cz craftvideo Hydroponic Herb Garden

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In this week’s CRAFT Video, I show you how to set up a hydroponic herb garden on my rooftop in Brooklyn. Hydroponic gardening uses water more efficiently than traditional soil gardening, and is also a lot less messy for urban apartment dwellers. It’s easier to get set up than you might think! The basic idea is that you have a reservoir of water with all the nutrients the plants could want, being circulated close to the roots of the plants. Because the water is recirculated, the plants have more than one chance to grab the nutrients in the water, so they grow faster. Here are the basic components of a hydroponic garden:

  • A light-tight container (to inhibit algae growth)
  • Nutrient solution
  • A water pump and tubing (available at most pet stores)
  • Small plant-sized containers
  • Expanded clay pebbles or other growing medium

hydrogarden Hydroponic Herb Garden

Of course there are highly sophisticated setups available out there, but this is all you’d need to get started. I used the Rainforest 318 system made by General Hydroponics (who makes the easiest-to-find nutrients), but you might start with a smaller kit or try to DIY your own system to meet your needs.

windowfarms Hydroponic Herb Garden

The Windowfarms project is a great place to learn to make your own custom window garden from mostly recycled materials. Photo above by Maya Nayak.

bloombot Hydroponic Herb Garden

There are also some designs available on Thingiverse, like this “Bloombot” by Will Langford. You can even print your own growing cups from biodegradable plastic using vik’s design.

kellbotaeroponics Hydroponic Herb Garden

Kellbot has been working on her own aeroponic garden for some time now, and her aeroponic garden log is quite interesting to read.

hydroherbs2 Hydroponic Herb Garden

Here’s an in-process shot from setting up my herb garden. I have more pictures on Flickr.

becky stern headshot Hydroponic Herb Garden

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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