A Homemade Hydroponics System Using A Hybrid Technique

Two PVC pipes, four elbows, an air pump, and a 60 GPH re-circulating pump make this homemade system super cheap to build!

This homemade hydroponics system is a system that uses a combination of two different techniques. It is similar to a nutrient film technique (NFT) in the way the nutrient solution is continuously circulated through the system. The depth of the nutrient solution is kept high, allowing the roots of your plants to bathe constantly in the nutrient solution. In this way the system is also similar to the deep water culture (DWC) technique.


If 2 inch plant holes are used, the easiest thing to do is buy 2 inch netted pots.

The system shown here was made with two 10 FT pieces of 4 inch PVC. It is important to note that there are some advantages to using 6 inch PVC instead of 4 inch. A 6 inch pipe will give you twice as much root volume area, and makes clogging and leaking much less likely. This decision depends mainly on what type of plants you have in your garden and what size they will finish at.

The system was PVC glued together in the shape of a "U". The open ends were capped, and the plant holes were drilled with a 3 inch hole saw about every 12 inches. After making two systems this way I switched to 2 inch holes for the plant sites, which helps a lot with preventing leaks if you are using 4 inch PVC. When 2 inch holes are used, it is easiest to simply buy some 2" netted pots.

At the end with the recirculating pump, you can use either caps or elbows (glued in place pointing up).

An air pump and a couple of air stones are used to aerate the nutrient solution. Nutrient absorption only occurs in the presence of Oxygen, so this is very important. At one end of the hydroponics system, a small aquarium water pump (about 60 GPH) transfers water from one capped end to the other. This sets up a continuous circulation of the nutrient solution, which evenly distributes Oxygen through all parts of the system and prevents your plants from drowning.


Homemade Netted Pots for your Homemade Hydroponics System

Cheap netted pots can be made from 16 ounce plastice

To keep expenses down, 16 OZ disposable cups were used for the plant containers. Holes can be easily made in the cups with a soldering iron, but should be done in a well ventilated area (plastic fumes are very toxic). The system is filled with nutrient solution until the bottom inch of each cup is under water. When properly built and filled, the 4 inch PVC system holds about 10 gallons of nutrient solution in the PVC pipes themselves. It is easy to add an additional nutrient reservoir if more nutrient solution is desired in the system. As a general rule, I like to aim for about one gallon of nutrient solution per plant in my homemade hydroponic systems.


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AffordableGarden Design&Setup

(10 week update below)

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people...

Epic Nutrient Change

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...

High Efficiency

The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->


Click Here to learn more!

This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

Produce garnden vegetables AND fish together. Eliminate fertilizer costs!

Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!

If you've found this site helpful at all, I would really appreciate it