A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Soil-less Grow System
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil.
The Ideal Hydroponic System for Beginners
A common and cost-effective hydroponic set up for beginners is the deep-water culture (DWC). In a DWC system, plant roots are suspended in an oxygenated nutrient mix.
Read our Hydroponics Definition article to learn more about different types of hydroponic systems.
- 5-gallon bucket with lid
- Opaque garbage bag
- Air pump with weighted air stone and tubing
- Net pot
- Growing medium
8 Simple Steps to Build Your Own Deep-Water Culture (DWC) System:
- Using the net pot as a sizing guide, drill a hole through the center of the lid. The hole should be big enough for the net pot to fit snuggly.
- Cut a second small opening at the upper 2-3” of the bucket. The width of the opening should be large enough to fit the air pump tubing.
- Line the bucket with an opaque garbage bag to block light from entering. Keeping light exposure to a minimum prevents unwanted algae growth in the root zone.
- Prepare the air stone and pump by connecting the two with a tube. Place the air stone into the bucket. Allow the tubing to fit through the small opening of the bucket (from step 2). Air pump will remain outside the bucket.
- Fill the bucket with water and add hydroponic nutrients [link].
- Place the net pot into the opening of the lid (from step 1). Carefully transfer the plant into the net pot and fill with preferred growing medium such as hydroton or coco coir.
- Place the lid on top of the bucket. The roots should be dangling low enough to access the water. If not, add more water. Another option is to hand-water the plant until the roots grow long enough.
- Turn on the air pump to prevent the roots from drowning and watch the plant grow!