plants to float over the nutrient liquid while the roots are happily soaking in this solution.
3. To achieve this, cut a hole in the Styrofoam for each pot you will be using. Use a pencil to outline the diameter of each pot (if different sizes) and cut the holes so that the pots fit only halfway in so that only the roots of the plant”s roots are submerged in the nutrient mix.
4. Place the plants in the pots, filling them with inert medium up to 1/4 inch from the top. The most often medium used is Rockwool but vermiculite, perlite or small gravel can also be used.5. The nutrient solution is added to the bottom of the container. Unless you feel at ease at preparing your own mix, you can purchase a pre-mixed solution.
6. Place the Styrofoam in the container in the container, resting over the nutrient solution.
7. Place your plants in their net pots in the appropriate holes you have prepared beforehand.
8. Place a grow light above the container, centered over the plants. For herbs, the best lights to use are Halide lights. The light should be 12 inches over the plants at all time. Use chains with adjustable length so that you can raise the light as the plants grow.
9. Use paper test strips to verify the pH of the nutrient solution. The most favorable pH value is 6.0. If your pH is lower, you can calibrate the solution by adding a little vinegar. If you must raise it, you should use a small quantity of baking soda.
10. Keep a thermometer within reach to monitor the ambient temperature. When growing herbs hydroponically, keep the temperature between 65 and 80 degrees F (18 to 27 degrees C) at all time.