Get started with hydroponic gardening in your space - Tips and Guidelines.
There is a form of gardening that uses no soil but instead uses water mixed with nutrients in a solution. Hydroponic system is more beneficial as we get to harvest plants and vegetables at a much faster rate because of their rapid growth. Another thing is we get to grow these plants and vegetables year-round and they give a better yield comparatively. The space required is also reduced, along with the usage of soil and water.
Hydroponic gardening is also perfect for those people who don’t have the luxury of a garden, living in apartments. Hydroponic gardening, just like traditional gardening, needs patience and effort too. You need to keep certain factors in your control such as air circulation, water quality and lightning.
Systems of Hydroponic Gardening
If you are a beginner looking to get into hydroponic gardening, then you should consider starting with either the wick system or the water culture system. People looking to get into more advanced systems should look at the aeroponic method or the nutrient film technique.
Three systems are suitable for beginners:
- The wick system
- The water culture system
- The ebb and flow system.
More advanced methods include the nutrient film technique and the aeroponic system.
Why choose Hydroponics?
We discussed the benefits of Hydroponics over traditional gardening, but you may still be thinking that why should we ditch the way our ancestors and we have cultivated plants for the past thousands of years?
Here are some of the many benefits of using a hydroponic system
- Pests and diseases that use soil as their shelter are eliminated
- Chemical herbicides and insecticides can be avoided
- You are saved from tiling and weeding labor
- Fertilizer is more efficient, helping us and the environment
- Water is used a lot more efficiently
- Soil-based limitations affect no more
- Space is utilized efficiently
- Crops are available all year long
- Controlled growing conditions lead to healthier plants
- Convenient harvesting
The best place to start for beginners
You have read all about the benefits of Hydroponics and are ready to get started. First of all, you need to know the types of hydroponic systems.
- Nutrient film technique
- Drip system
- Wick system
- Water culture
- Ebb and flow (flood and drain)
Wick System in Hydroponics
A beginner looking to get into Hydroponics should go towards the wick system Hydroponics. The system is independent of mechanical parts and works passively. To get started on a wick hydroponic system, the things you would need are wick, a reservoir and a growing container.
All these items can be made from everyday household items, making it convenient for beginners.
The only other components you would need are nutrients, which is required by all hydroponic systems, and a medium which you can easily pick up from our site by going food growing products.
Water Culture Hydroponic System
Another beginner-sympathetic system is the water culture hydroponics system. This system is independent of the pump or wick to provide a solution to the plants, instead what this system does is that it keeps the root suspended in the solution.
If you are looking for the simplest of Hydroponic system under this category, then you should look for a passive system which is called the Kratky method.
Another method that shares the same simplicity but is comparatively more productive is the Deepwater culture hydroponics system. The secret to its productivity is that it makes sure that roots are getting their supply of oxygen by using an aerator.
Buy Pre-Built Light Garden Hydroponic Systems
If you are not much fond of DIY and would rather buy a pre-built system instead, then there are many available online. Pre-built systems get you on the track in no time and provide everything you need to begin your hydroponic system. We have our own sets of pre-built systems at our site, and you can check out our growing light garden.
Which plants should you start with as a beginner?
With Hydroponics, there is no lack of variety when it comes to plants, but you should stick with no fruiting plants that are fast-growing, durable have shallow root systems. Vast choices for beginners would include plants that belong to the category of herbs and salad greens. Specifically, these are the plants a beginner should begin with:
- Swiss chard
- Hot peppers.
Water Requirement for Hydroponics
The quality of water is essential even in traditional farming, and even more important when water and nutrients are all your plants are getting. You should make sure to get the water tested. People using city water can have access to a free report while people getting water from private companies need to get their water tested, once in a year.
Check the TDS of Water for Hydroponics
Now how would one know if their supply of water is suitable for their plants? The main factor you should look out for is for the quantity of TDS (total dissolved solids) which is measured in parts per million (ppm). Now if your TDS goes over 50 ppm, then your water will be considered hard water which will disrupt your nutrient formulas and cause problems for your plants such as toxicities and deficiencies.
Tap Water is Another Good Option
Many people use tap water for hydroponic systems, so there’s no problem with that, but you should first see that you don’t live in an area with hardness above 200 PPM which will cause significant problems for your plants. You should switch to distilled or filtered water if you get hard water through your taps.
The hydroponic gardening system is an excellent way to grow your plants and has numerous benefits over traditional gardening, as we discussed above. It is sustainable for people without a gardening space and can be done year-long. So if conventional tillage is giving you problems you cannot solve, why not provide hydroponic gardening with a try?