Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hydroponic Science Project

This small system can be assembled in a few hours and would make a great school science project.

It consists of a small storage container the size of a shoe box, an airstone and tubing purchased in the pet section, and six 2" net pots. The 2" net pots can be obtained from a local hydroponic dealer, or purchased online. I use expanded clay pellets and rockwool for the media, but washed pea stone would also work if the stones are large enough not to pass through the net pots.

The container was painted black to prevent algae from growing in the nutrient tank and a circle cutter was used to cut the holes for the net pots. The container holds about a gallon of nutrient mix, which should reach to the top opening in the net pots.

The only other requirement is a small air pump to aerate the nutrient mix. Aerating the mixture provides oxygen to the plants and helps prevent nasty organisms from growing in the nutrient mixture.

Three of these units should fit under a standard 48" fluorescent fixture. I would recommend one warm white and one cool white tube be used in the fixture. The fixture should be suspended three or four inches above the top of the plants.

I have grown leaf lettuce and herbs successfully in this system.

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