How To Start A Hydroponic Garden
Have you ever thought about starting a garden to help feed your family but didn’t like the idea of digging in the dirt, dealing with the seasons, and the back breaking work of tending a garden?
The answer? Hydroponics.
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Growing plants without soil is possible with a hydroponic setup. This is a method of planting in a liquid and nutrient-solution, without soil. It’s actually the process of growing plants in liquid, sand, clay pellets, or gravel. You’ll need the extra nutrients, but the one thing you won’t need is the soil.
Instead of using earth to give the plants the nutrients and sustenance that they need, plants collect it all directly from the hydroponic system. This method allows the plant’s root system to have direct contact with the oxygen and nutrients it needs, making it speedier and more efficient for the plant to grow.
If it’s your first time to try this method, hydroponics can be confusing. Setting up a hydroponic garden can can be done on a small or large scale. From elaborate systems with a lot of moving parts to a simple hydroponic system like a table top Aeroponic herb garden.
The hydroponic system doesn’t have to be complex. You can set one up in your home, using your creativity and the space you have! But a little help will go a long way, right?
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If you’re new to hydroponic gardening and you want to give it a try but you don’t know how to start, here are the things that you’ll need to get started growing hydroponically.
All I Need Is Water, Right?
When we begin to learn how to start a hydroponic garden, the first thing we might think is we just need water, right? Hydroponics is the method of growing hydroponic plants in a soil less solution. However, a lot of people think that the soil less solution is water.
Yes, you can use water, but it doesn’t have to always be water that you use. You can use any nutrient solution or use a growing plant medium made from sand or perlite and even gravel — anything as long as it’s not the traditional soil or potting mix. One thing to keep in mind is that your growing medium does not have the nutrient levels that plants need to grow on their own.
Is It Complicated?
Growing hydroponically is not complicated. Believe it or not, it is so simple that even a small child can do it.
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What You Need To Get Started
Starter Hydroponic Kit
If you want an easier way to getting started, you can use a starter hydroponic system.
Different Type Of Hydroponic Systems
- Wick system
- Drip system
- Deep water culture system
- Flow system
A starter hydroponic kit contains everything you need to get started. Some hydroponic kits use EBB while there are others that use the flow method.
Here are a few kits to help you get started:
If you opt to go DIY and make your own hydroponics system, the process is easy. too. You”ll need the following parts and supplies:
Hydroponic grow try
A hydroponic grow tray aka a flood table is a container built to hold one or more plants and this has a reservoir that holds a nutrient solution, a water pump – you can use a non submersible pump, but the best option is to use a submersible pump for the plants roots.
Opaque Container With Lid
The container should be opaque and hold up to 18 gallons of liquid. You can use an aquarium tank or a plastic bin.
The mesh or net pots you need depends on what you are growing and the size of the container you are using.
When we think about how to start a hydroponic garden we don’t think about all these things, but they are definitely essential in getting started. The Rockwool Growcubes are ideal for top irrigation. It performs well under EBB and flood applications.
This is also an ideal substrate for growing many crops. But before you use it, it is recommended that the rock wool be conditioned by soaking it for eight hours in water with ph levels of 5.0 to 5.5 and then rinsing it with a pH 7.0 nutrient-rich water level.
If you are managing a hydroponic garden, you have two options for the growing solution: You can mix your own at home or you can buy a premixed nutrient solution.
A premixed nutrient solution is a quick fix that works well. Mixing your own at home allows you to fine-tune the level of nutrients that the plant needs plus it can help you save a ton of money in the long run.
Aquarium Air Pump
Using an air pump can make a big difference in your growing success. It aerates the nutrient reservoir and increases the supply of oxygen to the plant roots.
An air pump also keeps the solution evenly blended and ensures that the minerals are properly dissolved to improve the nutrient availability to the plants. Plus, it discourages the growth of algae.
If you are using an air pump, you need to have an air stone too. This helps create the tiny bubbles that provide enough oxygen to the plants.
Air stones are made of a porous material like volcanic rock and come in different sizes and shapes. The size and shape of the air stone you’ll use depends on the dimensions of the container and the airflow rate of the pump.
Having a hydroponic grow light system can be quite expensive, but you can make your own.
If you are growing bushy plants, leafy greens, or herbs, you can use HID or High-Intensity Discharge lighting this is a good light source for those plants. This requires a ballast and a bulb, as well as the reflector and the socket.
You can also use a T5 High output fluorescent light bulb that blends the light spectrum. If you have smaller seedlings or cuttings, you can use regular T12 fluorescent lights bulbs.
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How to start a hydroponic garden may look and sound complicated, but it’s really not. It can be the perfect hydroponic solution for people with shorter growing seasons, and people who have trouble maintaining a traditional garden with weeding, tilling, and bending over to tend to the garden.
Have you had good luck growing hydroponically? If so, share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below.