Hydroponic Wick System DIY.
The Hydroponic Wick System is the second most simple hydroponic system to build! The Hydroponic Wick System is very similar to the Kratky method hydroponics and also has deviations and additions, but we will show you the easiest one first.
The Hydroponic Wick System uses passive hydroponics irrigation. That means it does not require a pump, an air pump, or any electricity to work.
- You will need a Countertop or window sill near natural light for your Hydroponic Wick System
- Reservoir ( choose 1 of the following options)
- Painted or dark glass Mason jar – be selective here as there are many different size jars (8, 16 oz) and jar mouth sizes ( 2.75 in / 7 cm, 3.38 in / 8.6 cm) Ideally you want the net cup rim to fit over the mouth of the jar opening without falling in. Sometimes you can use the jar trim screw-on ring without the removable center to make the opening a little smaller)
- Milk bottle or jug – Same rule applies when selecting a jug. Know the mouth opening size so you can match it to a proper size net cup.
- Dark-colored or matte black Wine bottle
- Plastic bottle
- Plastic yogurt or similar container
- Net cup
- Some material to be used as a Wick
- Tap Water
- You may need a Power drill for some options below
This is a great example of how to upcycle a plastic bottle for great use!
- Clean and Place the selected reservoir
- Discard lids
- Fill the reservoir with approximately 2/3 clean tap water
Cut your choice of wicking material a little longer than 2x the length long enough to reach from the bottom of our mason jar up to the bottom of the net cup (when the net cup is placed in the top of the jar) Pull the wicking material through one side and out the other side of the bottom of the net cup. make sure the length of each end sticking out is about the same.
You have 2 options here, Option 1 for seedlings and cloners, and option 2 is for starting seeds. Also, each option will depend on the type of reservoir you have. If you have a mason jar the following options will work. It is important that you buy the correct size net cup so the top of the cup rim fits either in the mason jar lid screw on rim or directly on the top of the jar without falling in. They come in many sizes but 2″, 3″ and 4″ sizes usually work best for most mason jars.
Option 1 – You may or may not need the mason jar lid. It will depend on the size of the top lip of your mason jar and the size of your net cup. Place your choice of growing medium (we like to use clay pebbles) into a net cup over the wick. Place your cloned plant or seedling into the medium and carefully pour more medium around the base of the plant.
Option 2 – You may need the mason jar lid here too. Place your seeds into a starter plug. We like using the peat, coco coir combo plugs. if you feel they are a little expensive or are concerned about using peat moss due to sustainability issues you can always use stone wool starter plugs. Place your starter plug into a net cup. Fill any remaining space of the net cup with medium. Place the net cup into the lid of the mason jar or directly on top of the jar, whichever fits best.
Want to grow bigger plants? Don’t have a good location near natural sunlight? Use a larger reservoir to super-size it. Add a plant light with a timer to gain full control over your plant’s lighting conditions. Add aeration to make your Kratky system a Deep Water Culture system that will provide even more oxygen to the roots and really watch your plant grow!
- 3 gallon or 5-gallon bucket (with lid)
- Storage container (more options on this on our Deep Water Culture page)
- Fill the reservoir with approximately 2/3 tap water
- Just about anything that will hold water
- Place air pump
- Attach supplied air pump hose to the air pump
- Attach hose inline check valve ( this is necessary to prevent reservoir water from backflowing into the air pump)
- Attach a small air stone and place it into your reservoir ( you may need to punch or drill a small hole if your reservoir has a lid)
- Follow manufactures lighting installation instructions to install a small full-spectrum LED light (Learn more about the LED lighting type you will need and how far to place it from the plants)
Build this system