Hydroponics Equipment Initial Setup

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You have just purchased or built a hydroponics system so lets set up all the hydroponics equipment pieces into a fully functional system!

First, move your hydroponics equipment to the area it will be set up. Make sure you pick a spot that can continuously support at least a couple hundred pounds (remember that between gallons of nutrient water and a container full of wet pea stone your system will be surprisingly heavy).

Next place your growing container (the container the plants will grow in) on a raised platform at least as high as the top of your nutrient container. Make sure the platform is sturdy.

greenhouse jungle If your hydroponics equipment is not equipped to handle growing medium such as a passive or NFT system all you need is to add a pre-measured amount of water (5 gallons or so) to your nutrient container and mix in a measured amount of hydroponics nutrient according to the directions on the package. Then plug the system in and turn it on...

Otherwise you need to rinse enough growing medium to fill your growing container up to the overflow outlet. Rinse the medium well until the rinse water runs clear and place it into the growing container. Some sources feel it necessary to boil and sterilize the medium but I never have and I have never encountered a problem.

When this is complete place your nutrient solution container on the ground or floor next to the platform with the growing container. Place the pump in the nutrient solution container still unconnected and not plugged in. Also put in the aquarium air bubbler (not the motor part just the bubbling end).

Mark a separate container to measure 1 gallon and pour in a few gallons of water into the nutrient solution container until it is a couple inches over the pump. Keep track of the amount you pour in. Next block the water 'in' connection in the growing container and pour in gallons of water until the water level reaches the top of the medium. Keep track of this amount also.

When done, unplug the water 'in' connection and let the water flow into the nutrient solution container. When drained, mark the water line in the solution container and mark on it the total gallons. Next add and mix a measured amount of hydroponics nutrient into the water.

Almost done... buy some small plants you wish to grow and carefully rinse all the dirt off the roots holding the plant by the leaves. Holding it by the stem will damage it so be careful. Plant the seedling in the growing medium spaced about half the recommended distance apart.

Connect one end of a tube to the pump and the other end to the water 'in' connection, connect a tube to the drainage connector and let it dangle into the nutrient solution. Plug in the aquarium pump motor, plug in the pump and you are done!

You now have a fully functioning growing system. Later you can use a wall timer to plug your pump into to turn the water flow on and off automatically.

How often should you flood your plants with solution? If you have a passive system or NFT system the pump, if you have one, will be on all the time. For an 'ebb and flow' system as described above, for many small containers each holding a plant and medium keep the pump going 10 to 15 minutes every hour.

For a system with one large container of medium holding many plants ... flood about 30 to 40 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Watch how your plants respond and use your best judgement.

If you have followed these instructions your hydroponics equipment will run smoothly.

Good luck!


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