This design for a hydro garden is one of the simplest there is. It took about half an hour to come together and worked almost instantly. I didn’t use recycled stuff for this, as I wanted to be sure the plastic containers hadn’t been sprayed with anything before I used them.
The design is very much the same as my first hydro:
1. A base container acts as a reservoir.
2. A small pump sends water up a hose pipe to the top container.
3. The top container is watered from one end and allows the excess water to drip out through a hole in its base
4. Water drips to the second container etc
5. Water is returned to the reservoir to restart the cycle
I placed the younger plants on the third level, thinking each batch of water will be slightly more diluted by the time it reaches the lower level.
Each container contains the following modifications:
1. A small hole is cut in one corner. This is done to all three white boxes
2. The whole is covered with thin mesh, to stop too any debris from clogging the hole
3. Larger stones cover the hole. Larger stones allow more water and air through
4. I filled the base of the containers with coconut coir, which is essentially the husk of a coconut. It’s highly absorbent, and so it retains a lot of liquid. If your hydro messes up, your plants won’t immediately dry out thanks to this reservoir. I purchased one brick for about $3 and it was enough for all three:
5. Cover with perlite. Perlite is a light-weight, mined stone that is similar to foam. It doesn’t retain water well, but is a nice support system for your plants. Fill the containers about half way up with the perlite, to allow nice root growth
6. Load up your hydro with plants. Leave enough space for growth and expansion.
I used both dirt plants and rockwool grown seedlings. The way I use rockwool is I place a bunch of cubes in a small layer of water. I add a little food to the water to help them out. I place a seed in the centre of every cube. Keep this container in the shade somewhere, preferably with a clear lid to add humidity. As the seed begins to grow, the roots will reach down towards the base of the wool.
The root should come out the base and be ready for placing in the hydro one proper leaves begin to grow. I have actually planted a seed in rockwool straight into my hydro at the moment, to see if it works.