How-To: Hydro Garden System Setup

Get the most out of your Root Farm Hydro Garden System.
Watch the video below and read more about getting started the right way.

Ready, Set, Grow Hydro!

Hydroponic gardening may seem intimidating, but is actually really simple: it’s literally just growing without soil. There are a number of different methods to grow hydroponically, but one of the best is with a recirculating system.

The Root Farm Hydro Garden System is a water-based, recirculating growing device that continuously pumps nutrient solution to your plants. You control the growing environment so it’s easier to give your plants exactly what they need to thrive.

The first step to growing with the Root Farm Hydro Garden System is starting your seeds or cuttings in the Root Farm Seed Starting Kit. Once they’re big enough and you can see roots growing outside of the plugs, they’re ready to be transplanted.

Our Seed Starter Trays are the perfect way to get your seedlings ready for your Hydro Garden.

When setting up your system, make sure to pick a level surface where it will receive six to eight hours of sunlight or near an additional power outlet if you’re planning on using a grow light. Keep in mind, this reservoir holds six gallons of water and will weigh over 50 pounds when full, so choose your location wisely!

Once you’ve located your grow site, first check to make sure the clear tubing inside is securely attached to the pump and water jets.

Then place at least three of the cover plates on top of the platform, leaving one space open for you to pour in your nutrient solution. Identify which planting sites will need baskets, which planting sites will need covers, and then where you would like to place the water level indicator.

Place your rooted plug into the planting basket. Next, fill the reservoir with water to the very bottom. Check that the valve is set to circulate, and plug in the system.

When your seed starter plugs are ready, they will start to show some serious early root growth!
Find a flat, steady surface and get your system ready to add water, nutrients, and plants.
A large five gallon bucket is the easiest way to add water to your system.

The Root Farm Hydro Garden System can grow a wide variety of plants with the right amount of light. If you’re growing leafy greens or herbs like lettuce, swiss chard, and basil you can grow four plants at a time using the outer planting sites.

If you’re growing medium plants like small peppers or eggplants you can grow two at a time using planting sites directly across from each other.

Larger plants like full size tomatoes require more resources, so they should be grown individually using the planting site in the center. For these plants you’ll also want to add a cage or stake in the designated slots to help support the plant as it grows larger and heavier.

Don't forget the nutrients!

Once you have it plugged in you’ll want to add nutrients right away, while allowing the pump to continue circulating water. No matter which plant you’re growing, you’ll always need to use our Base Nutrient (Part 1) with one of our Supplemental Nutrients (Part 2). Different plants have different needs, so which supplement you use and how much you use will depend on the type of plant you’re growing.

Once you’ve added your nutrients, check the pH of your solution using pH strips or a pH meter to see if it’s somewhere in the range of 5.5 to 6.5. If it’s not, use Root Farm pH Balance UP or pH Balance DOWN to adjust.

Testing and balancing your pH is crucial for effective growing.

Every week or two, you’ll need to empty your system and replace it with a fresh nutrient solution. The Root Farm Hydro Garden System has reverse pump functionality, which makes replacing the nutrient solution in your system clean and easy.

  1. Start by getting a five gallon bucket to empty the nutrient solution into.
  2. Then, unplug the pump and pull one of the cover plates off to access the reservoir interior.
  3. Pull the drain tube out of your Hydro Garden System and place it into your bucket.
  4. Turn the valve to the drain position, plug the pump back in and let the nutrient solution to drain into the bucket.
  5. When it’s empty, unplug the pump and turn the valve to the circulate position then place the drain tube back into the reservoir. Add fresh water back into the reservoir, plug it in, add your nutrients and test your pH to make sure it’s balanced.

Your recirculating system installation is now complete and you’re all set to begin your hydroponic garden! For more videos, tips and tricks for growing hydro explore the Root Farm blog.

Don't forget to change the water and nutrients every week or two!