About Hydroponics

Hydroponics Farming And How To Go About It – DIY

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:

  • Germination Station:  Since this step may make or break your grow, let us review the best jump start station to get;
  1. Hydrofarm Jump Start, CK64050 Germination Station w/Heat Mat, Tray, 72-Cell Pack, 2″ Dome
Sale
Heated Seed Germination Station from BonsaiOutlet
1,069 Reviews
Heated Seed Germination Station from BonsaiOutlet
  • Germination station with electric heat, humidity control
  • Start seeds anytime with this climate controlled environment
  • Increases the success of germination by 10 times.

The Hydrofarm Jump Start kit is one product that you might want to buy.

It’s a high-quality kit that has all the accessories you would require to begin the germination procedure.

When you purchase this kit, you are getting a 72-cell seedling insert, a two-inch humidity dome, a waterproof heat mat and 11 to 22-inch tray.

The company as well inserts their instruction manual that is beneficial to starters who are not sure on how to manage this entire procedure.

This Hydrofarm Jump Start provides amazing quality features; however, it features a smaller humidity dome.

If you’re growing seeds, which will grow better with a shorter dome, then you might want to purchase this kit.

Key features:

  • Comes with guidelines with growing tips
  • Two-inch humidity dome
  • 72-cell seedling insert
  • 11 inches by 22 inches watertight base tray
  • 120 Volt, 17 Watts, UL-listed waterproof heat mat

Pros:

  • The voltage of the heating mat is low so won’t add a lot to your electricity bill.
  • Can manage any type of seed and soil. It is ideal for growing herbs, flowers and plants.
  • A complete kit that comes with all the accessories which you require to begin propagating

Cons:

  • Be cautious when moving this product when it’s full.
  • Some customers have complained about the trays getting a little bit fragile.

Click here to read more reviews.

  1. Hydrofarm Jump Start 2′ T5 Grow Light System (Stand, Fixture & Tube)
Jump Start 2' T5 Grow Light System (Stand, Fixture & Tube) - JSV2
1,747 Reviews
Jump Start 2' T5 Grow Light System (Stand, Fixture & Tube) - JSV2
  • Easily adjustable light height for growing plants
  • Great for African violets, other houseplants and for getting an early start with...
  • Sturdy, durable and energy efficient

This product combines a hard-wearing powder-coated steel adjustable light stand with one tube high output T5 fluorescent bulb and fixture.

These offer a convenient, easy solution for low light plants, cuttings, flowers, houseplants, and seedlings.

It comes with a 6′ grounded power cord for 115volts outlet.

Grow light fixtures are great for house plants, cuttings, seedlings, and flowers.

Grow seedlings quicker with15 to 20 percent more lumens. Easy lamp height adjustment thanks to easy toggle clamp.

Features:

  • Compatible with Hydrofarm’s FLP, FLV, and FLT tubes
  • Grow seedlings quicker with 15 to 20 percent more lumens
  • Internal reflective finish that directs more light to plants
  • Easy toggle clamp for simple adjustment of height lamp
  • 24-inch interior width
  • Great for houseplants, cuttings, seedlings, and flowers
  • Length 26 x Weight 18.25 x Height 24.5-inches

Super simple assembly.

Click here to get best offer.

  • 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.
10 Pack SunBlaster Compact Fluorescent - 26 Watt 10x[946301]
176 Reviews
10 Pack SunBlaster Compact Fluorescent - 26 Watt 10x[946301]
  • Equivalent to 100W incandescent bulb
  • 6400K daylight temperature
  • Fits directly into a standard light socket
  • 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.

Ecolife ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System with LED Light Upgrade
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  • Fish fertilize the plants. Plants clean the water for the fish in this closed...
  • Advanced, programmable LED lights help your plants grow faster using less...

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.

Sale
5 Tier Stackable Strawberry, Herb, Flower, and Vegetable Planter - Vertical Garden Indoor/Outdoor
352 Reviews
5 Tier Stackable Strawberry, Herb, Flower, and Vegetable Planter - Vertical Garden Indoor/Outdoor
  • Patented Flow Through Design - Save Water - Save Space - Grow More Effieciently
  • Made of Food Safe Polypropylene - Just Need To Water Top Pot
  • Great For Growing Strawberries, Herbs, Flowers, Succulents, and Much More

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.

Now that the system is set, the next question is, which are the best hydroponic nutrients to use ?

Below we have reviewed the top rated nutrients that have produced best yields.

  1. General Hydroponics FloraMicro, 1 Quart
General Hydroponics 718120 FloraMicro, 1 Quart
81 Reviews
General Hydroponics 718120 FloraMicro, 1 Quart
  • Excellent for all media
  • Booster formula
  • Use with FloraGro and Micro

Flora Series has complete micro, primary and secondary nutrients for better quality of crop and increased yields.

You can adjust mixtures to go well with the needs of specific plants.

This product enhances essential oils, aroma, flavor, potency, and nutrition in plants that are cultivated in both soil and hydroponics.

Flora Series has pH balanced for user-friendliness and highly purified concentrates for maximum solubility.

You can mix special batches for foliar feedings, cuttings or starting seeds and other specialized needs.

Each label has complete instructions.

There is also a special hard water formula of FloraMicro provided.

FloraMicro will give you fast-growing plants with calcium, potassium, and nitrogen and also a mixture of special pH buffers, unique trace elements, and chelated micronutrients. You can use it both in soil gardeners and hydroponics.

General Hydroponics FloraMicro, will give you the best growing results.

Utilize this product to custom mix a formulation depending on the variety of plant and stage of development.

You should adjust the nutrient blend to meet specialized requirements for each stage in the life cycle of a plant: seedling, vegetative, transitional, flowering and fruiting.

Key features:

  • Offers secondary minerals, phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium.
  • Enhances essential oils, aroma, flavor, potency, and nutrition.
  • The foundation of the building-block system.

Click here for best rates.

  1. General Hydroponics FloraGro 1 Quart
General Hydroponics FloraGro 1 Quart
137 Reviews
General Hydroponics FloraGro 1 Quart
  • Stimulates structural and vegetative growth
  • Builds strong roots
  • NASA and Antarctic Research Scientists choose Flora Series because of its...

General Hydroponics FloraGro is one of a 3 part system, which provides you with the ability to tailor nutrients specifically for the needs of their plants.

It offers secondary minerals, phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium.

You can combine with FloraBloom and FloraMicro for the best balance the plants require to be optimized.

A unique composition of pH buffers plus primary and secondary nutrients keeps nutrients completely water soluble and accessible to plants.

Perfect as a nutrient supplement for potted plants and all hydroponic uses.

FloraGro General Hydroponics FloraGro is a good all-purpose nutrient solution for usage in hydroponically growing microgreens.

It can also be utilized to micros grown in soil.

You can use it for healthier, faster growing, stronger crops.

This product simulates the vegetative and structural growth while establishing strong plant roots.

The N-P-K value is 2-1-6

Key features:

  • Offers secondary minerals, phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium.
  • Builds strong plants roots.
  • Stimulates vegetative and structural growth.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

  1. General Hydroponics FloraBloom, 1 Quart
General Hydroponics GH1432 Hydroponics FloraBloom, 1 Quart
116 Reviews
General Hydroponics GH1432 Hydroponics FloraBloom, 1 Quart
  • Stimulates flower and fruit development
  • Enhances flavor, aroma and essential oils
  • Provides Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium and Sulfur

The FloraBloom General Hydroponics FloraBloom, 1 Quart works by stimulating the buds or flowers on your plants.

This product gives your growing plants sulfur, phosphorus, potassium as well as magnesium.

General Hydroponics FloraBloom will also enhance terpene development and flavor during the flowering stage.

MaxiBloom increases the quality of crops and yields by promoting productive flowering and fruiting in a broad diversity of types of plants.

The N-P-K value is 0-5-4

Key benefits:

  • Offers high sulfur, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium.
  • Recognized across the globe as the industry standard
  • Maximum solubility thanks to highly purified concentrates
  • Can adjust mixtures to suit the needs of specific plants
  • pH balanced for user-friendly
  • Stimulates the development of flowers and fruit.
  • Enhances essential oils, nutrition, flavor, and aroma in both soil and hydroponics
  • It’s favored by NASA scientists because of its reliability and excellent formulation

Find out more on Amazon.

  1. General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer set, 1 Quart (Pack of 3)
General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer set, 1 Quart (Pack of 3)
1,136 Reviews
General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer set, 1 Quart (Pack of 3)
  • GH Flora Series is the original Building Block Nutrient System imitated but...
  • Users can adjust mixtures to suit specific plant needs; Enhances flavor,...
  • Contains highly purified concentrates for maximum solubility

This General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer is sufficient for the plant to complete the whole cycle.

And you do not need to purchase separate nutrients for different cycles the plant undergoes.

It is a powerful blend of all the nourishment essential for the plant. This product is also pH balanced.

You adjust the solution based on the needs of your plant without having to worry about pH.

The fertilizer has concentrates to increase solubility.

You should be patient and notice how the plants adjust to it.

A set of 3 bottles having one ounce each can make at least 190 gallons of plant nutrients.

Features:

  • PH balanced for user-friendliness;
  • Has highly purified concentrates for the best solubility
  • You can adjust mixtures to suit specific needs of plants; Enhances essential oils, nutrition, flavor and aroma in both soil and hydroponically cultivated plants

Pros:

  • Inorganic
  • Affordable
  • You can adjust the mixture to any percentage of every component to provide for the needs of your crops and plants.
  • Has a micro, secondary, and primary nutrient for a richer, more varied mixture for a richer, more diverse crops and plants.
  • Very reliable brand with many good reviews
  • Have artificial colors
  • Trio permits maximum customization of your nutrient schedule
  • A well-balanced pH system, which means that you don’t have to regularly check and adjust for it.

Click here to get best price.

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.

Mophorn Grow Kit 1 Layer 36 Sites 4 Pipes Hydroponic Planting Equipment
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Mophorn Grow Kit 1 Layer 36 Sites 4 Pipes Hydroponic Planting Equipment
  • Material: food grade pvc-u; pipe diameter: 2. 5"(6. 3cm); hole diameter: 1....
  • Growing plants in Hydroponics requires less water, less space, and pests and...
  • This hydroponic indoor or outdoor grow system is designed for fast,...

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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Last update on 2019-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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