Frequently Asked Questions
What's in my kit?
Everything you need to get going apart from the plants! Wooden frame and fixings, pipes, connectors, water container, pump, plant pots, pebbles and detailed instructions. We even add a small spirit level. The kit is perfectly aligned with a slight incline for the water flow before you get it, as all the kits have been fully erected, set, tested and dismantled before it arrives home with you. The spirit level is there to help you level your ground space, so the flow works. You only need to add plants, water and of course an electric supply.
What size is the kit?
The MAXI kit is 6' wide by 5' high. It is an A frame shape, so the base is approximately 24" deep. It is the size of a fence panel and comes out as far as a paving slab, if that's easier to imagine. The kit is free standing so can go anywhere in your garden, but not too much shade for the summer crop.
We have smaller kits, 4' x 4' for smaller gardens, schools and this size will be great for people in wheelchairs who will be able to reach everything so still enjoy growing and tending plants and veg. Great to look at too.
Balcony size.. 3' x 4.5'. How about that, for people who want to grow their own veg but don't have a garden!!
We are toying with an idea to make smaller HydroVeg Kits® for microveg, as this is really trending at the moment.
Do I need an outside power point?
Ideally, yes. However, if you're able to feed a cable to your Kit without compromising your home security then that is OK. Check with your electrician for the best option. The Kit doesn't use a lot of electricity as the pump is a small pond size pump 240V9. In the future we are looking to use solar pumps as an option on the smaller frames, can't wait till we can have a solar pump on the big frame. You will still need an energy supply though...you can never rely on the weather!!
This year we had a timer swich put on out Kits. What a blessing that has been!! In the summer we have had the pump on 7am to 7pm as it has been rediculously hot! In the winter we will have it on daylight hours 9am to 5pm.
Where should I locate my kit? Why is the Kit white?
Ideally where it gets the sun and is sheltered from as much wind as possible. The plants do not have to be in full sun, they will still grow in the shade as long as there is a bit of sun. Watch out for the ripening of your tomatoes and strawberries though! Place them where the sun is the most.
The reason for the white pipes is that they reflect heat more easily. As there is only water and air flowing through the system, we don't want the water to heat up excessively. Also the pipes are more likely to be in the sun as you will be growing in the summer.
I initially built a HydroVeg Kit® with brown pipes - it has my flowers in (see pics in the photo gallery), but as I can't predict where a customer will position their Kit - I decided it was not an option to offer these.
Do you supply the plants? How do I plant them?
No, you'll need to go to your local garden centre or order online, or start them off in a greenhouse if you have one. I go to the market and garden centres and buy plants that are small but established. Plug plants are ok but very small.
When you get the plants, carefully take them out of the pot (best when they are drier), shake off all the soil, rinse off any remaining soil and place through the hole at the bottom of the mesh pot.
Fill 3/4 of the pot with clay pebbles (or 3/4 up the stem if the plants are very small).
Pop the pot into the prepared hole in the pipe and check that the roots are able to reach the water.
The position of each pot can be changed as the contents grow and spread out. Its so easy to relocate your pots in the system if you need to later.
The NEW HydroVeg Kit® BOOK will be in your Kit with loads of advice on types of veg and flowers, watering and feeding, pests and plant and Kit maintenance.
Can I buy extra minerals from you?
Yes, just go to our Shop and you can order online. We are extending our range all the time. The other place to buy your feed minerals, etc is your local hydroponic shop!! (An interesting visit!!!)
We have trialed many versions of the mineral feed, and we always provide you with the best in the market. Try adding some seaweed extract too, if you can find some. The plants love this, but only a few drops every now and again.
We can also suply you with additional pots and clay balls, pump and direct you to seaweed extract and dipel to help your plants more. Just phone us and ask - 07956135601
What vegetables can I grow in the kit?
You can grow anything that fruits or flowers above the ground: see Uses for your kit for lots of ideas.
Here we go...
Tomatoes, Courgettes, Aubergines, Kale (All varieties), Spinach, Broccoli, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Spring Greens, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dwarf French Beans, Broad Beans, Beans, Peas, Spinach, Chard, Curly Parsley, Courgettes, Cucumber (minis), Celery, Pak Choi, Chives, Minature Basil, Lettuce (mixed leaves, Little Gem and Kos)...for starters!!
See a full list in your NEW HydroVeg Kits® BOOK with your order. Plus we will email you a full list of what you can grow each season and the number of plants you can put in each pot!!
Can I grow fruit in the HydroVeg kit?
Yes, we've had great success with strawberries and are trying container hanging basket blackberries this year too. Watch this space! I am sure gooseberries will work too so am going to work on that next year. Its fun to try these things.
Can I grow flowers in the kit?
Yes! The kit is ideal for flowers, and looks lovely with a combination of upright and trailing varieties. You can be creative and spectacular by having a flowing wall of hanging basket type flowers!! Send me your pics!! See some of my early pics in the picture gallery.
The best this year have been Petunias, Begonias, (both upright and trailing), Geraniums, Million bells, Fushias (upright and trailing), Verbena (which grew taller than my mum!!) and the silver green leaves that hang down. Really anything you would normally put in a hanging basket.
I now put two plants in some mesh pots, one upright and one trailing to get double the effect. You can do this in a hydroponic system as the pot is only used to hold the plant, not grow anything in. Great eh!! Send me your ideas. I am lucky I have two HydroVeg kits, one for veg and one for my flower hanging garden. Perk of the job!!!!
How often do I need to top up the water?
It depends on the temperature. On very hot days, you need to keep an eye on the waterbox and top up every two or three days with 5ltrs (a watering can). The pump noise will also increase if the water needs topping up. In cooler conditions you might not have to top up for a couple of weeks.
I use a 5L water bottle to fill up as then I know exactly what amount of mineral feed to put in. ( 10 ml of A then 10 ml of B per 5L water) Rising to 20ml when the plants are more established.
Then swap to BLOOM when the plants are flowering or fruiting. See the bottle for detailed instructions.
HOWEVER as the plants grow their extensive root growth can stop the water flow. If this is the case your pump will be indicating it needs more water but you will find there is standing water in the pipes as the water can't get through easily. In this case lift out the pot of the offending plants and give the roots a haircut!! Not too severe though. I cut mine in an upside down "V" shape removing more of the middle section, up to the pot, so that the outer roots pick up the water yet the water still flows through the middle. Then you will see your water flowing well again. I have put a film on this website to show you how to cut the roots.
REMEMBER each time you add water ADD nutrients!!
Get in touch if you are worried and we can advise.
If you know there is water in the system but the pump is still noisy it may mean that your pump filter needs cleaning. See answer to pump maintenance.
You will also find all this information - with pictures in your HydroVeg Kit® BOOK with your delivery.
How often do I need to add the minerals and how much?
Every time you top up the waterbox with water you must add the minerals to it (10 ml of A then 10 ml of B for every 5L of water) . See the step-by-step instructions and also read the back of the A and B we sent you. This is the best mineral mixture we have used so far, and it's really easy to measure out!
It's 10ml of each A then 10 ml of B for every 5 litres of water (so 5ml of each for every 2.5 litres, and so on)
We occasionally spray the leaves with a seaweed extract too. I prefer to spray seaweed water on the leaves as they pick it up better from the foilage.
If your pump is making a noise, and you know there is sufficient water running round the system, it probably need to have the filter cleaned, or one of the naughty plants is slowing the system down with its roots!! If it is the filter...thats is an easy job.
Firstly switch the pump off
Allow the water to drain back into the box
Take out the pump
Remove the front panel
Take out the sponge filter and rinse it well
Clean round the pump and relpace the sponge and front.
Pop pump back into the water switch on and hear the silence!!
If it is the size of the roots..that's easy too as we give them a hair cut!! We cut an upside down V in the roots so that the water carries on running through the middle and the roots are on the outside. No, it really doesnt harm them. In fact it encourages new and healthy roots to form.
Do I need to change the water? What level of Ph does the water need to be?
Every now and again, it would be advisable to test the PH of the water. Ideally it should be at PH5.5 - 6.5 (tap water is PH7). If the water is too acidic, ie. less than PH6, you can add a chemical called PH Up. If the water is too alkaline, ie. more than PH7, you can use - you guessed it - PH Down. Both are available from hydroponic shops or on line and coming to our shop soon, too. To test the Ph you can buy strips of Ph paper from your local pharmacist, garden centre or hydroponics shop.
Only once did we have an issue with the water becoming acidic, and all the plants started to droop. So we took out all the pots still containing the plants and washed and rinsed the roots of each plant in water. We totally changed the water in the water box and set up again. Phew!! They were alright and continued to thrive.
Rain water can sometimes be acidic too, so if we have had heavy rain and you are using tap water for your system do a PH test.
If you are using tap water then leave it for about 20 minutes of so until the chlorine has gone out of the water. (You dont need to, but I hate putting chlorine into my plants).5.5
The hydroponics experts from HydroGarden (who advise us) suggest that you change the water every 3-4 months completely. The water is still full of great feed, so use it on your garden plants, or indoor plants, rather than waste it. That way the nutrients are at their best.
You can move from GROW to BLOOM (both provided in your Kit) without changing the water as the new nutrient will start to take over as you add it into the water when you top up.
Remember in the winter you may not need to top up the water due to rain and snow BUT you will still need to add nutrients into the water box as the rain will dilute the nutrients in there. The water should always be a light PINK shade, a bit like a quality bottle of Rose!!
Do I need to clean out the pipes?
At the start of this year I took my whole system apart to clean it - and then realised it didn't need to be cleaned at all! Emptying and cleaning the waterbox is as much as you need to do.
Do I need to keep the pump running all the time?
No - we normally turn ours off overnight. The plants do not need water 24/7. A timer on the electric point was a fabulous addition for us!!! Highly recommended. In the Summer we have our Kits on from 0700 to 1930. In the Winter generally they are on daylight hours - 0900 - 1700.