A big part of our day to day goals here at Taproot Hydroponics is to help bring the joys of hydroponic gardening to as many people as we can. We feel like for every single hydroponic plant out there, our community becomes stronger and richer for it.
To that end, today we will be focusing on 3 popular single plant hydroponic systems that are cheap, easy to use and highly productive. These are a favorite with our customers and we are happy to share them with you as well.
Before we get started, here are a few general notes to keep in mind for all of the systems below.
-All systems require the use of food safe black buckets such as the one featured here. This is very important as these buckets will not leach the saline from the nutrients and the light proof black color prevents mold and algae growth.
-All systems use special blue tinted tubing for water level gauges. This is to prevent algae growth while still allowing for visual identification of water levels.
-All systems typically require a water pH of 5.5-6.0 depending on individual plant needs.
1. The DIY Drip
The DIY Drip is an inexpensive new take on an industry classic. Using two black buckets and a clever air powered water delivery manifold, this system uses a low powered air pump to water the plant from the top down using it’s own catch basin as a reservoir. Depending on your plants needs, these units can be run on a timer for timed irrigation or left running with free flowing media for heavy feeding plants.
2. The DWC Bucket
The DWC Bucket has earned an industry wide reputation as one of the highest performing single plant systems out there. It is simple to use and like the DIY Drip above, requires just a single air pump to power. Just attach an air stone to your pump with a little tubing and drop it into the bucket. Next, place your rooted clone or seedling in one of the bucket lids (available in 6” 8” and 10”) with some clay media and set aside.
Fill the bucket with water and nutrients up until the point where it reaches the plants roots, but doesn’t fully submerge the plug if possible. Once you’ve got your water level set and your ready to go ahead and place the lid on the bucket. You’ll want to gradually lower the water level as the plants roots grow to keep them about ¾ of the way submerged.
3. The Kratky Method.
The Kratky method is by far the simplest system available for hydroponic gardening, and with no pumps or timers of any kind involved, also the cheapest and easiest to set up. The method is similar to a DWC operation, using the same bucket, lid and media, but different in that there is no aeration of the water and the nutrient solution is never changed.
Instead, the bucket is filled almost to the top with solution and air is provided to the roots as the plants drink and the water level decreases.
These features make it a good way to grow lettuce and other leafy greens, but plants of the fruiting and flowering varieties generally suffer under these conditions.
For a ready made system, check out the following link: