Gardening can be simple and it can be complex. In fact, the concept of gardening has completely evolved from just planting or growing plants in soil to a practice called hydroponics. This process does not require soil to grow plants but rather makes use of nutrient based liquid or water.
This concept is not just for expert gardeners or big shot gardens. People at home who would like to start a garden can also use hydroponics. This is great for people who are not too light handed when it comes to plants since these do not need a lot of tending. There are several ways on how to start your own hydroponic garden.
1. The first thing that you should do is to start conceptualizing your garden. Choose the plants that would perfectly suit your gardening concept. Remember there are plants that do not fare well if placed in too much water. Starting an herb garden is probably one of the best ways to make use of hydroponic gardening. You can choose peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
2. Use hooks or strings to make sure that the plants are at a steady place. You can use anchors to hang and let the vines drape beautifully.
3. Oxygen is an important ingredient in making your garden a success. Make sure that the plants get enough oxygen to let the plants breathe and grow properly. The best thing to do is find the best fish tank bubbler or tube that would distribute oxygen evenly in
4. Use the best hydroponic pots that will hold all the liquid and moisture for a very long time. The pots should be sturdy enough carry all the weight of the liquid and the plants together. The best materials should be made with ceramic or opaque glass pots. Look for double walled pots which are known to be the best.
5. Do not forget that you need to fertilize your plants or they will wilt and die before you know it. But you have to make sure that you choose the right kind of fertilizer, specifically for hydroponic plants. To be certain, ask your local gardening supply store for the best kind of hydroponic fertilizer.
6. Lastly, you have to be very innovative and creative when starting your own hydroponic garden. You can use old fish tanks, aquariums or glass stands if you do not have enough budgets to invest on those expensive pots.
Deciding to use hydroponics as a way to start a garden also comes with certain challenges. You have to watch the way you control the water and the amount of nutrients in the plants because it can be difficult to maintain if you do not know a thing or two about hydroponic gardening. Make sure to adjust the PH levels or else your plants will drown with too much nutrients and water.
By overcoming the challenges, you can make sure that the yield will be worth every bit of sacrifice that you have done. The fruits, herbs and other crops yield higher and larger than the average plants. And even with a smaller space, the results will still be favorable.
Weeds will never be a constant issue because you will not use even a single scoop of soil when planting. There will be no room for weeds to keep growing. Thus, an easier way to keep your hydroponic garden clean and well maintained.
Once you have done all these, you will realize that growing a hydroponic garden is probably better than gardening with soil. Amazingly, growth rate using hydroponics is faster by 50 percent compared to soil gardening. It is also practical and gardener-friendly, and at the same time, it is known to be eco-friendly as well. Hydroponics does not require a lot of water compared to soil planting. So, if you want to start your own garden at home, this is the easiest way to go!
With hydroponics gardening, you learn to grow plants in water or, more specifically, without the presence of soil. In a way, hydroponics gardening could be the future art of gardening. As the rate of natural resources continues to fall in an alarming fashion and more land is being used for industrialized purposes, there may be a time when people simply have not enough space for an outdoor garden. Hydroponics gardening can help people prepare for such a future and ensure that they can still continue their gardening efforts indoors.
With soil taken out of the equation, you obviously need to add one or several things to make up for its loss. In hydroponics gardening, the presence of the following are considered vital:
Here are a few steps to take to ensure that your efforts at hydroponics gardening are off to a good start.
Step 1: Check PPM and pH levels of your water. In ordinary gardening methods, you do this for your soil. With hydroponics gardening, you are performing the same checks but with the water this time, as it is the main source of nutrients for your plants.
It is ideal to begin with low PPM levels. If your water registers a high PPM level, then use a RO or Reverse Osmosis Unit to lower it. As for the pH balance, your water must have a balanced pH level, which is around 5.8 to 6.2. Anything too low (acidic) or too high can cause problems with your plants.
If, however, you have purchased a hydroponics starting kit for a particular type of plant, then it will usually come with a set of instructions. Follow it to the letter and adjust your water’s pH and PPM levels accordingly.
Step 2: Select a hydroponics gardening method. There are basically four ways to perform hydroponics gardening.
Aeroponic Method - Oxygenated nutrient water is regularly sprayed on the plants’ roots
Drip Method - Nutrient solutions drips past tubes that are connected to plants
Ebb and Flow Method - Plant trays are regularly flooded and drained with a nutrient solution
NFT Method - Roots are covered with a slow-moving film of nutrient solution
Step 3: Select the ideal medium. There are many types of media that you can use for hydroponics gardening. Some media are more suitable for a particular type of method. Some are also easily available while others have to be purchased in specialized gardening stores.
Coco is an example of a medium that you can use in hydroponics gardening. It is something you can purchase in either compressed or loose form. It is made from coconut husks and thus have natural aerating properties that allow for an adequate oxygen supply. It is best used when combined with a calcium supplement. Lastly, coco is ideal for hand watering gardening as well as drip and ebb & flow methods.
Step 4: Add the appropriate fertilizers and nutrients. In hydroponics gardening, nutrients and fertilizers may either be synthetic or organic and dry or liquid.
Macronutrients refer to magnesium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Micronutrients, which are only added in minimal amounts to plants, can be copper, boron, manganese, zinc, iron, chlorine, or molybdenum. Adding too little or too much nutrients can cause your plants to have curling or yellowish leaves as well as signs of burning.
The most commonly used type of fertilizer come with an NPK label. This stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If your plants are still in growth stage, then they need an NPK fertilizer with higher N levels. For those already in its production or blooming stage, NPK fertilizers with higher P levels are ideal.
Besides NPK fertilizers, you can then purchase amounts of specific nutrients that you believe your plants need. Depending on the amount of whichever type of nutrient you use, your plant could enjoy benefits such as increase in size, improvement in aroma and flavour, and have their deficiencies eliminated.