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So you want to start growing plants indoors?

posted Dec 23, 2015, 10:27 AM by Cory Potter   [ updated Dec 23, 2015, 10:27 AM ]

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Location

First thing to consider is whether you are going to be sharing your living space with the plants?  If so, then you will need an indoor growing tent.  






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The first step to setting up your garden is selecting a system that best fits your needs.

Important factors to consider include:

How much space do you have?
What do you want to grow and and how much of it?
What is the cost of equipment and how much time do you have to spend maintaining the system?

Regardless of which method you choose:  soil, hydroponic, or an aquaponics system, none will be able to compensate for poor growing conditions such as improper temperature, inadequate light, or pest problems.  Indoor grown plants have the same general requirements for good growth as field-grown plants. The major difference is the method by which the plants are supported and how the inorganic elements necessary for growth and development are supplied.


Plants grow well only within a limited temperature range. Temperatures that are too high or too low will result in abnormal development and reduced production. Warm-season vegetables and most flowers grow best between 60° and 75° or 80° F. Cool-season vegetables such as lettuce and spinach should be grown between 50° and 70° F.  I developed the hydroMazing control and monitoring system to be a primarily autonomous gardener who can request assistance as needed.



recommended equipment:

48” x 48” x 80” indoor grow tent

24” x 24” x 48” indoor grow tent


Setup a tent, or closet, or spare-room.


A search on Amazon will result in many options and many sizes.  Whatever size of tent you think you have space for, imagine the tent taking up a little more than that and reconsider.  Trust me, I’ve made this mistake more than once ;-)

Consider starting out with either Emily’s Garden and/or the General Hydroponics Drip Ring Kit



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The simplest and most common hydroponics system is a DWC (Deep Water Culture) system which consists of a plastic container acting as a reservoir for the nutrient solution with or without an air-pump while the roots hang down into it.


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Recirculating systems are very inexpensive, modular, and very effective.

The recirculating system is the same as a DWC (Deep Water Culture) system with the inclusion of water being pumped over the rooting medium.  Support your plants by giving the roots something to grab onto and hydrate as needed.Picture of Recirculating Systems

I recommend starting seeds with coco-coir (pronounced coyer) and then into expanded clay pellets as the medium for containing your plants' roots. also known as LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate), or common brand name: "Hydroton"


The best systems use a single air-pump to both aerate the nutrient solution and pump the water up over the rooting medium. Let's take a look at our options...


Drip System Options


I've distilled the recirculating drip system for hydroponics down into the following options:

Start with one module completely off-the-shelf:

General Hydroponics Complete Single WaterFarm Kit

or dive immediately into a complete system that is completely off-the-shelf:


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or

DIY Drip System partially off-the-shelf:

  • 3 or 5 gallon bucket ( new, or thoroughly cleaned )

  • with lid ( see cutting holes in the lid ) or hydroponics bucket lid basket (various sizes)

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General Hydroponics Farm Kit


DIY Hydroponics Recirculating Drip Ring System from off-the-shelf parts.


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