Hydroponic Gardening, Part 1: An Overview

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponic gardening, also called hydro-farming, is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil [Wiki].

A subset of hydrofarming is named Windowfarming. This naming comes from the movement Windowfarms, lead by Britta Riley. They offer free DIY instructions for a cheap active hydroponic system possible to build by the common man, and they also sell kits for a complete system.

By active I mean a system where the nutrient solution is actively moved, usually by a pump. A passive hydroponic system rely on the capillary action of the growing medium. Passive systems such as the hanging Gardens of Babylon and The Floating Gardens of China are two of the earliest examples of hydroponics.

NASA researcher checking hydroponic onions with Bibb lettuce to his left and radishes to the right. [Wikipedia]
NASA researcher checking hydroponic onions with Bibb lettuce to his left and radishes to the right. [Wikipedia]



I want to grow things I can eat.

There aren’t many types of fruits and vegetables that are common here in Norway. The stuff you buy at the store has usually matured on the back of a truck on the way from a more tropical environment..:/

I want to control and monitor as much as possible different variables.

Compared to regular soil it’s easy to track PH and such variables in the nutrition solution! NICE!

I want it to be as automatic as possible.

The plants must survive perfectly without everyday maintenance.

I want the plant to thrive…

My plan

I personally think that the common Windowfarms built after Windowfarms.org’s DIY instructions looks kind of “not so nice”. I get it; use plastic bottles from the garbage to save the environment and to make it as cheap as possible and so on and so forth..

Inspired by Reidar and his beautiful reservoir, I’m going to modify some common pots, and mount them in a zig-zag pattern using wire. By using a isolated wire, it’s also pretty straight forward applying power and use them to power up grow lights!

Reidar's Long Term Reservoir
Reidar’s Long Term Reservoir

To master this hydroponic experiment, and get a feel of what works and why, I have acquired various types of hoses, pumps, valves, pots etc:

Miscellaneous things
Miscellaneous things


In the next couple of weeks I will present the process of making a simple activ indoor hydroponic system, also called a Windowfarm. And I clarifies: I am not an expert on this area (yet:P), so it will probably contain some trial and error..

But that’s necessary to learn!

Mounting the pots

Here I go through how I modified ordinary flower pots to become a part of my hydroponic system.

Water lift system

This is the part of the system that supplies the plants with the nutrient solutions. This can be done in many ways, but I’m going to use the common air lifting method accomplished with a common aquarium pump.

Plants and nutrition

Fancy system, but what about life? How should I plant a plant in the substrates? What should the nutrition PH be? What kind of nutrition should the plants be fed with?

=> Some of the questions I’m going to look into :D


In this post I will try to look into the benefits and necessity of artificial lighting.


So stay tuned! This will be fun =)

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