How to create a hydroponics system at home – types of systems and the first steps to your own garden
The world of horticulture is progressing and beaming with a lot of innovation. There isn’t a shortage of ways to grow crops for consumption or plants for ornamental function. As such, this development in plant industries paved the way to creating rising trends of hydroponics around the world.
For 2025, statistics predict a global value of around 12.1B USD from 2022’s current global market achievement of 9.5B USD. If you’re looking for the best time to gain knowledge and effective ways to raise horticulture, the time is now. Consider alternative methods such as hydroponic solution at home.
What is hydroponics
First, we need to define the term hydroponics. According to Merriam-Webster’s definition of terms, hydroponics means this:
“The growing of plants in nutrient solutions with or without an inert medium (such as soil) to provide mechanical support.”
Plants grow in many mediums. As there are thousands of locations worldwide, not all these places have the traditional soil medium to grow crops. This leads to the gradual innovation of alternatives to grow batch crops using other means.
All people are welcome to try hydroponic systems. If you’re a beginner in raising crops, you can find better and more efficient ways to grow crops. Who says you can’t start your own hydroponics system at home? Let’s discuss the ways you can grow crops in a soil-less fashion.
Different methods of setting up hydroponics at home
There are many ways for you to consider a hydroponics system at home. From the simplest setup to a more advanced method, it’s possible to grow crops at home with careful planning and maintenance.
Wick hydroponic system
The wick system is the most simple hydroponics at home for beginners. It is one of the most basic science experiments for children in school. In a wick system, the plants suspend from a growing medium on top. There is a nutrient solution and water reservoir below the growing plants. There are cotton or nylon wicks from within the reservoir leading to the suspended medium. These wicks will transport the water and nutrients towards the medium.
The wick system is a very straightforward and passive way to grow small crops. However, if you want to take note of the process, automated growing systems can help keep the wick system in an ideal condition for the growing plants. It’s possible to monitor and operate the wicking system to ensure that the crops are growing well.
Here are some things you need to set up Wick hydroponic system at home:
– container or growing tray for the plant;
– plant growing medium to grow the plant;
– reservoir to contain the nutrient solution;
– wick strips to dispense nutrient solution from the reservoir.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Another popular hydroponic method is the Deep Water Culture (DWC) method. If the Wick System is the beginner method of growing plants without soil, the DWC is the method that requires the least maintenance. With the DWC, the plants are more directly on top of the water and nutrient solution reservoir. The roots of the crop suspend directly in the reservoir, ensuring there is a constant source of nutrients.
The constant water source of the reservoir means you never need to water the plants again. DWC works well with smaller crops that are lightweight to prevent growing crops from submerging and drowning in the solution.
If you don’t have enough free time to maintain a hydroponics system at home, the Deep Water Culture might be for you. To keep a successful Deep Water Culture, it’s best to have an oxygen-rich solution for the roots and a hydroponic CO2 controller to monitor condition levels indoors.
Here are some things you need to start easy hydroponics at home with the Deep Water Culture:
– plant basket with net holes for the roots of the plants;
– plant growing medium to grow the plant;
– reservoir for nutrient solution;
– air pump for an oxygen source;
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) works on the principle of gravity to ensure that the nutrient solution drains down to the reservoir. The NFT is set up like this: the roots of the plants absorb from a shallow nutrient solution inside a growing tray with a drain at the end. There’s a reservoir below with a pump that transports the solution upwards towards the growing tray.
Nutrient Film Technique benefits smaller crops that can grow fast and is easy to harvest. For the Wick System and the Deep Water Culture, a growing medium is necessary. In NFT, many growers can opt not to use any growing medium as there is a constant source of nutrient solution. NFT works best with small crops that take less time to grow.
While you want to ensure that conditions are ideal every day, you may not have the time to do so. The best thing you can invest in is an automated growing system to keep track of NFT hydroponics.
Get started with your first simple hydroponics at home using the NFT method. Here are some things you need:
– shallow growing tray with drainage at the end;
– growing medium for plants (optional for you);
– reservoir for the nutrient solution;
– pumping device to pump the nutrient solution from the reservoir.
Drip hydroponic system
Drip hydroponic systems are also popular due to their versatility. There is a growing tray above that contains the growing medium and the crops you want to grow, as well as the drainage.
There is a reservoir below that contains the nutrient solution. The tubes go through the growing medium, and the electric pump pushes the nutrient solution towards the tubes, dripping on the roots of the crops. Excess solution drains back to the reservoir.
One of the benefits of a drip hydroponic system is that it’s flexible for growing crops. You can opt to increase or decrease the growing media to retain moisture from the nutrient solution. With drip systems, small and large crops fit well in the mechanism. It’s easier to build larger systems for the drip hydroponic system than any other method.
Here are some basic things you’ll need for the drip system:
– growing tray with drainage at the end;
– growing medium and crops;
– reservoir to hold the nutrient solution;
– electric pump and tubes.
Did you know you can use mist or air to grow plants? It turns out that plants also thrive with the proper use of air. In an indoor aeroponics system, plants are housed in foam containers, exposing the roots. There is a misting system to dispense nutrient-filled droplets towards the roots of the plants.
Imagine a room with suspended plants without any growing medium, leaving the roots naked. A misting system showers through the walls, and there’s a collection container for excess droplets. Aeroponics systems work well with a broader range of crops and plants all year round.
Managing rooms of suspended plants using the Aeroponics system can sometimes take a lot of work to manage. Nutrient solutions within the misting systems should always be correct to secure the growth of the crops. The Aeroponics system works more efficiently with an environmental controller indoors. What better way to manage location conditions than having a control device to give real-time feedback on plant growth?
Here are some of the basic things you need to apply an aeroponic system as your hydroponic method at home:
– container for suspended plants;
– reservoir for nutrient solution;
– misting system and tubes to distribute the nutrient solution indoors.
Benefits of hydroponics systems
In reality, not all locations have nutrient-rich soil to grow crops. Hydroponics serves as an alternative solution to grow crops and plants. These are some of the most prominent benefits of using a hydroponics system at home.
Better growth rate than soil
As much as the soil is the traditional method of growing plants, it’s not the most efficient way all the time. Hydroponics is a more straightforward method of plant growth. As different methods focus on giving the plant direct access to nutrients and water, the plants grow faster and healthier. As you can control current location conditions, growing plants thrive better with increased oxygen levels, less environmental stress, and more nutrient sources.
Competition is typical in soil planting. If you want to grow crops all year round, expect that other plants will compete with your growing crops. In hydroponics, there are no weeds that can ruin and obstruct the growth of your plants.
Less water consumption
The soil requires a lot of water and moisture. As lands run deeper, you’ll need more water levels to reach the deepest root systems of some crops. With hydroponics systems, directly feeding the water to your plants means that you need less water. All you need is a reservoir of nutrient solution that goes straight to the plants.
How to prepare for home hydroponics
If you are a beginner in growing crops, planning your hydroponics system is necessary to grow healthy plants. Here are some steps you can take to plan out your very first hydroponic system at home:
- Step 1: Choose the crops you will grow
The first step to take is to select the crops you want to grow. While hydroponics is viable for many locations and indoor setups, compatibility is the key to growing the plants. The different methods of hydroponics still require work like traditional soil growing. The only difference is some setups fit some crops well, and others may hinder efficient growing stages.
- Step 2: Set a budget for the hydroponic system
It takes a bit of budget to set up your hydroponic system. You’ll need to spend on some devices, items, and plants. Remember, you are substituting the typical soil with another setup to grow crops. Depending on your budget, you need to narrow down the hydroponic system you want to use.
- Step 3: Select the best hydroponic method
It’s time to select the best hydroponic method for your crops. Never forget, you don’t need to limit yourself to one method, as long as you can maintain growing your plants. Set up your hydroponic method and start growing the plants.
It’s not a requirement for plants to grow on soil. Hydroponics is thriving due to innovations and developments in finding ways to grow plants. You don’t need to own a large plot of land to start growing your own crop garden.