How To Grow Hydroponics For Beginners

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated:

This article is for you if you’re a hydroponic beginner. Installing your hydroponic system in your home might seem daunting. Perhaps you think you’ll need special equipment. Maybe you think it will be difficult or expensive to set up. Hydroponics has a lot to offer, and some people do have a sophisticated setup. Hydroponically grown plants do not require any special knowledge. It is pretty easy and inexpensive to put together your own hydro setup.

By conducting research, you can find a hydroponic indoor system that works for you. With a few basic supplies, you can also build your system. It doesn’t matter how big your indoor gardening system is. Furthermore, it can be cheap or expensive, low-tech or high-tech as you wish.

What is Hydroponics for Beginners?

hydroponics for beginnersIt’s not a requirement to be a commercial grower to utilize a hydroponic method. Hydroponics is a popular topic for beginners. Anyone can grow their plants hydroponically, even if they do not yet fully understand what that means.

The term “Hydroponics” refers to any technique which utilizes mineral nutrient solutions and water for growing plants. It is possible to grow plants in mineral solutions, using perlite or gravel as a medium or growing them in mineral solutions.

Why opt for hydroponics?

Hydroponic growing has many benefits, but the most common ones are faster growth and maximum yield than traditional growing. Ideally, a hydroponic system should provide your plants with the right amount of nutrient levels, water, and sunlight.

The plants can concentrate on simply growing when they are not required to extract a balance of nutrients from the potting soil to meet their basic needs. Your plants will grow most efficiently using hydroponics.

Hydroponically growing plants also avoids the need for soil altogether. Indoor gardens can be messy, as anyone who does indoor growing knows. When planting, repotting, and fertilizing plants on a kitchen counter or table it can create a mess. It isn’t uncommon for some water to spill or clippings to escape while tending a hydroponic garden. Even so, these messes are much easier to deal with than dirt getting ground into your carpet.

Advantages of Hydroponics

If you grow your plants much closer together, you will be able to save lots of space in your indoor garden. Nutrients will not have to be found deep in the soil, so roots will not spread out. In addition, you will not have to deal with large pots or drainage trays. There is no doubt that you may enjoy the look of your plants in their lovely pots spread around the house. So what if you don’t have ample space and want to grow a crop of vegetables? You’ll appreciate how much space you’ll save with a hydroponic system.
Pests and weeds are almost nonexistent in hydroponic systems. You will not have to deal with these garden problems as there will be no soil where weeds or pests can grow. Even though you might still get pests on your mature plants, you’ll have a minor problem than in traditional gardening.

Selecting A Hydroponic Setup

Hydroponics systems can be classified into six different types. It is important to note that all of these systems rely on water and a solution of nutrients, not soil. There are many similar elements, but each system fulfills these needs differently.

Deep Water Culture

Deep Water Culture is one of the most straightforward and most affordable systems. A basket holds the plant over a reservoir filled with nutrient solution. As they hang into the solution, the roots are completely submerged. Aeration is necessary to prevent the suffocation of roots that are constantly submerged. You can use several ways to create air bubbles, including an air pump, air rocks (from a fish tank), or falling water systems.

Ebb and Flow

With the Ebb and Flow method or Flood and Drain technique, a water pump is set on a timer to circulate the water. In this process, water and nutrients are flooded onto the roots. An overflow tube drains the excess water once it has soaked the plant roots to a certain height. The water drains into the reservoir upon the pump shutting off at the designated time. The water does not move until the pump turns on again. The roots are provided with alternating periods of air and oxygen, followed by periods of water and nutrients.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

One of the most popular methods to grow plants at home is with the Nutrient Film Technique. Through a downward sloping channel, a shallow stream of mineral nutrient solution flows. The roots of plants rest on the banks of this stream, which provides hydroponic nutrients to the plants. The system is ideal for plants such as lettuce, herbs, and baby greens that grow quickly.

Aeroponic

As much oxygen is available to the roots as possible in aeroponic systems. Without growing medium and suspended in midair within a growing chamber, the roots are fully exposed. Aeroponic mists are used to spray the roots throughout the growing chamber at regular intervals. Besides providing plants with nutrient solutions, misters also keep roots moist.

Wicking

It is effortless to use the wicking system. The roots of plants are surrounded by a wicking medium, such as vermiculite or perlite. The roots are located in a container over the nutrient and water solution reservoirs. Connecting the wicking medium with the solution is accomplished with a wicking rope or strips of felt. With a wicking rope, more water and nutrients are pulled up from the medium as it dries. This technique does not require pumps or moving parts. As needed, the wick will draw moisture toward the hydroponic plant.

Drip

Hydroponic drip systems are a simple concept and work as described. Depending on the type of growing medium, you will place the roots in perlite or gravel. From a reservoir, a solution of water and nutrients is pumped, and through tubes, it drips onto the roots. A solution is poured into a container with water and then drips back onto the growing medium and roots. Large plants with extensive roots are ideal for this system. The hydroponic grow medium keeps moisture in the growing roots and helps keep them hydrated.

Items You’ll Need

Your supplies will need to be gathered once you’ve decided what type of system to create. The growing medium is used in some techniques, pumps are used in others, and wicking ropes are mentioned in some as well. The items you’ll need to set up your indoor hydroponic system vary slightly, but you’ll most likely need the following ones.

Seeds/Seedlings

A hydroponic system won’t be worth anything if you d on’t plant any plants in it. Your growing plants should be considered according to their potential size. It’s important to have room for their roots in your system and create a sturdy frame for the structure of your plant.

Growing from seeds isn’t the best way to start hydroponic gardening if you’re new to it. Nevertheless, if you choose to start from a live plant or seedling, make sure to rinse the soil thoroughly from the roots. You will not contaminate water and nutrient solutions.

Support Structure

Your plants will need a support system. The roots should be able to hang down from a section of wire mesh or a basket. As well as the roots, your plants will require a container. If you want to use a single bucket, you can use a long piece of plastic piping. You can cut holes in bucket lids to place mesh or baskets inside. In this way, you will prevent moisture from escaping.

Reservoir

As we discussed previously, you would expose a plant’s root system to water and nutrients. Water and nutrient solutions need to be stored in a reservoir. The root basin and reservoir of water should be placed in the same space if you’re using Water Culture.

Growing Medium

It depends on the hydroponic system you choose whether a growing medium is necessary. Gravel, perlite, clay pebbles, clay balls and vermiculite can be used as growing mediums. The growing medium is placed around the healthy plants’ roots in a basket or on a fine wire mesh. Hydroponic sponges can also be helpful when starting plants from seeds.

Water Pump

Water pumps are almost always needed unless you use the wicking method. It’s the only piece of machinery you’ll need. Plus, simple water pumps are relatively cheap to purchase. For the ebb and flow system, you can also use a water pump with a timer.

Tubing

There are many places online and in home improvement stores that sell tubing at a very reasonable price. Your root basin and reservoir will need to be connected by a piece of equipment that can transport water and nutrient solution. You ought to make sure your tubing has the appropriate diameter when using mister fittings or pump fittings. You should also look for tubing that will not kink up and interfere with your water flow.

Nutrient Solution

Choosing the right nutrient solution is crucial for the quality of your plants, and that’s why you need to choose a high-quality solution that matches your specific growing conditions. You’d want to avoid nutrient deficiencies as much as possible. If you are trying to find a premade brand, consider General Hydroponics or Advanced Nutrients. Advanced hydroponic gardeners can make their custom nutrient solutions.

Water

While water is simple but, its quality can have a significant impact on plant growth. Unless you are using bottled spring water, it’s best to use fresh water or rainwater collected from the roof. Often, tap water contains unwanted mineral content or has an undesirable pH level. Additionally, you must also check the water temperature to avoid root rot.

pH Control

Plant care requires a good understanding of pH levels. You will want to keep your hydroponic plants as close to the range they need, especially since they are virtually always submerged. A pH range from 6.0 to 7.0 is generally a good place to grow plants, but some prefer different levels. To keep your pH levels at a perfect level, you can purchase a pH testing kit and add pH-Up or pH-Down to your water reservoir as needed.

Grow Light

It is essential to place your plants in an area that receives sufficient hours of sunlight every day, so make sure they get plenty of natural light. If you cannot achieve this inside your home, you may want to purchase some indoor grow lights to give them the extra boost of sunlight they’ll need to grow.

Hydroponic Kits

Many hydroponic kits come with everything you need for getting started, or you can purchase kits with everything you will need. Building your system isn’t too tricky, but check out some of these indoor hydroponic kits if you want to simplify it even further.

Conclusion

Planting vegetables, herbs, and other plants in an indoor hydroponic system are much more accessible than people think. Anyone can be a hydroponics grower. In the absence of soil, you need to provide your plants’ roots with water, nutrients, and oxygen. Hydroponic gardening can be done using any of the techniques above or coming up with your hybrid style.

Alternatively, you can use dutch buckets, old tubing, wire mesh around the house, or purchase the supplies from a gardening center or an online retailer. Consider the different methods, use what you already have, and create your indoor hydroponic system.