Hydroponics: Reservoir method

Up here in Redwood we're receiving frost every night and expecting snow anytime. During these times when the garden doesn't produce as much we like, we have come up with simple instructions for creating a homemade hydroponic system.

To create hydroponics using the reservoir method is surprisingly easy. The first thing needed is a tub to hold the water and the plants, it can be a fish tank or a large bin or container. Following this, a sheet of Styrofoam should be cut out to the bottom dimensions of the tub with a quarter inch less than each dimension. Then, the plant pots should be appropriately arranged on the Styrofoam tray and traced in a formation that will allow each plant to get the light they need. Cut a hole in the Styrofoam along the tracings so that the plant containers can rest on the tray easily.

The next step is to get an air pump specific for the amount of water in the tub (be sure to measure how many gallons it takes to fill your reservoir). Connect the pump to the tub so the airline is well below the tray so that the oxygen flow can reach the roots of the plants.
The plant containers used can be filled with soil or another growing agent or they can simply support the seeds from falling in the water.

Make sure to supplement the water with nutrients depending on the growing material used for the plants. Once the air pump, tray and containers are complete, fill the halfway to two thirds with water and drop the tray in. Add the pots, and place a grow lamp overhead, turning it on and off every 12 hours. That's the basics for deep water culture hydroponics! We'll be back with more ways to keep your kitchen full of greens in the winter!

For detailed information on creating your own aquaponics setup, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.