Hydroponic Vertical Vegetable Garden Guide

Vegetables that are grown in a gray box hydroponically.

Hydroponic vertical vegetable gardening is the practice of growing vegetables with a combination of hydroponics and vertical farming. The concept was developed by growers who don’t have access to soil to grow plants. This idea significantly increased the productivity of growing indoors.


Step-by-Step Guide How To Build Vertical Homemade Hydroponics System


Materials and Tools Needed:

Materials:

  • PVC pipe (6″ in diameter)
  • End cap for the pipe
  • 5 gallon bucket with a lid
  • 12 pcs. net pots
  • Submersible pump
  • Vinyl hose (for the pump)
  • PVC epoxy
  • Supplemental lighting
  • Vegetable seedlings

Tools:

  • Handsaw
  • Finely bladed jigsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Drill with various sizes of drill bits
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Location

Choosing what kind of hydroponic system to set up depends on your budget and the available space you have. It will require an even level of flooring to distribute the water and nutrients equally onto the plants.

Placing the system outdoors requires wind barriers. Constant monitoring of the water level is also essential to check water loss from evaporation.

If you choose to locate your hydroponics system in a room inside your house, adding supplemental lighting is necessary to help your plants grow.


How Exactly To Setup the Structure and Grow Your Plants


Step 1: Easy To Build Homemade Hydroponic System

  1. Cut the PVC pipe according to the height of your preference. However, 5 feet seems to be easy access and a safe choice.
  2. Using your pencil, mark the PVC pipe with the design of how you will place the net cups.
  3. Plan enough distance of the holes on each side, so the net pots won’t touch each other inside the tube.
  4. With the mark as your guide, using the jigsaw, drill holes large enough to accommodate the net cups.
  5. Cut smaller sizes of PVC pipe and by using the PVC epoxy, attach onto the sides of the main tube, creating 45 degree angled planters as holders for the net cups.
  6. Install the vinyl hose and submersible water pump to supply water up to the top of the tube. In the case of a rain tower system, the water should pass down inside the pipe to deliver the nutrients evenly onto all plants. 
  7. Sit the pump inside the bucket. (it will push the nutrients up to the plants through the vinyl hose)
  8. Create a hole in the bucket lid large enough to insert the PVC pipe. Place the tube into the 5-gallon bucket used as the water tank.
  9. Fill the bucket with water. Add a small amount of fertilizer and turn on the pump.
  10. Let the system run for about 20 minutes to get the fertilizers thoroughly mixed.

Step 2: Start Planting

  1. Wash the dirt off from the root ball by gently separating the roots to unclog any soil left.
  2. Place the seedlings into the net cups.
  3. Add expanded clay aggregates to hold the plant upright. (Be careful not to damage the roots when you place the clay in the net cups.) The clay pebbles will serve as an oxygen supplier inside the tank.
  4. Repeat the process until all the seedlings stay upright and in place. 

Step 3: Keep an Eye on the Plants Regularly

  1. Monitor water levels every day. 
  2. Check and supply water loss due to excessive heat and evaporation. 
  3. Ensure the water tank does not dry out as the pump runs full time, or else, the pump will burn up.
  4. Determine the pH and nutrient levels regularly.
  5. Keep a close eye on the plants to ensure they are growing healthy.

Step 4: Look for Signs of Disease

Green caterpillar on a green leaf.

  1. Look for any sign of pests and diseases. (a presence of caterpillars and insects, chewed leaves, or any symptoms of leaf disease) Eradicate all insects and bugs you may find.
  2. Remove plants that have symptoms promptly to avoid rapid infections since they are all close to each other.
  3. Ensure to supply adequate food. (plants grown hydroponically spend more time growing rather than trying to find food)

Ideal Vegetables to Plant with Hydroponics

Different kinds of vegetables you can grow hydroponically.

The best options for tower hydroponics are fast-growing vegetables such as:

  • Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Peppers
  • Mustard greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Strawberries
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Tomatoes
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Broccoli
  • Flowers

How Hydroponics Works

Holding a lettuce plant in the net pot.
Image by: gardenambition.com

In a hydroponic system, plants grow in nutrient-enriched water. Compared to the plants grown in soil, hydroponically grown plants get all they need through the nutrients delivered directly to the roots.

Other needs remain the same such as:

  • light
  • water
  • air (02, CO2)
  • suitable temperature
  • pollinator

Advantages of Vertical Hydroponics


1) Plant Cultivation Even in Compact Spaces

Hydroponic vertical gardening is the future of sufficient food production, according to expert growers. Even with small indoor spaces, the cultivation of vegetables all-year-round is possible with optimal plant supply, making this concept ideal for urban farming.

2) Less Growth of Weeds

Soilless planting or plants grown hydroponically have little to no growth of weeds compared to the ones planted in soil. Also, it is proven to be the lightest and most efficient form of vertical gardening.

3) 100% Productivity

Space required for one plant in the ground can grow at least 3 to 4 plants in a hydroponic system. High production is 100% possible to achieve with the help of the right lighting along with the correct mixture of appropriate nutrients.

4) Requires Less Maintenance

In a vertical hydroponic system, water keeps circulating, helping you save the cost of water consumption. (This process can be automated to lessen the need to maintain). Nutrients are retained in the cycle since there is no water runoff.


Several Challenges When Growing Vertical Hydroponics


1) Insufficient Water flow

Hydroponics vertical gardening using white plastic boxes.
Image by: trendhunter.com

Getting sufficient water to the top and delivering nutrients equally requires a high-powered pump. Water flow is essential to be designed appropriately for the hydroponic structure you have, or else, plants in the lower part will drown.

2) Issues of Light Supply

Growing vegetables indoors in a white hydroponics structure.
Image by: thespoon.tech

An equal amount of lights can be challenging when growing a vertical garden indoors. Adding supplemental light is a big help.

Outdoor vertical gardens can relieve the issues of light by spacing the plants strategically instead of stacking them directly above each other.

3) The Cost

White spider type hydroponics system with strawberry plants.
Image by: supragarden.com

Growing vertical hydroponics for the first time may cost you accordingly. The use of motor pumps, supplemental light, and other materials needed for the project can entail an ample amount.


Simple DIY Hydroponics Setups You Can Also Try


The Stacked

The stacked structure is one of the easiest setups to maintain. It is best for beginners in vertical gardening. It is suitable both for backyard gardening and growing indoors.

However, keep these few things in mind.

  • The water flow needs to be regulated to provide enough water for the plant’s needs.
  • Ensure the plants in the lower part do not drown.
  • Hydroponics thrive in light, so it is essential to provide adequate light.
  • Provide the right mixture of nutrients your plant needs to ensure high yield.

A-Framed Setup

A-framed vertical hydroponic setup is also easily assembled. The structure can accommodate a large number of plants in a limited space.

However, the construction requires more layers of pipe. Another thing you need to consider is to get the relevant motor pump to deliver the water equally in all directions.  Yes, the water flow system of the A-framed structure is a little bit complicated, but its productivity is satisfying.


The Rain Tower

The Rain Tower structure is the most common and most efficient vertical tube setup. The water flow system is not complicated and also exceptional in distributing nutrients to all plants equally.


The Zig-Zag Structure

A Zig-Zag setup is also a space saver that can accommodate mass production. By following the instructions correctly along with a few layers of PVC pipe, you can effortlessly assemble the structure in your backyard garden. The water system may seem complicated, but once you figure it out, operating it becomes easy.


Vertical Gutter

Building a vertical hydroponic system using gutters is also fun and beneficial. Utilizing rainwater is of great help in the water flow system. It can be set up by anyone able to follow instructions. Aside from having an all-year-round supply of vegetables, its decorative design will also add style to your home.


Final Thoughts on Growing Your Veggies Using A Vertical Hydroponic System

Above are a few lists of the best DIY and complete guide in hydroponics vertical vegetable gardening. Some are costly, and others are inexpensive. However, they all work best in providing you a sufficient supply of vegetables you need even with limited space. Select the best hydroponics system according to your preference.

I hope we’ve given the information you need about vertical hydroponic gardening. Enjoy growing vegetables using a hydroponics system of your choice.

Did I miss anything? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts by writing in the comment section below so we can add more information to the guide.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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