Step 1- Build your Own Hydroponics System – Shopping List

It’s nice when we can get the children involved with an interesting project that helps teach them how things grow. Why build your own hydroponics system? The simple answer is, it’s an economical way to introduce the newbie to a world of hydroponics or the kids can use it as a school project

Once you have read this you will realize there’s many ways that you can create your own hydroponic system. Instead of using the exact  same parts as me you can substitute parts with what you have available. You may already have a tote or plastic containers to make your own net pots, as long as you follow the basic layout you will be fine.

Let’s get started with the basic shopping list.

11 L Roughneck ContainrtThe container: I purchased a Rubbermaid Roughneck 11 L tote with a lid at Walmart. You may already have one or buy something similar, its 16 x 10.7 x 7 inches or 40.6 x 27.3 x 17.8 cm depending on what measurement you use.


Home made netcup

The net cups: You can buy them or do what I did, I made my own from a small yogurt container, empty of course. This is the fun part as you can share the contents with a family member. You will need two or more depending on how many plants you want to grow. As you can see I only had large 3 ½” net-pots compared to the 3″ yogurt container. So for this project it was the yogurt container that came to the rescue. You just remove  the paper from the container and punch or drill holes in the sides and bottom. The roots will have no problem finding the holes and the water.

Pine chips on white background.
Pine chips
Expanded Clay Aggregate (Grow Rocks) Isolated on White Background
Clay Aggregate (Grow Rocks)

Growing medium: There are many different types of growing medium available. Some you can find yourself like gravel and pea stone if it’s readily available for free. Others like lava rock, clay pebbles and pine chips you may have to purchase. Clay pebbles or clay pellets is what I used and that’s because I have them on hand.



1 Inch Rockwool Slab (96 Cubes)
1 Inch Rockwool Slab (96 Cubes)
Hydroponic Tomato sprout in a pink sponge
sprout in a pink sponge

Seed Starting: Rockwool is my favorite choice for starting off seeds. It’s less messy and is specially designed for hydroponic systems. I ran out of Rockwool so I used the Jiffy Pellet Refills I purchased at Walmart. They are a little messy because they are made out of peat but work fine for this project. The other thing you can use is a sponge cut to the right size.



Air Pump

The air pump: You will need an aquarium air pump which I purchased at Walmart again, but you can find them in any similar store. Its 1.98 psi for this purpose but you can go larger. This one only has one outlet, if you can find one with a duel outlet it would be a better buy, because you can use it on other larger projects in the future.


Tubing and air stones

The air Supply Tubing: You will need about 10 ft or 3 m. of air supply tubing. Black is preferable but you see in the picture the one I have is blue because that’s all I could find in the fish supplies department.

The air Stone: I purchased a pack of 4 small air stones (see picture) but one large flat long air stone is preferred. Because I could only find a 4 pack of air stones I had to buy a 3-way control valve to make my project work.

The non-return air valve: In case of a power outage this little valve is placed  in the air supply line near the pump and will prevent the water siphoning out of the tank. I could not find one at Walmart so I will have to keep the pump elevated above the water level. No big deal, we can make do with what we have.

Now I have all the parts, what next?

Now that you have all the parts needed you can go ahead and start to build your own Hydroponics system as a fun family project.

I’m building this system small so that it will be easy to move, don’t forget water is heavy, one litre of water weighs one Kilogram or 2.2 pounds. I’m building this in the winter months so the plants will get a great head start, then if I decide later to moved them outside when the temperature warms up and the fear of frost has gone it will be easy to move around.

Lettuce is the simplest veggie to grow from seed but you can be adventuress and grow what you like as long as it grows above ground. As for me I’m going to grow spinach this time.

If you ever need any feedback or support regarding hydroponics I would be more than happy to connect. Just leave your comments below and make sure you visit my site regularly. I am always updating my website with ideas and information that I come across which you will find interesting.

Next Page Easy hydroponics system, 2 The Assembly


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