My Hydroponic Project……uncharted territory

The setup empty

The setup empty

kale tub b

kale tub b

kale tub a

kale tub a



Today is 01/09/2013. I just planted my first plants in the jerryrigged, deep water culture, raft system I have come up with. This is an easy to do setup, minimal expense…as far as hydroponics go anyways.

I make a lot of green energy drinks, and use a lot of parsley, kale, choc. mint, lettuce, besides all the citrus , etc. I’m trying to go raw, as much as possible, but it’s a process. I figured , if i can grow some of the more expensive and most used plants , in an organic, hydroponic way, then I will have the best of nutrients available , and save $$$$.

For the small, simple system I have at this point in time, it should recoup the investment in 3 months, maybe less. This is what I spent:

Good 4 outlet air pump…….$27.95Bag of hydrogen…expanded clay pebbles….$10.99,                                                                                          3 inch net cups….24 @ .42 …$10.08                                                                                                                 air stones……….$6.00                                                                                                                                           25 ft. of air tubing, black…….$5.00                                                                                                                          Plants………………a couple packs and a 6″ parsley plant, I divided……..approx $8


To buy hydroponic lettuce, and herbs is out of this world in price at the grocery store, and I just won’t do it. $5 a head of lettuce…………..yeah right. But , of course I want the best, so stubborn me decided to do something about it. I watched utube for a month , seeing how other people did their simple systems.

Of course, once I get over the learning curve of making a bell siphon….much like how a toilet works, then I will do a flood and drain system, possibly above my aquarium….utilizing the pump for the aquarium. For now this raft system will do. With the raft system, if requires no water pump…only air. it’s drawbacks are……you have to plant same type plants, so one doesn’t rob another of nutrients, as the roots float in the water. Basically you do it in batches. I wanted to do a batch of lettuce, but could find no packs of lettuce to buy, and the seeds I started are not ready yet.

Sooooo…I did two tubs of kale, and one of parsley. I got the parsley from a well picked 6″ pot I have feasted on for a month. It looks very sad. I cut it up into 5 pieces, and we’ll see if the hydro system revitalizes it.

You have to rinse off all the soil from the plant’s roots, and then plant in the net cups, in the clay pebbles. I used a combination of some ‘tea’ the hydro store people gave me a sample of and some miracle grow liquid to start off. I will make my own ‘tea’ once I find a source of rabbit manure. I plan on making my own concoction with rabbit manure, compost, and some fish water.

I had 3 solid grey tubs, so used them to start. i scrounged cement blocks and three 2 x 4’s in approx 5 ” lengths for the shelf. I spray painted the shelf so it looked like I had a lick off sense, and wasn’t a redneck. Maybe a yuppie redneck…is there such a thing?????  I had styrafoam from my redneck air conditioner project, for the rafts. I did surgery on them with a vicious kitchen knife and cut the holes out with muscle and a wide mouth funnel. I cut a notch off a corner for the air tube to pass through. You have to make it snug, or alaege can grow and upset the apple cart, hydroponocally speaking. You don’t want light to reach the underside, and the air helps to keep ickiness from growing and your roots white.

I hope I did it right……will do weekly updates on the progress.

UPDATE:  Now it’s 04/18/2013…The project is over, and I will be hitting the road for a visit to family in Pa. It was interesting, but i didn’t really have enough light available for it, so plants didn’t thrive as well as I would have liked. Much better to do this sort of thing in a green house.

  1. Maureen said:

    That’s really cool! I look forward to seeing how it works out. Are you doing this on wheels or at your home?

  2. Shannon said:

    I love your setup! Very nice. If you already have an aquarium, why not aquaponics? It’s almost the same as what you have but the water goes to the fish, recirculates to the plants that it is fertilizing, then back to the fish. You only have to replace 7% of the water a week. Thanks for sharing. Shannon (Vandweller Group).

    • That was the original plan, but I did the other setup till I got a wire shelving unit to mount it all on. Plans have changed, and I have sold the aquarium, to keep my life more ‘mobile ready’. I didn’t have enough light for the hydroponics to thrive, so have dismantled and packed it all away for now. Outside planting is going on now, as the weather is straightening out.

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