Hydroponics are a great way to boost the yield of plants, as well as improving the efficiency of your growth as you can target plants with exactly the right amount of nutrients. However, the best quality equipment can be expensive, especially if you are just starting out and only have a few plants.
Here are some tips on the items you should buy first to keep to your budget:
The yield of your plants is highly driven by the nutrient supply, so having a reliable and adjustable lamp is one of the first purchases that you need to make. In order to control the light, you need to be select a small space which can be isolated from the surrounding light, so it's worth looking for a small existing space in your home that you could repurpose, such as built in robe or a small pantry space.
A nutrient pump
It is important to ensure that your plants get a solid and continuous supply of fluid. However, if you only have one or two plants, you will only need a small capacity pump and it is easy to save money by opting for a simple small volume pump. You can also opt for a simple controller at first because the flow should be fairly simple with a single plant and constant flow. You can also talk to the hydroponic shop about buying a refurbished or secondhand pump while you get your first plants growing.
It is important to keep your plants at a constant temperature and to allow them to get enough fresh air in order to have enough carbon and to circulate the oxygen away from the plant. While you may not need a fan, it is a good idea to assess the air flow in the area to see if you might benefit from extra air flow. A simple pedestal fan can often be enough to help a small hydroponic setup, particularly in a mild climate.
PH testing equipment
Finally, the other thing you will need to buy is some chemical testers, particularly pH testers, which measure the relative acidity or basicity of the soil. You can purchase these from hydroponic stores or pool supply stores. An inline testing system is relatively expensive, but simple stick testing with disposable paper testers can be used daily, and these are relatively cheap for starter hydroponic systems.
Why not head into a hydroponic store and get some specific advice to suit the kinds of plants you are looking to grow?