How to Build a DWC (Deep Water Culture) System at Home
Want an easy-to-make garden that can produce healthy yields all year long? Follow Keith Bouchard’s tips to make a do-it-yourself deep water culture system.
Modern farmers rapidly take on information about growing and technology, and often develop a curiosity to explore new gardening methods and systems. An easy hydroponic method that most anyone can learn by doing a simple DIY project at home is Deep Water Culture (DWC). You don’t need exemplary engineering or even carpentry skills to build your own DWC system that can fit in the corner, or even at the front and center of your indoor, patio, or rooftop garden.
Building a DWC system is as easy as cutting out a circle in a lid! The rest is, of course, only growing plants (just add air, light, and water). There are three simple components to a DWC system:
- Net pot
- Air pump with stones
Be creative with your container, which could be a storage tote or bin, a bucket, or any other water-resistant container. Repurposed plastics make excellent options. Use your imagination by going as small or large as is feasible for the desired size of your plants. For larger plants, be sure to leave plenty of room for the roots.
Examples of larger containers are 55-gallon drums or large tubs. Examples of smaller containers are 5-gallon buckets or water bottles. Place just one plant or several in each container.
Fill the container at least halfway with water and hydroponic nutrients. Be sure to adjust the pH as necessary. Transplant rooted cuttings or seedlings into the net pots using an inert grow medium. Allow the roots to poke through the bottom of the net pot and touch the water, leaving a pocket of humid air at the top of the container.
- Understanding Deep Water Culture and Feeding
- The Dutch Bucket Hydro System and How it Works
- Advanced Aeroponics: A Comprehensive Guide
Use an air pump with hose and air stones to disperse bubbles into the water and nutrients, aerating the water culture and creating the optimal environment for maximum growth of roots, vegetation, and fruits. The air pump sits far enough outside of the system to prevent water from getting around the electrical components. Quarter-inch inch tubing is used to connect the air stones, which are submerged in the container.
The air pump, air stones, net pots, grow medium, pH meter, and even grow containers mentioned in this article can all be purchased at grow stores. The rest of the required equipment, such as lights and ventilation, is the same as is needed for growing using other modern farming methods. Be sure to keep a clean hydro system, changing the water and nutrients about once per week. Top off your container with clean water throughout the week as needed. Be sure to control the environment and avoid excessive temperatures which can cause stress to the plants.
By maintaining the correct environment and building this simple style of DIY hydroponics, your home DWC grow system will allow plants to thrive and achieve maximum yields for your garden. Hydro gardening enthusiasts claim to achieve this in less time than other methods due to plants’ ability to rapidly uptake more nutrients as compared to other methods. Try this easy deep water culture setup yourself and enjoy bigger, faster, stronger harvests all year long. Happy gardening!
Written by Keith "Tree Frog" Bouchard | Founder & Co-inventor at Multiponics
Keith is the founder and co-inventor at Multiponics, an indoor gardening manufacturer and online boutique. Multiponics has a passion for pushing innovative ag-tech forward and is a consultant to the NASA-funded X-Hab project via the University of Colorado in Boulder.