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When being in ‘deep water’ means growth

The Deep Water Culture System is one of the simplest hydroponic systems.

Welcome to ‘Green Thumb!’ Each article will be focused on tips and DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that you can try at home. I have dedicated my career to agriculture because I believe that food production is the key to any country’s sustainability.

With food prices constantly rising due to water shortages, pest and disease challenges, and various climatic factors, we need to find alternatives to ensure that we can provide our families with food.

One such method that every home can try is hydroponics. Hydroponics is simply soil-less agriculture. There are many types of hydroponic systems and many variations to each type. The six main types are Deep Water Culture, the Nutrient Film Technique, Ebb and Flow, Wick System, Aeroponics and Drip System

The simplest of the six is the Deep Water System. Constructing your own deep-water system is very easy. A simple system can supply your family’s needs and more to share or even sell as an extra income. Here’s what you will need:

A large rectangular tub (reservoir)

A uniform piece of Styrofoam (must be of similar size to the tub)

An air pump with air stones

Netted cups, 2” recommended

A hydroponic fertilizer blend

An electrical outlet to plug in the air pump

Clay pebbles – 1lb

Your choice of leafy vegetable seedlings (kale, patchoi, lettuce)

For set up, fill your reservoir with the recommended blend of hydroponic fertilizer (according to label) and water. Insert your air stones and attach to air pump. Using the netted cups, create the same size holes on the Styrofoam with 6 inches space between each hole.

Insert the netted cups into the Styrofoam and allow to float in the reservoir. You can now place in your vegetable seedling using the clay pebbles as support to keep the seedling upright. Plug in the air pump and place system in an area exposed to sunlight.

You will need to top up the reservoir with the fertilizer mix every week or sometimes twice per week as the plants begin to mature. This system has the advantage of a small startup cost, it is very low maintenance and you can adjust the size of the system to produce more or less. Lettuce is excellent for this system for beginners with a growth period of 3–4 weeks. In later articles, we will explore the other five types of Hydroponics. I do hope you try this one at home!

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