Hydroponic gardening is catching up fast as a trend globally for its innumerable benefits. From being an easy way of growing your own veggies and plants to yielding pesticide-free produce, Hydroponics has a lot to offer. So, here’s all that you need to know to start a Hydroponic Garden. We will cover the basics like what is Hydroponics and why it has become all the rage. We will then explain how you can grow a Hydroponic Garden at home and what all you need to be the master of self-grown greens
Hydroponic gardening is an extremely simple way of gardening that anyone can practice and all you need is a little bit of knowledge and the right hydroponics supplies.
Hydroponics is a simple farming technique where you grow plants without using soil. Instead of soil, this technique uses a mixture of RO water and nutrients to grow plants and vegetables under a climate-controlled, indoor environment. The produce that you get is 100 percent free of any fertilizers or pesticides, and you can grow your greens all year round.
It’s a technique that anyone can adapt to, and it gives amazing results. All you need is water with regularized pH value between 6 to 6.5, well-ventilated Hydroponics system, root support for your plants, additional nutrients for your water, a good source of light, and you are good to go.
So, why do you need to start Hydroponic Gardening?
The reasons are a plenty, and you are going to love them. For any beginner, nothing feels sweeter than seeing your plants grow into beautiful flora. That’s what Hydroponics provides. Let’s look at the benefits in details:
Grow it faster: Several researches have shown that plants grow 20 per cent faster through Hydroponic techniques as compared to growing them in soil. That’s a lot of time saved. If you are a beginner, seeing quick results is sure to boost your confidence.
Maximize the produce: When a plant finds a well-maintained, nourishing environment, it spends more time growing upward than spending energy in expanding its roots to find food in the soil. It results in faster growth. Researchers have estimated a 20-25 per cent more growth in plants using Hydroponic techniques.
Grow it anywhere: Be it inside your living room, your balcony, your terrace or even your backyard, growing plants and veggies through this technique allows you to develop a lovely little garden anywhere. And even if you don’t find conducive soil or weather, Hydroponics is the answer.
Requires fewer resources: As Hydroponic systems are a closed setup; they consume less water as compared to soil-based gardening. The water can be re-populated with nutrients, filtered and recycled without wasting any of it. And you don’t need to feed your plants any expensive fertilizers or harmful chemicals that not only dig a hole in your pocket, but also damage the produce.
Easy to maintain: Unlike your traditional garden, you don’t have to worry about soil quality, unwanted growth of other plants, pests or even weather change. A controlled environment saves you the hassle of maintaining them on a regular basis.
Different types of Hydroponics available
Now that you know all the benefits of Hydroponics, let’s also learn a little bit about different kinds of Hydroponics that are available, and which one suits your requirement the best. Here’s a quick overview of the kinds of Hydroponics you can utilize to fulfil your green mission.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT):
NFT works best for leafy greens to small root plants. It pumps the nutrient solution into the channel that holds the plants. And since the channels are slanted in position, the nutrient solution flows through feeding the plants and back into the reservoir where the solution is stored. This system uses foam net pot inserts to secure the plants.
Deep Water Culture (DWC):
This technique works well for large plants with big roots or the ones that bear fruits. In the DWC system, the roots are suspended into the nutrient solution and air is provided with a diffuser. This system is often said to be quite productive as its technique maximizes nutrient value and oxygen supply to the plants.
While this is the simplest and the most passive Hydroponic system, meaning it doesn’t use any electricity, it is best suited for small plants as the amount of nutrient value and oxygen pumped into the roots is less due to the way it functions. The plants are placed in a grow medium with a nylon wick running from the plants to the reservoir. Plants that require minimum water will grow really well.
Ebb and Flow:
Also known as Flood and Drain systems, plants are put in large grow beds filled with grow mediums. Nutrient solutions are filled up to only a few inches from the top and the power to the pump is controlled by a timer. As the timer stops, the nutrient solution drains out, leaving the grow bed completely drained. This process of flood and drain supplies a good amount of nutrients and oxygen to the plants making them grow faster.
This technique is easy to set up and is best suitable for those who don't want to make a lot of changes in their planting system. Through drip hydroponics, nutrient solution is pumped through tubes directly to the base of the plants making their roots nutrient rich and allows them to grow fast. This can be circulating or non-circulating systems depending on the requirement.
In Aeroponics, plants are suspended in the air and nutrient solution is sprayed at the roots through spray nozzles. While the roots absorb the solution, whatever extra is sprayed, goes back into the reservoir. This technique is suitable for all kinds of plants and it also ensures that the produce is good.
Start your own Hydroponic Garden
Now that you know about Hydroponic Gardening, it’s time to start your own green revolution. Plants, as many researches have proved, not only improve the air quality within your home, but they are also mood lifters. And if you grow your own veggies and fruits, the cerebral pleasure that these greens can provide is beyond words. Not forgetting the taste fest that your palate is sure to enjoy when these greens land on your plate.
Basic equipment you need to set up a Hydroponic garden
Flood chamber/reservoir: An opaque container to hold the nutrient solution
Nutrient solution: This is needed to submerge the plants and it provides high-nutrient value for faster growth.
Electronic meters: These give you information about the conductivity, pH and temperature of the nutrient solution.
Lighting: White fluorescent bulbs, and plant grow lights to provide the right amount of light.
Pump: These are required to pump in the nutrient solution to the roots of the plants.
Fan/filter system: To provide the right amount of air, fan and filter systems are required.
Substrates: Clay aggregate, gravel, coir peat, sand, perlite, wood fibre, rice husk are required to support the plants.
So, wait no more and set up your own Hydroponic Garden today.