Hydroponic Gardening at Home
Curious about hydroponic gardening?
What is hydroponic gardening, and is it as complicated as it sounds? You’d be surprised how easy and space-efficient a typical hydroponic garden is. Let’s dive deep into this gardening technique to see if it’s something that you can do at home!
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What is Hydroponic Gardening?
This is a method of growing edible plants (herbs, fruits, and vegetables) indoors without using soil. Sounds incredible, right? With this technique, you can grow crops all year round!
What's so great about hydroponic farming is that the system doesn’t take a lot of space. Of course, if you have the room to spare, you can certainly build a more extensive hydroponic system. Also, hydroponic gardening works on virtually all plants although it’s best used for growing vegetables like microgreens and herbs.
3 Types of Hydroponic Gardening
The most basic of all hydroponic systems. This system connects the plant container to a wick and a water reservoir. Nutrients are dropped into the water, which the plant absorbs directly from its roots. It’s a great system to try for small spaces!
Flood and Drain Hydroponic System:
The plant containers are set in a shallow tray, or a grow tube is suspended over a reservoir filled with hydroponic nutrients. The systems require a submersible pump that floods and drains water to control moisture and prevent root rot.
Water Culture Hydroponic System:
Plant containers are set on a raft in a reservoir or suspended directly overhead as the plant roots extend down to nutrient-rich water. A bubbler is installed to aerate the water and prevent water from being stagnant. This system is great for growing lightweight and small crops such as herbs and green, leafy vegetables.
Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening
Got no room in your garden for growing herbs and vegetables? Try building a hydroponic garden. Plants grown in a hydroponic system do not need to spread their roots to absorb water and nutrients -- these are delivered directly to the plants. Thanks to the system, it's possible to grow a huge variety of plants in a small space. The plants do not need much room to grow either, especially herbs.
Hydroponic gardening is incredibly eco-friendly. This technique is up to 90% more water-efficient than soil-based farming. It won't lead to soil erosion from water use and no weeds to worry about. This means you're not using herbicides and other harmful chemicals to maintain a weed-free garden. No soil means fewer pests to control. You'll use fewer pesticides and insecticides. And when you think about it, pests thrive outdoors. These critters won't be able to infiltrate an indoor garden.
Healthier Plants, Better Yield
Plants that are grown in a hydroponic garden are healthier because of the ultra-controlled growing environment. Pests are less likely to thrive because the plants are grown indoor, and there’s no soil. What's more, you'll save on fertilizers. That's because the system feeds the nutrients directly to the plant roots. Just a few drops of a nutrient solution are mixed into the water, which means you'll use fewer fertilizers. You’ll also produce crops twice as fast this way.
Which Hydroponic System to Choose?
If you’re a beginner who wants a modest hydroponic system to start, we suggest choosing the simplest setup and grow low-maintenance plants. A wick system is perfect for newbies like you! For experienced growers who want to build a sizable garden, go for the flood and drain hydroponics system. A water culture hydroponic system is a good one to try if you’re planning to grow microgreens and herbs.
Hydroponic Growing Tips
- Invest in the right equipment. You’ll need high-intensity light fixtures, plant containers, grow tubes, and water containers to build a hydroponic system. You can also get a hydroponic gardening kit so you’ll have most of the components you need to develop a soilless garden.
- Use a timer so that the plants get enough sunlight each day. Most edible plants need about 12 to 16 hours of daylight. With a timer, you can set up the lights to turn on and off at the same time each day.
- The best lighting and temperature for growing different crops is 40 to 60 percent relative humidity. High temps will lead to stunted growth, and excess moisture might lead to root rot. You might need to use a humidifier or a dehumidifier to adjust the humidity in the growing area.
- Choose a growing area with good air circulation to avoid mold and mildew growth. You can invest in air circulation equipment or a fan to boost air circulation.
- Use water with low mineral content so that nutrients will dissolve quickly and absorbed faster by the plants. The ideal pH for hydroponic gardening is slightly acidic -- 5.8 and 6.2 pH.
- Hydroponic nutrients or fertilizers are available in liquid and dry forms, natural and synthetic. The right product to get will depend on your system. Never use standard fertilizers.
Are you ready to grow your garden in a soil-less growing environment? If you want to grow twice as many crops indoors, why not give hydroponic gardening a try? For more gardening tips, please check out the blog!