A Hydroponic Build for the DIYer
Hydroponics can be a very rewarding hobby. For those of us who enjoy mixing a little bit of carpentry with a some plumbing and want to grow plants at the same time, a project such as this Shallow Flow Technique (SFT) hydroponics build is the perfect project. This SFT Hydro build 1 was designed for taking advantage of a specific location within the home which happened to have a decent sized south-facing window. The window provides some of the light and the ceiling mounted induction grow light provides the rest of the light that the plants grown in this system receive.
Get Your Hands on the Plans
All the information on how to build a similar system is contained within a plans eBook that is Available Here and it happens to contain too many photos, drawings, parts list, and other information to appropriately cram into a typical blog post. If you decide to get the eBook you will find more than enough information to build a similar system from parts available at most hardware stores. A few things about this build that make it different to some similar systems you may have seen pictures of are that this design can be disassembled, moved, and reassembled and not to mention cleaned fairly easily. There is also very little wasted space in this design as most aspects fit together quite well.
Successfully Grow Many Varieties
We use the SFT hydro build usually to grow lettuce and salad greens and a few herbs. Once you get the hang of it you can have a pretty steady supply of salad greens for regular and healthy pesticide free meals. We have successfully grown many different kinds of plants in this unit such as romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, spinach, tat soi, kale, swiss chard, basil, lemon basil, thyme, oregano, chives, savory, and some peppers. Peppers will grow fine in this unit but plants such as these where the roots tend to get quite large can eventually clog the unit so it tends to work best for shorter season crops like lettuce or herbs.
Costs vs. Value
A system such as this can be created fairly inexpensively but there is definitely some upfront costs for materials and tools. Adding a good light source such as the induction grow light that we used is also an added expense but in the case of the light we chose, the bulb is supposed to last for 10 years. After the unit is constructed there remains the more consistent costs such as water, electricity, nutrient solution, and seeds. The water use is very low when considered versus growing plants in a traditional soil environment. Electricity is the main ongoing cost of a hydroponic setup such as this but if you are able to receive power from a renewable source you and the environment would benefit greatly. The nutrient costs can be minimized greatly if you purchase dry nutrient and buy in bulk sizes. If you are growing lettuce for example, we think very highly of General Hydroponics MaxiGro dry powder nutrient. This MaxiGro tends to work quite well with vegetative plants like lettuce and they also have a dry Bloom type of powder nutrient for flowering plants. These aspects are the details that make the system work like it does and after using this system for many crop cycles we are still quite pleased with the value that it has provided and hope that you too find the SFT Hydroponics Build 1 exciting as well!
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