Ever since I can recall I have been a fan of the idea of self-sustaining. Whether it be the entrepreneurial bug in me or fact that I am a millennial from California, the idea of being able to create something that will free me from future “wants” has consumed me. 

With this goal in mind, I have began to research, and even create, hydroponic systems. A Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil and with minimal use of water.  The idea was even more attractive to me because I live in a three story apartment complex in California, which leaves me with minimal space and zero soil.

My research actually began roughly two years ago. Living on my own in said conditions, I was looking for food AND companionship. In what started out as an elementary school science project, my girlfriend purchased me a small Aquaponic (similar to hydroponics but with the inclusion of fish) System by Back to the Roots. It was a great learning experience to say the least. 


Here is a video to learn about aquaponics:

Roughly a year after receiving this kit I decided to take a stab at building my own hydroponic system on my balcony. It turned out that year I gained more than a companion and a food system. The system had brought a zen-like atmosphere into the home. The sound of flowing water is known to have a calming effect and the feeling of CREATING has its way of feeding the soul. 

Ask Tom Hanks:



What I purchased:

Total Cost: $35

After about 20 minutes of work or so here is how they came out:

Here is one in action after the seeds were placed:

Lettuce sprouts, not long after:

For me running this kind of system has been absolutely incredible. Like many other people, I had taken a crack at normal household plants, flowers, etc. and my lack of decipline/appreciation for the end product made it easy to forget to water them. Which means they didn’t last long.. With this system in place I add water to it about once a week or so (only because the California heat will still cause the water to evaporate) and the cut the plants as they wilt or mature. Minimal upkeep for lasting results is my kinda game. 


  • Less water
  • No Soil
  • Less upkeep
  • Less space
  • You KNOW where the food came from
  • Mental benefits of Gardening and water


  • Pump noise, although its minimal

As the world becomes more populated, space and food are becoming a premium. These systems seem to address both concerns. Here is a what an urban factory in Chicago is doing:

Hydroponics and Aquaponic systems are a fantastic step for us to live a self-sustaining lifestyle. As described they come with many economical and health advantages. I hope you found this article interesting and perhaps even useful for the future. 

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