Summer is now in full swing, which makes toiling in the heat exhausting. Why not bring the garden inside?
Pros of Hydroponics
Hydroponic farming can grow a plant 30% faster than soil-grown systems. The plant does not have to continuously search for nutrients within the soil, saving it energy. Because of this, nutrients are delivered directly to the plant, providing energy for growth.
In contrast to traditional soil-based methods, hydroponics uses 95 percent less water. The enclosed system reduces evaporation because the water used in the growing process is not exposed to the outside world.
The environment does not significantly influence crop success. You don’t need to fret about factors such as weather or soil type because your plants grow inside. It is easier to control how the plants grow when you grow them in a greenhouse.
Cons of Hydroponics
It can be pretty expensive to do hydroponics as a hobby. Hydroponic systems come in many different variants (we’ll get into those later), but the most expensive can cost more than $500. Fortunately, there are more affordable DIY options.
The soil provides readily available nutrients to plants in traditional gardening. Hydroponic growing does not have a nutrient storage system. The plants are being fed directly by you.
The hydroponics system can be set up pretty much anywhere, including in the comfort of your own home, as long as you make sure your healthy plants will receive the right combination of nutrients and hours of sunlight. Online you can purchase pre-built systems, which can be pretty expensive, or you can make your own. You are free to choose.
How do you create a custom system?
You can design any hydroponics system you want. The types of systems you can set up are simple, and some require a lot of effort to set up. The first step is deciding what type of system is right for you. Since it’s unlikely most of you will have time to build a $5,000 hydroponics wonderland. In this article, we’ll discuss smaller-scale systems that are most suitable for building in a home.
Wicking systems are the most basic hydroponic systems available, and they’re great for beginners. In the hydroponics world, it is known as the “training wheels.” This is an easy-to-use system that anyone can use.
There is no requirement as to what type of wick to use. You can use a piece of rope or string. The water reservoir should be placed below the growth tray when you assemble the system. In the growth tray, run your wick or string up from the bottom of the bottom container to the growing medium like clay balls.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
It’s a little bit bigger and more complicated than a wick system, but all in all, it’s still pretty simple. Instead of a growing medium that is topped with nutrient mixes, this system immerses the plant roots in solution 24/7. It only takes one reservoir to set up a DWC, and a growth tray is not necessary. An air pump is installed to ensure that the reservoir is filled with an adequate amount of dissolved oxygen, and an acidic nutrient solution is added to the reservoir.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
Most hydroponic gardening uses an NFT system. It works as an active wicking system, except for a water pump that has to run. Because the nutrient-rich water does not reach the plants naturally, NFT requires a little more maintenance than other active systems. Keeping the plants supplied with nutrients relies on your pump. You can lose your entire garden if a pump fails. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s a concern you need to be aware of.
Other Hydroponic Systems
Drip and ebb and flow methods are similar to NFT systems, with the only difference being how the rich water solution is delivered. Plant growth trays are periodically flooded and drained using an ebb and flow system. Unlike an NFT, it does not continuously push the solution. Drip systems are similar to another type of NFT. Rather than placing the mineral nutrient solution in the upper reservoir, the solution is trickled from drip lines onto the plants in the growth tray to percolate through the growth medium and fall back into the reservoir.
A properly functioning hydroponics system requires a constant pH. If your pH level is out of balance, your plants may die due to insufficient nutrition or too much nutrient concentration. To make this process meaningful, you must adjust pH levels to correctly solubilize nutrient levels, affecting the plant’s ability to absorb these hydroponic nutrients. If the plant has difficulty absorbing nutrients from your solution, you will stunt growth, and eventually, the plant will die. You can poison a plant if nutrient solution levels are too high, causing it to absorb more than necessary. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your hydroponics setup is. If your pH is not perfect, all your plants will die.
In a hydroponics system, what can you grow?
Fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs can all be grown. Presented by its characteristics, hydroponics allows for the cultivation of nearly anything. However, specific types of hydroponic plants may have better-growing conditions due to these characteristics.
The most common items to “plant” in your system are lettuce and tomatoes. In particular, lettuce is an excellent plant for beginning hydroponics. In just one month, you can harvest the leafy green, which grows in a wicking system. Tomatoes and strawberries also have a long growing season but are great starter crops as well. Also, flowering and fruiting plants need to be exposed to natural light while leafy greens grow well even under inexpensive fluorescent lights placed above them.
Inside your home, you can grow your fruits and vegetables with hydroponic gardens. Although it can become complex and expensive, it doesn’t have to be if you don’t wish it to be so. You can enjoy fresh homegrown produce at your dinner table using a simple and easy hydroponic method.