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7 Steps to Plan a Hydroponic System

Hydroponics - Hydroponics systems come in different shapes and sizes. The type of soil you use will determine what type of plant you can grow. The nutrients you use will help establish the right environment for your plant cells to grow. 

Getting started with hydroponics can be a daunting task. There are so many varieties and options! But the more knowledgeable you are about hydroponics, the easier it will be to decide what type of system works best for your needs. 

My goal here is to provide some layman’s guide to help get you started with an efficient and sustainable method of farming. This is by no means an in depth guide; if you are looking for a dissertation-worthy read on the subject then I don't think this post will do the job.

How to Plan for a Hydroponic System

This is one of the most common gardening questions asked by people new to hydroponic gardening. The short answer: you can do it! It may take some trial and error, but the results can be worth it. The long answer covers several options for establishing a successful hydroponic system, as well as everything you need to consider before you get started.

Know Your Intent

Planning for a hydroponic system is an important step, but it's not the be-all and end-all. The most important element in creating a successful hydroponic system is the right information. You'll need to collect and research information on each of your plants, their needs, and how they'll interact with your system. 

You'll also want to figure out where you'll be placing each plant after it grows. Hydroponics systems are best used with small batches of produce, so timing and facility are important factors to consider. 

You can’t just start building your first one. You have to learn what works well and how to set up the system so that when you add items, the system knows what to do and what outputs are possible.

What You Want to Grow 

Different crops prefer different soil parameters and temperatures. Soil preparation techniques also play an important role in how well roots or soil-less substrates hydrate crops. Hydroponic systems State some basic requirements for their environment before attempting to grow anything.

Before you look at any seeds or plants, make sure you understand what’s important to growing them in your garden. Popeye the figure 4 plant does well in both indoor and outdoor hydroponic systems because it prefers medium to dark soil with rich in dissolved nutrients.

Find Place to Instal The System

The first mistake is picking the wrong location for your hydroponic system. You want to choose a location with good electrical service and good plumbing. However, these are not mutually exclusive. You can get away with installing your hydroponic system in an area where both of these are available. 

The second mistake is thinking that once your plants are in and growing, all of a sudden they’ll stop being vulnerable to predators and now are more productive than ever. No matter where you put your system, whatever you grow will always be vulnerable to being eaten by one of three things: rabbits, birds or bugs.

Planning for a hydroponic system can be tricky, but not impossible. There are many factors you should consider such as:What type of plants will you be growing? Will you be using soil alone or will you be using an absorbent medium like marbles or even bicarbonate of soda? Will the lighting be low/mid-level or high? Hydroponic systems can be very productive when done correctly. In fact, they’re great additions to any garden.

Picking Right System

Deciding on what kind of hydroponic system to use can be a big deal. There are so many different types and methods for growing plants, but the best advice we can offer is to choose something that you think will work best based on your climate and regional needs.

  • You’ve decided on your crops, now it’s time to consider which system will suit them best?
  • Do you want to build your own system from scratch, or do you want to buy a premade system? This will influence your budget and what materials you need to buy.
  • Do you want a system that is active, or are you happy with one that requires less work?


After you have your goals, location, crops and system type settled, how much money do you need? You can create an accurate budget by listing potential costs.

To create an accurate budget, you’ll need to list out the potentials costs of everything you need to spend money on for it.

Hydroponic systems are a great investment if you already have land and the garden space to work with. If you don't have land, a more modest investment might be enough for you to get started with industrial-size systems. Often times these systems are so cheap they can be used as a regular indoor garden or patio system even without soil! Shopping online for a new hydroponic system can be overwhelming with a large selection available at great prices. 

Though there are many brands available, many garden centers or even Walmart carry the cheaper brands that are easy to set up and operate. You'll need a plan before diving in and it's best to know what you'll do with your newly acquired equipment before buying anything else.

Research the cost of specific hydroponic growing equipment, along with any other expenses such as construction materials, or a building to house the system. This is just an overview of costs, and it can be difficult to estimate exactly how much you’ll spend.

Choose Your Materials

When it comes to hydroponic gardening, there are many factors you must consider before getting started. First and foremost, you need to learn how to grow the right type of plant. While you may be used to seeing pots filled with watering and care instructions, growing hydroponically requires different techniques and knowledge. 

One of the biggest mistakes new growers make is focusing too much on chemicals when growing their plants. Instead, concentrate on making sure your soil is well circulated and rich in nutrients. Overly moist soil will result in excess water being drawn down into the roots where it can cause burns or other issues.

Test Your Water Quality

A proper understanding of the quality of your water is essential to a successful hydroponic system. If there are too many nutrients in the water, the grow medium will not be able to take up the nutrients from the nutrient solution. This can interfere with plant nutrition and cause problems. In order to avoid complications with your hydroponic system, the water you use should contain just enough nutrients for the plants.

If you're able to perform a simple test before starting your hydroponic system, you can have the filter already installed, saving you a lot of trouble later on.

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