About Hydroponics

Hydroponics Farming And How To Go About It

Article written by Sarah Wambua

Hydroponics ; The principle behind hydroponic agriculture is simple and straightforward.

It involves doing away with soil as the growing medium and using mediums such as vermiculite, rockwool, gravel, coco coir and perlite. Gone are the days when soil is the only medium used.

With hydroponics, you have the nutrients found in growing mediums mixed with water. This creates an atmosphere that ensures the plants grow at any time of the year, regardless of the season.

Other than the typical growing of plants outside, hydroponics allows for growing to occur indoors. Because of the positive results, however, it’s becoming an increasingly popular form of plant-growing.

Plants that perform best using hydroponics

What kind of plants can be grown using the hydroponic system?

Most of the common plants include vegetables usually used at home- herbs, spices, tomatoes, and some fruits like berries.

It’s like having a kitchen garden indoors; no soil all over the place.

Supplies & Tools required in hydroponic growing

Before adapting to this new way of growing plants, you must consider some supplies that you may need irrespective of whether you are professional or amateur.

Fortunately, there are numerous supplies and tools to choose.

Here are some of the most common supplies needed in hydroponic agriculture:

  • Air and environment supplies: Filters, fans, duct tape, bug screens, and thermostat.
  • Accessories: timers, meters, water and air pumps, tubing systems, and clamps.
  • Environmental controls: Devices that control the air and temperature. They include CO2 generators.
  • Bulbs: These include high pressure odor-controlling fluorescent lights, and metal halide.
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  • Basic components: Trays, reservoirs, tables, fittings and tubing.
  • Ballasts (reinforcing the stands and floor), sockets, hangers, filters, cords.
  •  Containers: This is where the plants will be placed- (expanded clay containers, plastic pots, rockwool).
  •  Propagating materials: These are materials that help in spreading things like heat throughout the hydroponic garden. (heating mats, rooter plugs, and cloning solution).
  • Greenhouses: Enclosed glass houses that regulate temperature in the main grow room.

With very little start-up capital, your hydroponic garden can be set up and running. The market has an array of different hydroponic supplies to choose from. All you need to know is what your plants need.

There’s also room to upgrade from a regular hydroponic garden to a decorative hydroponic garden. To do this, you need to keep up with the latest in hydroponic supplies that are constantly introduced to the market.

DIY Aquaponics and Hydroponic

Aquaponic System and DIY Hydroponic projects are the most popular. If you choose one of these as your preferred project, there are some factors to consider before embarking on it.

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1. The Budget you will be working with

With DIY Hydroponic projects, the budget is quite flexible. You might end up using supplies and equipment that is available to you already. Despite this, you will still need to spend some money to buy pumps, nutrients, pH testers, and timers.

With the DIY Hydroponic project, one of the methods practiced is referred to as the Wick System. This, however, should be used for small-scale projects that have small plants.

2. Experience and commitment

Whether you want to hover over the project; observing everything or just leaving the project to itself is something you must decide. With the DIY hydroponic system, it works for both types of people.

However, you need some basics in carpentry, plumbing electricity, and gardening. You cannot just start the project if you have no interest in gardening or any other skill needed in order for the project to work.

You also need to understand that there’s a simple and complicated system. For example, there’s the drip irrigation hydroponic system.

Below is a DIY feeding drip setup:

feeding drip set up

Homemade feeding drip set up

diy feeding drip setup

With this, there’s a simple and more complex method of doing it. It all depends on your level of experience and commitment you sink into the project.

3. Climate

Although hydroponic garden thrive in whatever season, factoring in your area’s climate is important. It works best if you know whether the hydroponic garden will be outside or inside.

If your summers get really hot, you need to think of protection from the hot sun. If your winters get very cold and rainy or snowy, protection from the elements needs to be considered. Because of this, many who have undertaken this project prefer to have it indoors, most likely in a green house.

 4. The workspace available

With the DIY Hydroponic system, space is something to think about. The good thing about it is that they can fit into confined spaces. Even with an open space where you can spread your garden comfortably, it is best to start small and work your way up- get your feet wet and learn the ropes.

With this, you will be able to progressively develop your hydroponic garden in terms of size and capital. There are some techniques you can implement as you test out the waters;

Vertical aeroponic system:

this involves an interval spray of nutrients on the plant’s roots.

how to build Vertical Gardening Complete Guide to Building the Perfect Vertical Garden!

Nutrient filming technique:

this involves continuous flow of nutrients over the plant’s roots.

Both of the above techniques can be done in a small space, say if you live in an apartment and do not have the luxury of a backyard. It also becomes practical when you want to plant something irrespective of the season.

5. What you will grow

Although you thought of this at the first instant of hydroponic gardening, it is usually the last factor to consider. After choosing the type of project and system of nutrient delivery, you can now choose the plants to be in your project.

Some of the plants do not really need a specific way of growing them. Whether it is the ebb-and-flow technique or nutrient film technique, it is your choice. However, when growing tomatoes and fruits like strawberries, the latter technique is advised. For herbs and vegetables that require a shorter time harvest, the first technique is usually best.

When it comes to having the most produce from a small space, hydroponic gardening takes the prize. This is because the root system does not have to grow and expand to look for nutrients as it is in the soil.

Since the nutrients are all around, space for root expansion is small. Therefore, you can have many plants to harvest from.

Plants in a hydroponic garden do not waste energy looking for nutrients. They are fed directly as the nutrients are introduced to the roots.

All the energy is concentrated on growing. Growth is rapid, and this results in stronger plants that are healthy and good-looking.

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In a span of 3-5 months, your plants will be ready for harvest. During this time, however, you need to look out for root rot and pests that might harm the plants.

Conclusion

Depending on the type of hydroponics project you choose, think of it as an investment; the profits you will get back are well worth the money you used.

Think of the project as a means for you to get fresh fruits and vegetables from a source you can trust.

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