- Growing Self Sustaining Gardens for Healthy Living

Growing with Hydroponics

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a soil-less growing method that suspends roots in nutrient water to achieve faster and cleaner growth without the mess of traditional soil-based gardening.  Using Aerators, misters or 1/4 inch space between the plant and the roots (as in the no-airstone Kratky Hydroponics method), plants typically grow faster with less root growth due to the readily available water and nutrients available in Hydroponics.  Compared to soil-based gardening, as nutrients are added to the water of hydroponic grow systems to maintain a healthier growth rate, plant produce is significantly enhanced and takes up in much smaller growing space than traditional soil-based gardening.

Another advantage to Hydroponics over traditional soil methods is the adaptability of Hydroponics to any given grow space.  Utilizing vertical grow tower units, grow shelving units, or fish-tank aquaponic grow top trays, one can easily adapt a Hydroponics grow system to fit any given container or grow space.

We hope you will enjoy the following videos as we discuss simple Hydroponics grow systems that we have developed and utilized in our own home-based Hydroponic Gardens, and we also provide tips for what vegetables grow best in what type of system.  Here we feature both an Ebb and Flow Garden Grow tower (where the water cycles in and out of the grow trays on a timer), a Deep Water Culture system (with roots suspended directly into the aerated nutrient water), as well as simple airstone-free Kratky grow trays which require nothing but nutrient water and lights to grow the small lettuce and herb plants to full-term.

Download our Free Quick Start Hydroponics PDF Guide


Unlock the Nutritional Secrets of Hydroponic Plants - Which Vegetables Grow Best in Hydroponics?

Hydroponic plants that provide a high nutritional value can vary depending on the specific nutrients you are interested in. Below is a list of some of the popular hydroponic plants known for their dense nutrient content and easy of cultivation in a hydroponic grow system:

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How to Monitor and Adjust PH and TDS in Hydroponics

As a general rule, if you are a beginning hydroponic gardener growing simple greens to get started, you may not need to worry about regulating the TDS and PH right away in your water. Since most vegetables do well in 5.5-6.5 and most tap water comes out around that level, it doesn't take too long for a good hydroponic formula to make the necessary PH adjustment needed for your plants.  However, if you do find that your plants aren't doing well in spite of putting the proper nutrient dosages into the reserve, then it's time to test TDS and PH to see if perhaps those measurements may reveal the cause of your problem. 

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How to Clean Your Hydroponic Grow Nutrient Reserve System

The residue in your reservoir can be algae, bacteria, fungi, or harmless calcium deposits with a white, scale-like appearance. If it's a dark, plant-based substance like algae or fungus, it's essential to clean it out to avoid issues.

While removing calcium is beneficial to prevent aeration device clogs, it's not as urgent as eliminating harmful fungi and bacteria that deprive your plants of oxygen and nutrients, leading to pump and dripper clogs.

This sludge is likely caused by light exposure and higher temperatures in the reservoir, which can be mitigated by keeping the reservoir cool and covered with a lid or black and white plastic (white side up). Adding hydrogen peroxide to your nutrient solution during reservoir changes can help eliminate the sludge, and cleaning the reservoir between crops is crucial to prevent its return. Diluted bleach or food-grade industrial cleaners are also effective options for thorough cleaning.

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Best Hydroponic Fertilizers

Deciding which fertilizer to use in your hydroponic system may be confusing.  Did you know organic fertilizers can stunt plant growth?  The trouble with organic fertilizers is they can be wildly inconsistent.  Organic fertilizers are derived from natural, organic compounds such as compost, manure and worm castings, but inorganic fertilizers are created using inorganic compounds made through chemical processes. As far as your plants are concerned, organic and inorganic nutrients are relatively the same and when you purchase a hydroponic fertilizer that was formulated to fit the needs of the specific plant you are growing, it can make a huge difference in the growth and overall development of your plant.

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How to Make Your Own Mini Hydroponic Garden

How to Build Your Own DIY Hydroponics


In this video, I show you a simple way to make your own hydroponic growing system by using a few supplies from Amazon and containers you have laying around your home. If you want to purchase the supplies mentioned in this video, Click the following Amazon link which lists all the Hydroponic supplies I discussed in my video: Creating a Mini Garden

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Hydroponic Gardens - Pros and Cons - Beginning Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using a nutrient-rich water solution instead. The plants are grown in a controlled environment where the temperature, humidity, and light are carefully regulated to provide optimal growing conditions. This technique can be used to grow plants indoors or outdoors, and it is particularly useful in areas where the soil quality is poor or where space is limited. Hydroponic systems can be simple or complex, and they range from small-scale setups for home use to large commercial operations. Some of the benefits of hydroponics include faster plant growth, higher yields, and reduced water usage compared to traditional soil-based farming methods.

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Do you need PH & TDS Meters to Grow Simple Hydroponics?

Simple Hydroponics - Do You Need a PH & TDS Meter?


PH is the measurement of Acidity to Alkalinity on a logarithmic scale from 0-14.  A PH reading of 7.0 is considered neutral, whereas a PH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than 7.0, and a PH reading of 8.0 is 10 times more alkaline than a reading of 7.0 PH.  Temperatures and the amount of hydroponic nutrients in a solution affect PH readings in the water reserve. Thus, it is recommended that if you are going to test the PH of your solution, you do it after you add nutrients and not necessarily before as the nutrient content in a reserve directly affects PH.  Algae build-up in a reserve can cause PH to go up during the day as it consumes acidic compounds like carbon dioxide. Higher levels of phosphorus and nitrogen decrease PH while higher concentrations of calcium and potassium in a nutrient reserve drives PH up. When the PH level rises above 7.5, it can lead to iron deficiency in plants as the alkalinity of a high PH can block the ability of the plants to absorb iron. 

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Growing Microgreens in Hydroponics

Why Grow Microgreens


Microgreens are baby vegetables that are approximately 1 to 3 inches tall. They are often grown from a variety of seeds and provide a dense nutrient content that is greater than full grown vegetables because the vitamins and minerals within them are concentrated in these baby plants.  While Microgreens are similar to Sprouts, they differ from Sprouts because they are harvested 7 to 21 days after germination whereas Sprouts are usually harvested between 2 to 7 days with both their stems and roots which are considered edible before the true leaves appear.  

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Tomato Burn - Brown Curly Leaves

Tomato Burn Problems in Hydroponics


Tomato burn in Hydroponics occurs when your nutrient TDS is too high. It results in brown spots developing on Tomato Leaves, highlighted with curled tomato leaves. The sooner you recognize the signs of nutrient burn on your plants, the sooner you can respond by quickly changing your nutrient solution, or diluting it 50% or more. To help plants recover quickly from nutrient, it is best to let them recover in pure water for a few days or a light nutrient water-base for a couple of weeks. Aquaponics can also be a good way to nurse your burned tomatoes back to good health. Learn more about Fixing Hydroponic problems here.

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Surviving a Pandemic Emergency through Home Grown Hydroponics

Surviving Coronavirus through Home Grown Hydroponics

With a national health crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic we are fighting right now, being able to provide your own food without the risk of grocery store contamination can make the difference between life and death. This video provides tips for fighting Coronavirus through home grown Hydroponic vegetables.

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Growing Hydroponic Tomatoes

How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes


Container gardening is a good way to grow tomatoes in a compact space, like on a porch or in a greenhouse, but one difficult task with growing tomatoes using the standard soil-based grow method is maintaining the proper water level for tomatoes as each mature plant can go through a gallon of water per day.  This is where utilizing a Deep Water Culture Hydroponic grow system with your container tomatoes can make all the difference in maximizing the yield you receive off of each tomato plant.  Not only can you more easily control the moisture levels in your Hydroponic grow system through the Deep Water Culture (DWC) method, but since the roots of your plants are suspended in an aerated nutrient reserve, you can more easily control the oxygen and nutrients supplied to your plants as well.

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How to Root Tomatoes in Hydroponics

How to Clone Tomatoes in Hydroponics


Designing a Cloning or Rooting Station for your Tomatoes and other plants is easily done with with ParkSeed's Bio Dome tray and a few other supplies from your local Hydroponics shop and Hardware Store. In this video, I show you how easy it is to multiply your garden plants through cloning stems in Hydroponics.

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Creating DIY Hydroponic DWC Coffee Pots for Hydroponic Tomatoes

Creating DWC Coffee Pots & Transplanting Tomatoes


Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in an aerated nutrient water reserve.  In this video, we show you a simple DIY method to turn a coffee pot into a small DWC Hydroponic reserve to start your plants. We also demonstrate how easy it is to transplant a small soil-based potted tomato plant into the DIY coffee pot Hydroponic system you can use to start your Hydroponic tomato plants indoors in the springtime for later planting into a larger DWC bucket system outdoors.

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Starting and Transplanting Hydroponic Beans

Starting Beans in Hydroponics - Germinating and Transplanting Beans


Beans can be difficult to germinate in Aquaponics if overnight temperatures in the greenhouse are not able to be held between 70 and 80 degrees. We found that if we use a Parkseed 40-Cell Bio Dome Seed Starter Unit and fill it with 1-inch Hydroponic grow cubes, water and a heat mat, the sprout rate for our Bush Snap Beans increased from 30% to 90% in just 7 days. Now we use these Bio Domes to germinate all of our Hydroponic warm season plants.

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Pro Tips for Growing Lettuce with Hydroponics

Hydroponic Pro Tip - Growing Large Lettuce Heads

Lettuce is one of the easiest crops to grow in an indoor Hydroponic grow shelving unit.  If you properly space your lettuce, ensuring it has the proper light and nutrients to thrive, you can grow beautiful heads of lettuce in nearly any indoor environment.

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Avoiding the 5 Most Common Hydroponic Problems and Mistakes

Problems in Hydroponics - Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes


If you can avoid these 5 mistakes beginning hydroponic gardeners make, your hydroponic setups will be more efficient and yield more produce.  Hydroponic Mistakes can increase your frustration in gardening and hinder your produce in the long run. Start your grow system with these tips and you'll be able to maximize your efforts in growing your Hydroponic garden.

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Harvesting Hydroponic Spinach

Harvesting Hydroponic Spinach


It is easy to harvest spinach leaves in Hydroponics. If you plan to use the leaves immediately in a salad, you can snip the leaves off the stalk and rinse them prior to placing them in a salad. If you plan to store the leaves for later use, it is best to keep the stalk on the leaves and bundle them together.

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Yellowing Hydroponic Leaves - A Sign of Nutrient Deficiency



A sign of nutrient imbalance in your Hydroponic Grow System is when the leaves on your plants begin to turn yellow. Because Hydroponic plants are completely dependent upon the nutrients you supply, it is important to recognize the signs of nutrient deficiency quickly so that you can correct it before too much irreparable damage is done to your plants.

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Hydroponic Seedlings - Splitting Duplicate Plants


If you are looking for a way to increase the seed germination and plant coverage that you have within your hydroponic grow trays, you can try double seeding the hydroponic rockwool cubes in your grow system.  While this can be a good way to decrease the number of grow spots in your system that do not have plants, one problem that occurs is when you have two or more plants sprout within the same grow cube.  While most gardeners advise people to snip off the excess plants, I learned a way to save them.  View this video where you can learn how to split out your duplicate seedlings to be able to plant them in another Netpot grow spot in your hydroponic trays.

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Solar Powered Hydroponic Grow Box


Whether you're living off-grid, or simply looking for an easy way to grow vegetables in your home, garage or greenhouse, this Solar Powered Hydroponic Grow Box is versatile enough to power off of a solar panel or plug into wall electricity.  As a portable grow box, it is able to fit in any small space that is at least 25 in x 19 in x 22 in.  As the heat generated by the grow lights maintains the grow box at 10 to 20 degrees above outside temperature, it is perfect for sprouting seedlings, growing lettuce and other small herbs in early spring or late fall.

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Windowsill Hydroponics Made Easy


Are you interested in Hydroponics but are not sure you have the space to grow a garden? Watch how you can convert an old peanut butter jar into a small garden planter for lettuce or other small herbs.

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Hydroponic Grow Shelf Trays - A Cheap Way to Grow Lettuce Indoors


This video demonstrates our simple 30-inch wide DIY Grow tray shelving unit and how we manage lettuce growth within the unit to maximize space and light. To create your own unit, use 75-watt Equivalent Daylight Spectrum LED Bulbs for the lighting, 10-Gallon Sterilite Stacker Totes (Modular Stacker line), 3-Inch Widlip NetpotsHydroton Clay Pellets Grow Medium and 1-Inch Rockwool Cubes.

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What Is Deep Water Culture Hydroponics?

Deep Water Culture is a method of growing plants by the root of the plants being suspended in aerated, nutrient enhanced water.  The advantage of the Deep Water Culture growing method over the traditional soil method is the fact that the root of the plants do not have to grow as large as they would in standard soil grow systems and can therefore grow in much smaller containers because the roots of the plants do not have to travel to find water.

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How to Build Your Own 5-Tier Strawberry Hydroponic Grow Kit

Mr Stacky planters for growing hydroponic strawberries and other small vegetables are a  good way to conserve space in your home or greenhouse.  In this video, I grew a few strawberry plants using the Hydroton Clay Pebbles grow medium. I learned that Strawberries are quite temperamental and prone to root rot so if you build an ebb and flow grow tower like this, it is best to keep your watering to a minimum. While I ran the timer twice a day in this Hydroton Clay Pebble setup, once a day is plenty of watering and you might be able to cut back to only a couple times a week.


Quick Start Hydroponics - Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes

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