Hydroponic Hand Water Method
The hand water method is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of hydroponics.
The hand water method is one of the easiest and therefore one of my all time favorite methods of hydroponics.
This is virtually the same as watering potted plants but instead of using water and dirt, you are just using a nutrient solution and inert medium. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
What can go wrong with the hand water method?
Despite the relative ease of this method, things can still go wrong.
The two most common problems with the hydroponic hand water method is “under watering” and “over watering”.
Getting the strength of the nutrient solution right can also be challenging, but once you “get it” things are usually very easy from there on.
Method #1 Hand Water Potted plants
This is a no brainer. Just fill the pot or bucket with your favorite inert medium and water with nutrient solution.
Step by Step
Fill bucket about 2/3 with medium of your choice.
Insert plant and cover with clay rocks or diatomite rocks.
Water as needed.
Keys to Success
The key to success with the hand water method is to consistently supply the plants with the appropriate amount and concentration of nutrient solution when needed.
With all things being equal, the watering needs for each plant will change depending on the type of medium you use.
So let’s discuss some of the most popular medium being used today in hydroponics.
Clay rocks or diatomite rocks (my personal favorite) is a medium that can be used with the hand water method.
Although with this medium you will need to water the plants more often because the rocks don’t hold quite as much water as some of the other medium.
Rockwool is probably one of the most popular hydroponic medium because of it’s ability to retain water.
Even though rockwool can hold plenty of water, it can dry up fast if you are not monitoring the situation.
If you use rockwool, always make sure to cover the medium with rocks or extra rockwool to prevent light from reaching the wet rockwool and causing algae to build up.
Another reason is to help prevent root gnats or other insects from penetrating the medium.
Another option would be to cover the rockwool with plastic covers.
Coco peat is a medium that is growing in popularity. This medium holds the most water compared to the other two.
Because this medium holds so much water, the “trick” to using this medium is to allow it to dry out almost completely before you water again.
One trick you can use to help prevent over or under watering is to use your index finger to touch the medium and determine the wetness.
Drill a small hole about 1in in diameter and about 1in from the bottom of a bucket. This will allow you to keep about a 1/2in to 1in of water on the bottom of the bucket to help prevent the plants from drying out.
This will also allow the extra water to drain out and give you the ability to use your finger to determine the wetness of your medium.
When the extra water is gone and the medium starts to dry out, it’s time to water.
If you use just a regular pot with many holes on the bottom, another option would be to just place the pot on a saucer that will catch the extra water.
Make sure the concentration of nutrient solution you give the plants is the same every time you water them.
Consistency is the key to making the hand water method work.