To keep it simple, hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil. Hydroponics is used for many reasons, from water conservation to growth time to the overall quality of the plant. It’s a method that is growing in popularity due to these reasons, and now you want to hop on board, as well. Not to mention, it’s the perfect system for growing a thriving indoor garden! If you want to learn the fundamental principles of growing plants using hydroponics, keep reading.
Choose a hydroponic system
To begin a hydroponic garden, you need to choose a system. Depending on how large you want your garden, the kind of plants you want to grow, how much plants you want to grow, how much you want to spend, and how much time you have will influence what system you put in place.
There are three systems to consider; Ebb and Flow, Water Culture, and Wick Systems. We’ll break down what each of these systems does, below.
Ebb and flow system
Also known as ‘flood and drain,’ this particular system works by growing your plants by not constantly exposing the roots to the nutrient solution. Your plants are, instead, placed in a tray filled with a growing medium. The tray is filled with a nutrient mixture throughout the day. There is a reservoir below the tray and a water pump to control the draining and flooding.
Water culture system
Water culture or ‘deep water culture,’ is the most straightforward system to use. The system suspends your plants in a nutrient solution regularly. Because the roots are always in water, the system uses an air pump to create bubbles so that the roots don’t drown.
In terms of simplicity, a wicking system is the most basic to build. Unlike other systems, you don’t need an air pump or water pump. Instead, it uses a wick to move nutrients into the plant’s root.
What kind of hydroponics are you growing?
The second step to growing hydroponics is choosing what plants to grow. As explained earlier, the system you want will depend heavily on what plants you grow. In general, you should start with smaller plants if you’re a beginner. Perhaps you can try growing vegetables and herbs that grow quickly. The faster the plant grows, the easier it is to assess what parts of your system need tweaking, and if the system is right for you. It is also wise to choose plants that require as little maintenance as possible. Some plants that beginners tend to gravitate towards are hot peppers, tomatoes, and green vegetables.
What nutrients do you need to grow healthy plants?
The third step to growing hydroponic plants is choosing a nutrient solution. These come in both liquid and dry forms. Both can be dissolved in water and used by the system. Ensure that the fertilizer you use contains potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, as well as copper, zinc, boron, and chlorine. Never use a basic garden fertilizer in a hydroponic system as it is made specifically for garden soils.
We hope that this article helped you start your hydroponic garden. As you learn the practice, you can move towards more complex systems as you master the craft. In the meantime, consider these helpful tips to help you as a beginner get started. Having these tips is just a part of the process of growing hydroponics in your indoor garden or grow room.
Setting up your hydroponic system can be quite the project, which is where The Grow Store comes in to help! Our team provides indoor growing and gardening services that will help you to grow and care for healthy plants. Let us know if you have any questions that we can answer.