My journey / experience with hydroponics is, about, more than a year long. Self and my brother started all by ourselves, learning and unlearning from the net. We built our own NFT system using 4″ pipe and successfully grew spinach, lettuce and Okra (which we later learnt is not a very good vegetable for hydroponics, since the plant grows tall say about 5 ft plus and hence it is difficult to provide lighting to it).
We also built our own DWC system, where we grew Egg Plant, Tomatoes & Capsicum.
The water that we used for the plants was filtered water which we use for drinking. The pH value of this water is around the 7.5 mark and the EC is < 0.5. During the course of our journey, we learnt that the water to be used must have pH value of around 6, hence we started adding phosphoric acid to the water to reduce the pH value of around 6, before adding nutrient solution.
The nutrient solution that we used initially were from Pind Fresh and Green Loop. Thereafter we started making our own nutrient solutions, which turned out to be much much more economical and more importantly we could do our own experimentation with the nutrient element strengths. For example we are now growing tomatoes and feeding them nutrients on a stage wise basis, like for example at stage 1, tomatoes need less nitrogen in the region of 80 to 90 ppm and then at stage 2 Nitrogen required is in the range of 110 to 120 ppm, which we are able to do now and the results are encouraging. Here is a couple of photos. If you carefully see they have started to get their 1st truss of flowers.
This is my first post on Hydroponics. Any one wants to start his own hydroponic system, I can provide all the help that I am capable of giving within the limitation of my knowledge, absolutely free of cost. This I am doing to create a community of self learners, whose combined experience can enlighten all growers.