Setting up Simple Hydroponics

Basic hydroponics illustration from DIY Guides.

We decided to raise the bar this year from our aquaponics system, which provides us with fresh herbs and salad greens year-round, to include a hydroponic garden that will grow tomatoes all winter long.

Here's our already established aquaponics setup (freshly cleaned and replanted!):
Hydroponic gardening works just like aquaculture; but instead of getting nutrients from fish waste, hydroponics relies on added organic fertilizers to keep plants healthy. We got our setup from a neighbor, which utilizes a Hydrofarm fluorescent grow system and individual planters for our tomatoes.

Water will run out of the lower chamber and up over the individual pots, filled with pea gravel, and run back into the lower tank. We ordered a new grow light today for the system, and will be fully set up next week. Perfect timing, since the tomato seeds we saved are in the process of drying out for a few more days.

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.