Hydroponics is a technique by which water and nutrients are used to grow plants, without the use of soil. This prolific technique of gardening has emerged as one of the best alternative to land farming. With the help of hydroponic systems you can easily grow flowers, fruits and vegetables, without worrying about the outdoor setting or soil problems. Even the smallest of balconies, patio gardens or even window boxes can provide an abundance of foods for you to enjoy through hydroponic gardening methods.
Before starting, you need to decide what you want to grow with your system and how many plants you want to grow. Accordingly, you have to estimate the size of the area you will need for the same purpose. If you are planning to develop a small garden, the basic things you need, a pump, home garden watering system and 100-150 litre drum to house the nutrient solution. Next, you need to prepare a hydroponic solution of nutrients and water with 5.5 to 6 of pH level. Plant your self-raised seedlings or you can buy them from market also. Take out the seedlings from their respective pots and wash them carefully to clean the soil from the roots. Place the clean seedlings in the growing medium such as perlite, rockwool, coir clay balls or NFT channeling. Watch your plants grow for about 12 to 18 weeks by keeping the pests away. After harvest, you should flush the complete system and sterilize it by using peroxide and copper solutions to kill bacteria and mold.
Whatever method you choose, hydroponic gardening will always offer an environment friendly way to grow food with superior yields and nutritional value. As long as you maintain the proper light, temperature, nutrients and humidity level in your hydroponic garden you can grow your plants regardless of the season. As a hydroponic gardener, you have to make sure that your nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. If your hydroponic garden is located indoor, you need to maintain the grow room temperature between 75 to 80 degree F.
Always place your plants somewhere they can get ample of light, otherwise it is important to provide plenty of artificial lights to your indoor hydroponic garden. Hydroponic grow lights come in a variety of types that include full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs, metal halide grow lamps, high pressure sodium lights, and high-intensity LED grow lights. Among them, fluorescent lights and LED are designed to support bigger growth of plants with improved quality of bulbs.
Along with lighting system, you need to take care of your nutrients solution which is very essential for plants’ growth. You have to understand the nutrient needs of your plants and accordingly provide well-mixed nutrient solution to your plants. To create an ideal environment for your hydroponic plants you need to maintain the humidity level. The ideal humidity for a normal plant should be around 50 percent.
Vegetables and fruits grown hydroponically are cleaner, safer, and fresher than the field-grown variety. Hydroponic crops are fed with all nutrients required for growth without exposing them to harmful toxins, pesticides and pathogens that are present in the soil.