How to Make an Outdoor Hydroponic System

The hydroponics method of gardening uses water and a soilless medium to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. Making your own outdoor hydroponic system is low in cost and allows you to control the amount of nutrients available to the plants for optimum growth. A deepwater outdoor system requires minimal supplies found at most hardware or discount stores. After the completion of the summer growing season, you can move the system indoors to continue growing plants through the winter months.

Verify the cover latches onto the container tightly. Remove the cover and put it on a flat surface with the top facing upward. Set 11 netted pots upside down on the cover so they are spaced evenly in two rows of four pots and a centre row with three pots.

Trace the rim of each netted pot onto the cover with a permanent marker. Remove the pots after tracing. Use a compass to locate the exact centre of each traced circle. Short the compass by 1/2 inch and mark a circle inside each of the netted pot tracings.

Remove the inside circle by cutting the cover with a sharp knife. Slit around each circle from the cutting to the outside marking. Bend the slits downward to create flaps that hold the netted pots in the hydroponic cover. Set the cover aside.

Attach the air tubing to an air stone. Set the stone inside the tub and feed the opposite end through the air vents in the container handle. Drill a hole above the handle if there are no air vents. Attach the outside tube end to the air pump.

Create an elevated pad for the hydroponic container by setting three wood slats or three to six bricks on a flat surface in a sunny area. Set the container on top of the slats before adding water.

Place the air pump 12 to 18 inches from the container to prevent water splashing on it from the container. Invert a small plastic container and place it over the pump as extra protection from splashing and rain.

Assemble the hydroponics system by placing the lid on the container. Add water to the container until it is approximately 3 inches below the cover. Mix hydroponics nutrients into the water using the package instructions based on the water volume.

Assemble the growing area by filling the 11 netted pots with hydroponics medium and planting the seedlings into the pots. Set each pot into a hole in the cover. Verify that the bottom of each pot is under at least 1 inch of water. Add more water if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • 18-gallon plastic container with locking cover
  • 11 netted pots
  • Permanent marker
  • Compass
  • Sharp knife
  • Air stone
  • 3-watt pump with tubing
  • Wood slats
  • Small plastic container
  • Hydroponics nutrients
  • Hydroponics planting medium
  • Water
  • Drill, optional
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About the Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.