Gardening is often associated with three things: healthy soil, a large space, and hard work. While most of this is true, there is an alternative to growing a lush and productive garden without a minimum of two of them. The term hydroponics refers to this type of gardening. Even many might say it doesn’t require as much work as traditional gardening. Having no digging, bending, or weeding to do sounds easier to us. We’ll discuss exactly what hydroponics is and how it can help you grow vegetables at home.
The Basics of Hydroponics
Growing plants without soil is the essence of this type of gardening. It replaces soil with a water-based, nutrient-rich solution and a growing medium to support the roots, such as Rockwool, perlite, coconut coir, expanded clay pellets, grow stones, vermiculite, or started plugs. With hydroponic growing, if plants are provided with water that contains all the necessary materials to grow and if another material can support that water, soil is not required.
Growing a hydroponic garden requires a few simple elements. The following are included:
- Nutrient solutions. Your plants will benefit from this water-based mix of macro and micronutrients.
- Growing medium. You can use this to support your plants and transfer nutrients to their roots.
- Grow lights or natural light. Photosynthesis takes place when your plants are exposed to sufficient light.
- Grow tray. Your plants are held in place by this hydroponic container.
- Water reservoir. You need this to keep your edible plants thriving and provide them with the required fresh water and nutrient levels.
- Submersible water pump. Depending on the type of system you use, it helps deliver nutrients to the grow tray.
- Air pump. Your plants’ roots are supplied with oxygen by this mechanism.
Despite looking like a futuristic idea, ornamental and crop plants have been cultivated in hydroponics systems for centuries. Imagine the hanging gardens of Babylon. Hydroponic farming has become a popular alternative to growing local produce in areas with little outdoor space or where soil and weather conditions aren’t conducive to plant growth.
Benefits of Hydroponics
- No need for soil. One of the benefits of this type of gardening is that it does not require soil. If you live in an urban setting deprived of much gardening space, or if your soil conditions are poor, you can still have a garden.
- Bigger crop yield. Science has shown that hydroponic gardens yield greater yields than soil-based gardens. Especially if you wish to establish a vegetable garden for a community, this is the perfect situation.
- Save space. Urban gardeners can grow as many plants as they can by using hydroponic systems. Container gardening isn’t the only way to grow leafy vegetables. Increasing your plant population is possible. Overcrowding is not an issue.
- No weeds. Weed removal is one of the most time-consuming aspects of growing a traditional garden. You don’t have to fret about weeds with hydroponics because only the plants you intend to grow will grow in your garden.
- Water is saved. Hydroponic gardening uses less water than conventional gardening. The nutrient-rich water will only be used when needed, and the rest will be stored until needed. Therefore, there is no worry about your plants being under-watered.
- Fewer plant pests and diseases. When plants are grown hydroponically, there is less risk of diseases and pests taking hold in your garden.
- Root growth and plant growth are accelerated. Growing crops with this arrangement is viewed by many as more efficient. When you’re growing your foods, this means you can harvest faster than you otherwise would.
Types Of Hydroponic Systems
Hydroponic growers use six main types of systems, including wick systems, deep water culture (DWC), nutrient film technique (NFT), ebb and flow or flood and drain, aeroponics, and hydroponic drip irrigation system.
- The simplest form of hydroponics is the wick system. A wick or similar material pumps the nutrient solution from the reservoir up to the plants. As a result of capillary action, nutrients are transported to the growing medium where the extensive root systems can absorb them.
- Plant roots are submerged into nutrient solution in a Deep Water Culture System. Floating Styrofoam platforms hold hanging net pots and plants.
- Nutrient Film Technique systems continuously spray nutrient solutions onto a tray that is slightly angled downwards. Therefore, excess water solution can be drained back into the reservoir and then pumped into the growing tray.
- Timer-controlled ebb and flow systems or flood and drain systems pump nutrients into a growing tray from a reservoir. Once the solution has evaporated for a certain period, it drains back into the nutrient reservoir.
- In addition to a timer, hydroponic drip systems deliver nutrients on demand. Droplets of water are dropped into the plants through drip lines. To allow the overflow to drain back into the reservoir, the overflow can drip back in.
- Last but not least, aeroponic systems don’t use any popular mediums. An alternative is to hang plants in the air and spray them with nutrient water constantly.
You can use any hydroponic method at home to grow plants and leafy greens simultaneously. If you don’t have a large backyard or soil, you can still grow an efficient garden with this soil-less technique.
You’ll be on your way to growing hydroponic plants quickly with some basic equipment and knowledge.