Hydroponic Farming at Home: 9 Setup Steps and Tools

Do you want to embark on hydroponic farming at home but are unsure where to begin? Would you like to build your system out of repurposed materials around the house?

There are several advantages to growing hydroponically at home, not the least of which is that having a consistent supply of wholesome, fresh vegetables will eliminate the need for frequent grocery excursions!

There are several varieties of hydroponic systems, their advantages and disadvantages, and their impact on the environment. Check out our earlier blog post. We will discuss the easiest to understand in this blog post. I’ll walk you through the process of creating your own deep-water culture hydroponic system and show you how to do it quickly.

Which hydroponic system is ideal for beginners?

The simplest kind of hydroponic system to construct and maintain at home is the Deep Water Culture (DWC). Under this approach, the roots of the plants are directly immersed in water that is rich in nutrients.

This can be accomplished by home gardeners using huge, opaque storage containers or buckets for their cultivation. Commercial growers employ rafts that float on a sizable bed of water. These rafts function similarly to a conveyor belt, adding young plants on one side and moving them along until the other side is ready for harvest.

A Deep Water Culture System

Because DWC systems don’t require recirculating water or moving parts, they may be constructed very easily and affordably. For the whole life of the plant, the water in DWC systems sits in the reservoir rather than recirculating. This implies that to restore the oxygen that the roots use, you must aerate the water.

Air pore holes in the soil give roots the much-needed oxygen they require, and pumping water around in recirculating hydroponic systems aerates the water. This can be fixed in a DWC system by maintaining the water’s oxygen content with an air stone attached to an air pump, similar to those used in fish tanks.

In my DWC system, what can I grow?

The lettuce, kale, chard, bok choy, basil, and parsley are the best crops to produce in DWC systems. All of these plants don’t have a lot of top growth.

In DWC systems, the roots are not well anchored, which means growing tall plants like tomatoes can be difficult. If you do grow them, you’ll need the right supports to keep the plant upright.

Best Home Hydroponic Equipment in 2023: Top Picks for Gardeners

Hydroponic Farming at Home: Setup Steps and Tools


  • Storage container or bucket
  • Net pots
  • Airpump with air stone
  • Hard Water Liquid Nutrients (A & B)
  • pH Down
  • pH meter
  • Measuring beaker
  • Pipettes
  • Hole saw with arbor
  • Drill


1. Select a container that works well for the system

Since the nutrient solution will be more stable the deeper the water reservoir, many find that deeper storage buckets and containers work better for these systems.

Smaller reservoirs are more likely to see fluctuations in pH and nutrient concentration, and you will need to top off the water more frequently. There’s a good chance that algae will bloom in your water if light can get through your container.

2. Make holes in the container’s lid

Net pots, or pots with many holes for roots to go through, are where the plants will grow. Drilling holes in the container lid—where the net pots will be placed—is the next step.

The only specialized tool needed for this design is a hole saw, which is reasonably priced and simple to operate. To prevent them from falling through, the net pots you use must be larger than the opening.

You can drill more than one hole if your container is wider than mine. Here, it’s critical to thoroughly plan: To account for the growth of the mature plants, I spaced the holes 15 cm apart.

They work well for growing larger vegetables like tomatoes or courgettes. If you are using a 20-liter bucket, I suggest drilling a single hole in the middle to create a single plant system.

Pro-Tip: To avoid the saw jolting and shattering the plastic, place some wood underneath the lid while drilling holes.

3. Sterilization

Now pour water into your container. I’m assuming that your container is spotless and clear of trash. After adding 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach, fill to the brim. This is crucial since it will eliminate the majority of trespassers that you don’t want to linger and cause problems with.

Start the aeration process to combine your sterilizing solution, and then add your pots to the container. To remove the chlorine, drain all of the water after 20 to 30 minutes and let the area air dry fully. After finishing this, proceed to fill the first hole and get your medium ready.

4. Assemble your air pump

The air pump needs to be kept external to the reservoir. It will have a check valve, which makes sure that when the pump is switched off, water does not re-enter the system. You have to maintain the pump above the water line if one is not included.

Use a piece of tubing to connect the air stone and check valve, making sure the check valve’s arrow faces the air stone. Next, make an identical connection between the air pump and the check valve.

5. Fill the reservoir, add nutrients, and adjust the pH

Be careful to consider where your container will dwell before filling it up, as the system may be pretty hefty when full. Water should be added until it is nearly filled, leaving 1-2 cm above the rim. As directed on your bottle, you must now add your hydroponic nutrients to the water.

The water’s pH needs to be adjusted as well. Measure the pH with a pH meter; tap water will have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The majority of herbs and vegetables need a slightly acidic nutrition solution.

The pH can be lowered to 5.5–6.5 by adding drops of phosphoric acid using a pipette (available for purchase as “pH Down” for hydroponic application). When working with pH down, wear gloves and mix the solution thoroughly after application.

6. Put the system together

After inserting the air stone into the reservoir, plug in the air pump. You’re nearly done when you tighten the cover on top. It’s easy to add your plants; I just put some plants into the net pots that were grown in rock wool plugs.

Although seedlings cultivated in the soil can also be used, we recommend utilizing a less messy medium. A more hygienic option is hydroton clay pellets or rock wool plugs.

Fibreglass is used to make rock wool. Therefore, care must be used. When handling, put on a dust mask and soak the medium in water as directed. Water also lowers the risk of inhalation by keeping the fibers bonded together.

Wearing a mask is the only precaution needed while handling fiberglass insulation or entering an attic that has it. Scoop out potfuls of growth medium with a pot. Since rock wool shrinks slightly, add a little bit more; heated clay does not require this.

Fill a large bucket, basin, etc. with six potfuls of medium, if you have six pots. As you add water to this basin, calculate how many gallons you have added. Next, measure out the right quantity of the nutritional solution. Soak the medium completely.

Wash all of the dirt off of your plants while the medium is soaking. everything, but be careful not to harm the root system. After adding a small amount of growing medium to the bottom of a pot, insert the plant and cover the container with the medium. After covering the container with a lid, push the pot through an opening. Continue with the remaining plants.

7. Starting From Seed

You can skip this step or read for information if the previous step applies to you.

Additional supplies are needed for this, mostly rock wool seed cubes and a germination technique. To summarise, you will soak the cubes, add a few seeds, and then put them in your pots containing the main media. Make sure the top of the seed cube is visible.

Seed should never be placed inside a dry cube, as the dry glass may harm the seed or seeds. To make sure the seed receives the care it needs, you will need to hand-water it. To improve the environment, you can choose to cover the pot with a hood.

8. Maintenance

It is necessary to replace your nutrient solution every other week. If not, the water will poison the plant, killing it or severely limiting its ability to grow. Larger businesses do not do this because they have adequate filtration and methods to remove the toxins the plants produce; we don’t.

Furthermore, the plant will absorb those nutrients and draw them out of the water. In between water changes, keep an eye on your fluid levels. Fill the water to the brim if it becomes too low.

Keep the water level just over the pot’s base when you initially start. The root system will eventually make its way into the water and down into the container (from the pot).

When this occurs, reduce the water level by a small amount (approximately one inch below the pots) and continue the aeration process. A portion of the root system should be exposed to air to aid with aeration and to keep the roots from getting “too wet.”

9. Options

What more can you do or add, then?

When you’re ready, you can install a water level gauge, which is essentially just a clear hose that attaches to the container’s bottom and extends vertically to display the maximum level. This will indicate when you need to top off.

Desire to cultivate indoors? You will require a grow lamp, which is an additional expense but can be your only choice if you live in an extremely cold climate.

Draining a reservoir can be much simpler with a small valve positioned near its base. You can use this on other nearby plants if it drains into a bucket.
Monitoring your water solution’s conductivity and pH levels is a smart idea.


Being able to create a hydroponic farm, which brings about a productive indoor plant cultivation technique that offers several advantages without using pesticides, is a luxury. This is an innovative and sustainable agriculture you can carry out.


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *