Don’t Try TikTok’s Dollar Tree DIY For Hydroponic Gardening Without Knowing This

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The basic hack is extremely simple. @keep_on_growin — a creator named Mike VanDuzee — takes the Dollar Tree containers and covers them with the sort of stick-on craft vinyl sheeting (24 for $30 online) used for Cricut machines. He then cuts appropriately sized holes in the sides of the containers near the top; these will hold slightly compressed sections of pool noodles, as shown in this YouTube video made by VanDuzee. The pool noodle segment holds the stem of the plant with its roots in nutrient-rich water inside the container, a time-honored hack for hydroponic seed-starting and seedlings. With the caps screwed back on, these can be stacked, making for a somewhat precarious vertical garden at very little cost.

In the Kratky method, the plant roots are suspended some distance above the water, exposing them to air circulation, similar to the effect of an aeroponic rather than strictly hydroponic approach. The fresh air is replenished via gaps in the plant supports, depending on the design. Since the plants are usually secured in mesh net pots holding a medium like hydroton or Rockwool, fresh air usually has a chance to enter the space through these openings. This also provides an opportunity for the nutrient solution to absorb additional oxygen, which is crucial to the plants’ success.

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