After a shaky few first steps, I finally assembled a very simple water growing system in my closet and the satisfaction of watching the plants growing under the light and hear the water pump working is priceless.
The beans growing to the front-right in the photo above had to be replanted on the kitchen counter because it outgrew the space in under a week
Hydroponics, the art of growing plants in water, is increasing in popularity since its a way to produce lots of vegetables and fruits in much less space than traditional soil-farming require. With a good source of lighting for the plants, to simulate the sun, you can grow year-round with great results. That is a plus for us in the northern hemisphere.
There are several ways to set up the system and I picked the method of Deep Water culture growing for this first try-out – It is easy to build yourself, even when you are a little handicapped in the handiness department as I am. In Deep Water culture, you allow the roots to constantly sit in water and give them oxygen via a water pump so they don’t drown. This way I don’t need to check water levels (as often) or anything similar to that, as long as the pump is pumping it should be working great.
Since my hydroponic system is in a closet that is well isolated I didn’t really need the most silent air pump I could find, but I bought an Eheim 100 anyway, in the event I want to move the growing operation to the more civilized parts of the apartment. I did some research on Youtube and Reddit and I fell in love with the Eheim pump since its adjustable (meaning it can grow with your system!), silent and has a very discrete design.
The trays which the pots are inserted to is a foam core base that I cut circles in to fit the pots, not exactly ideal since wet foam core can bend (meaning I need to be careful when handling the trays), but I like the lightweight material and ease of taking plants in and out. I will probably switch to a sturdier material down the road, but I quite like it for now.
It’s going to be a fun experience to grow some food in the closet, in addition to the plants on the kitchen counter (around 20 tomato plants coming up!).
If you got the time, I wrote a short essay over at the New Libertarian blog about Apartment Grown Resistance – Something that is undervalued by us Urban Libertarians in general and its an effective way to more independence.