Category Archives: About Hydroculture

How To Build A Glass Jar Aquaponics Herb Garden

How to build a glass jar aquaponics herb gardenThe biggest advantage to aquaponics is not having to purchase nutrient solution. Typically aquaponic systems are larger scale, but with the right supplies, you can build a simple single plant system to grow herbs. It’s simple to build and easy to maintain. Here’s how to build your own glass jar aquaponics herb garden.

What You Need To Make A Glass Jar Aquaponics Herb  Gardensupplies to build a glass jar aquaponics system

  • A large glass jar with lid ring
  • 3-inch net pot
  • Grow medium, I will be using hydroton clay pebbles
  • Beta fish
  • Aquarium water conditioner
  • Plant, clone, or starter cube with seed
  • Decorative rock (optional)

Steps To Building A Glass Jar Aquaponics System

You first need to determine what you want to grow. Herbs work best for this system. I will be using basil that I started from seed in rapid rooter. You can also use a clone or transplant a dirt plant.

Fill your large glass jar with water. If you plan on dumping the beta into the jar make sure to account for water that will be dumped in along with the fish. There should be about an inch of air left at the top to allow the roots and the betta to take in oxygen. Add the recommended amount of aquarium water conditioner for the amount of water in the jar. This is a good time to also add the decorative rock or beads if you’re going to use them.

After the water is in order, it’s time to add the beta fish. Since your aquaponics system is new it’s best to wait for about a week to let the fish waste start to build up. This is especially true if you’re transplanting a store-bought a plant that’s already several weeks old. If starting seed in your system, then it has plenty of time to build up nutrients. To start seed take your

When ready, make your plant and place it in the net pot. Spread the grow medium evenly around the plant roots. Place the net pot into the glass jar and screw the lid ring over the net pot.

Place your glass jar aquaponics herb garden in a place where it will get adequate sunlight and watch it grow.

Aquaponic Herb Garden

How To Maintain Your Glass Jar Aquaponics Herb Garden

Maintaining your aquaponics system is as simple as it gets. Feed your betta fish a small amount once morning and again in the evening.  Top off the water as needed, keeping some of the plant’s roots submerged.

Anytime you have nutrient rich water there is going to be algae growth. If your aquaponic herb garden starts developing algae, it’s time to rinse out the jar with warm water to clean it out. You can also run water over the plant’s root system to remove algae growth. When finished cleaning, refill the jar with water, add some water conditioner and put your fish and plant back in the jar.

9 Advantages Of Hydroponic Gardening

 advantages of hydroponic gardeningAbility To Garden  in Urban Areas, One Of The Greatest Advantages of Hydroponic Gardening

Over 3 billion people in the world live in cities. The need for homes, businesses, and infrastructure dominates, leaving little to no space for traditional gardens. You can pretty much put a hydroponic system anywhere. Hydroponics doesn’t require soil, so you can grow plants where you normally could not, like inside your apartment or on top of a building. Old abandoned warehouses are being renovated into indoor vegetable farms. Hydroponic gardening has allowed people living in cities to eat produce that is just as fresh as those living in rural areas.

Gardening in Undesired Environments

There are many places in the world that have plenty of open land, but lack quality soil or rain for gardens to grow. In addition to growing plants in buildings, simple green houses can be built to maintain a more ideal growing condition for the plants. One of the advantages of hydroponic gardening is you don’t need to have fertile soil for plants to grow.

Simple Maintenance

Hydroponic gardens often require less maintenance compared to traditional gardens. If the hydroponic garden is in hydroponic systema structure, you often don’t have to be concerned with animals or pests infiltrating that space. In addition, you will spend less time, managing issues such as weeds.

Easy Harvest

Since a hydroponic system’s design has endless possibilities, systems can be built for easy harvesting. Hydroponics systems are often built several feet off the ground, making it easier on your back when harvesting plants. No bending, or breaking, the simple solution!

Low water usage

This is an important advantage of hydroponic gardening due to water shortages in many areas. Water is often recirculated in hydroponic systems, and when not (such as non-recovery drip systems) it is only given to the plant in small amounts, meaningless is wasted. This also means less water is lost to evaporation or being soaked up by dirt.

Less Pesticides Usage

Hydroponics gardens inside a structure are less susceptible to pests, so there is often no need to use pesticides that could be harmful to the environment and our bodies.

Better Control Plant Nutrition

Since your hydroponic plants take in only what you expose them to, you have complete control over what they will receive. Different plants need different amounts of specific nutrient levels to perform at their highest plant function. When tailoring the nutrients to your plant’s specific needs, you will always have healthy plants for each growing cycle.

Faster Plant Growth

Traditional garden plants use a lot of their energy to expand their root base in order to take in enough nutrients. Since hydroponic plants have nutrients readily available, more energy is directed towards plant growth. This advantage is why a hydroponic plant will always grow faster.

Higher Yields

For the same reasons hydroponic plants grow faster, hydroponic plants produce higher yields. This means your able to produce more while using less space.

Choosing Quality Seeds for Your Hydroponic Garden

choosing seeds slideOften times the importance of using quality seeds are overlooked when gardening. Choosing quality seed for your garden may be one of the least expensive aspects of your hydroponic garden, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Many gardeners are gardening for the enjoyment, savings, to know where their food comes from, and also it’s quality.  One of the reasons I garden using hydroculture, and just garden at home in general, is for the quality of the produce. The best part of food, of course, is the taste. To be sure I get the best out of my garden, I make sure to use quality seeds.

Where Is A Good Place To Get Seeds For My Hydroponic Vegetable Garden?

During typical growing seasons, you can find quality seeds at your local hardware and grocery stores. These stores often stop selling seeds during the winter times so you may have better luck getting the best seeds for your hydroponic garden online. I For no particular reason it seems that I end up with most of my seeds coming from Burpee, whether online or from the hardware store when I stock up.

Picking Seeds For You Hydroponic Vegetable Garden

Not every type of vegetable is the same. For example, there are 7 different types of lettuce, with each having many different varieties. When choosing quality seeds from your garden there are many factors that you will need to consider.

  • The amount of overall space needed for the plants to grow.
  • The amount of space needed between plants.
  • The height the plants will get.
  • Days until maturity.
  • The size of the produce.
  • The growing conditions needed. 

Take a look at these 2 varieties of tomato plants.

Brandy Boy Hybrid
Brandy Boy Hybrid
Porter House HybridPorterhouse Hybrid
Quick Facts On Brandy Boy Hybrid:

  • Produces fruit 65-80 days after seed germination
  • Produces fruit throughout the life of the plant
  • Grows best in full sun
  • Plant height reaches ~75 inches
  • Plants should be spaced about 65 inches apart
  • Average ripen fruit weight can reach 14 oz.
Quick Facts On Porterhouse Hybrid:

  • Produces fruit 65-80 days after seed germination
  • Produces fruit throughout the life of the plant
  • Grows best in full sun
  • Plant height reaches ~40 inches
  • Plants should be spaced about 18 inches apart
  • Average ripen fruit weight can range 2-4 lbs.

The last 3 facts can make a major difference in both planning your garden and what to expect come harvest time!

With a little research choosing quality seeds for your hydroponic garden can be a fun process. With so many different varieties of each type of vegetable, there are several options to fit any almost any hydroponic gardeners criteria.

Growing Hydroponic Vegetables

There’s something special about growing hydroponic vegetables. Everybody has seen a typical backyard garden. It’s no surprise walking out into a backyard garden to find some wonderful vegetables, but what if you saw some of those same vegetables growing on their back porch? What if you saw some of those same vegetables being grown in the middle of winter, inside the house. Anytime I’ve shown my hydroponic vegetable garden to someone who has never seen hydroponics before, they’re pretty intrigued. Even cooler are the times we’ve had friends over for dinner and they’ve been able to pick the vegetables from my hydroponic vegetable counter top garden that they will soon eat.

Pretty much any vegetable that you can grow in your typical garden you can grow using hydroponics. What hydroponic vegetables will work for your situation can depend on a variety of factors. Those factors are space, lighting, time and of course funds. With that being said don’t think that anyone of those factors can hold you back from growing hydroponic vegetables. Single plant hydroponic systems can take up very little space and only need a well-lit window to grow. Simple systems take very little maintenance and don’t cost much. I’ve grown peppers, salad greens, tomatoes and some small root vegetables in hydroponic countertop systems. When growing hydroponic vegetables you get to control every aspect and can put together a hydroponic to fit almost any situation.

countertop hydroponic system

An example of a counter top hydroponics system.

If you have a little more space to utilize than you have a few more options. If you have some flat ground outside that gets sun about half the day, you can set up a nice spot to grow hydroponic vegetables. I was able to grow several types of hydroponic vegetables in different systems on my back porch. In my first back yard hydroponic vegetable garden I was able to grow broccoli, lettuce tomatoes, cucumbers and beans using 3 systems that took up a 5×5 area on our back porch. You can start growing hydroponic vegetables using larger hydroponic systems can also be done inside your home if you have some extra space. You don’t need an extra room; even a spare spot in your home can be turned into a place to start growing hydroponic vegetables. These indoor gardens most often need more than window light to grow. Unless you’re putting your inside garden in a place like a sunroom or a well-lit room with a skylight, your most likely going to need to purchase lights when growing hydroponic vegetable gardens inside your home. Also with some hydroponic systems the more plants you grow the larger the reservoir you will need. The cost of water isn’t the concern, more the amount of nutrients needed for more water. If you’re running into problems with the cost of nutrients when growing your hydroponic vegetables you may look into factoring in some aquaponics.

back porch garden

A few vegetables from my back porch garden.

Growing hydroponic vegetables is a rewarding experience for any reasons. There’s something to be said about knowing where your food comes from and what’s being used to grow it. You have the option to not use pesticides or other chemicals farming operations use. Hydroponic vegetables taste better, are fresher, and the satisfaction of growing something from a seeding to your dinner plate is amazing.

What Is Aquaponics?

The first hydroponic plant I grew was a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket. I had used an old paint bucket, a leftover air pump, and an old air stone I had used in my aquarium. Like many starting out hydroculture gardening, after my first plant success, I wanted to grow more. I wanted to try different plants, different hydroponic systems, and grow different types of plants. With the different systems, I had more reservoirs that were larger, therefore, I was purchasing more nutrient solution. I was running into a cost issue especially when it came to the larger systems. That’s when I started to explore the method of aquaponics.

How Does Aquaponics Work?

In aquaponics, fish waste is used to fertilize your garden. The water is pumped into the grow area and the fish waste is filtered through the grow medium. The filtered water is directed back into the reservoir for the fish. The fish waste provides the plants with all the nutrients needed to survive and the fish are in turn given the clean, recirculated water. Aquaponics creates a mini ecosystem where the plants and fish depend on each other to survive. You just feed the fish and let nature takes its courses. With aquaponics, you not only have an awesome plant harvest, depending on the type of fish you use you could harvest those as well.

aquaponics

An aquaponic reservoir with gold fish.

What Type Of Fish Are Used In Aquaponics?

What fish or plants you use in your aquaponics system is up to you, with not much limitation. You can use gold fish or ornamental fish, bait fish, or fish you can eat. There are many fish that can be used with an aquaponics system, though some work better than others. Talapia is popular because it is a pretty hardy fish, so it can tolerate different water qualities and conditions.  I’ve had great success using goldfish and they’re probably the most economical fish to use. With gold fish, you’re bound to lose a few, but at 19 cents you’re not out much. It’s best to learn a little bit about the type of fish you’ll be using. Different species like different pH, water temperature, and space.to make sure you not to overcrowd them.

Type Of Plants Used In Aquaponics

The plant choice for your aquaponics system is pretty much unlimited. I’ve grown tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash, melons and even flowers. As with other hydroculture systems, aquaponic systems can be set up in different ways.

Benefits Of Aquaponics

The benefits of aquaponics go past the fact that you don’t have to pay for hydroponic nutrients. Using aquaponics provides your plants with a truly organic form of nutrients, therefore, keeping things more natural. Also since the fish are affected by chemicals in the water no pesticides or herbicides are used, so your end harvest is both healthier and tastier. Your aquaponics could provide you your next meal; grilled fish and steamed vegetables anyone?

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil, instead using nutrient rich water. Often times a grow medium is used to stabilize the root system, anchoring the plant. Roots are in direct contact with the nutrient rich solution while also being exposed to oxygen. The plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it, and  in the right amount that it needs. Since the plants roots don’t have to search for nutrients  and there’s plenty of it, plants get bigger and grow faster.

Hydropnic Tomato Roots

Tomato roots after a couple weeks in a bubble bucket

How Does Hydroponics work?

Plants don’t need soil to survive. Water allows the roots of the plant to take the needed nutrients out of the soil and use it for growth. Since soil isn’t always the most fertile in all areas and plants use up the nutrients that are in the soil, plants use a lot of the energy expanding their roots system in search of more nutrients. This root expansion takes away energy that the plant uses for other growth of foliage, flowers, fruits and vegetables. That is why plants grown hydroponically in the right conditions will grow larger, faster, and taster better. You can tell the difference.

With hydroponics, plants receive nutrient rich solution directly to the plants root system. Along with nutrient solution the plant roots need to also be exposed to oxygen. Hydroponic methods and systems can vary from super simple to more complex. Many people think of big elaborate systems or grow rooms in a tucked away room when they think of hydroponics. That’s not always the case. Hydroponics is a growing trend with both backyard gardeners and commercial growers. On top of a better quality product, plants are exposed to less disease, chance of drought, and since plants grow faster they can produce more, quicker. What’s great is you don’t have to have special parts or some elaborate system to grow hydroponically. Even a pot filled with gravel and a plant watered by hand is growing using hydroponics. Over time hydroponic systems have become easier to use and the process much cheaper to do. It has really grown in popularity among those wanting to bring fresh grown produce to their tables and also their communities. Many older buildings in urban areas have been turned into hydroponic grow houses, providing urban areas with fresh local produce.

Looking to just try hydroponics on a smaller scale? There are systems out that there to meet everyone’s needs and budget. I recommend starting out with something simple, expanding tour knowledge and expanding from there. A bubble bucket system or compact bubble system is a great starter system. They are both easy to maintain, don’t need much nutrients, and don’t rake up much room. I will warn you though, hydroponics is addictive. Once you grow that first crop and discover all the advantages of growing hydroponically, you will want to grow more varieties and expand your garden!