Hydroponics gardening has become popular, thanks to its suitability in small spaces yielding more with much fewer resources. If you are thinking of starting a hydroponics garden, there are several things you need to know.
Below, you will find details on what you need, how to start and run a successful hydroponics garden. You will also find answers to some of the key questions you may have about this topic.
- There are three major hydroponic systems, the Wick System, the Ebb and Flow System, and the Nutrient Film System.
- You can build a hydroponic system from scratch or buy pre-assembled kits.
- Hydroponic plants require various nutrients to grow and produce; which you can DIY or buy premixed nutrient solutions.
- Some of the plants you can start with are herbs such as thyme and basil and vegetables such as lettuce and spinach.
Materials You Need To Start Hydroponics Garden
You need to put together several items to start your hydroponics garden. These can be bought from your local grocery or hardware store and are typically readily available. The essential things you will need to start are:
- Buckets or basics to hold the water
- Dry or liquid hydroponics fertilizer
- Cotton cord
- Growing medium
- Growing trays
- Drill or Screwdriver (optional)
- Grow light (optional)
The basics of a hydroponics garden are ensuring all the plants get adequate light, nutrients, water, and ventilation, all essential for optimal growth.
There are several hydroponics systems you can choose from, each with its level of difficulty . In this article, you will find the three major systems in order of difficulty to cater to beginners, intermediate and advanced gardeners.
The Wick System
This is the easiest of the hydroponics gardening systems. It is, therefore, suitable for beginners looking for a more straightforward approach to start this type of gardening. Like the name suggests, this system uses a string of wicks to help water travel up to the plant’s root.
The system does not utilize any mechanical systems, making it easy and economical to set up.
You will need a growing container such as a basin or bucket to act as the water reservoir. You will also need wicks, a growing medium, and a nutrient solution. These items are readily available online or in your local hardware store; therefore convenient for beginners.
The Ebb and Flow Method
This system is a little more complex than the wick system but still seamless, especially if you want to establish a sustainable garden. The system uses the force of gravity and a water pump to drive water in and out of the water reservoir.
As the water flows in and out of the water reservoir, it carries nutrients added to the solution, driving them to the plant’s roots.
Setting up this system is complex, but you do not need to give it much attention after everything is in place. It works perfectly if you prefer to switch out plants regularly in which you do so without disturbing the growth of the other plants in the system.
The most important items in this system are a submersible water pump and an electronic timer. These two ensure a continuous supply of nutrients to the plants at defined timelines to ensure your plants get adequate nutrition throughout the growth cycle.
Nutrient Film Technique
This system is designed to suit advanced gardeners that want to establish a long-term and self-sustaining hydroponics garden. It features a continuous flow of water whereby the plant’s roots are suspended in the air.
As the water flows, nutrients are distributed evenly to the roots ensuring uniform and consistent growth in every corner of the hydroponics garden.
The system is complex to set up; luckily, there are pre-assembled kits available online. Such kits will save you valuable time and effort creating your hydroponics garden, and you are less likely to make mistakes setting one up.
Where to Get a Hydroponics System?
Hydroponics systems are available from various commercial suppliers; you will find something for your skill level. These systems are crafted to suit various needs such as space, complexity, plants you can grow, etc.
Some kits come assembled; therefore, suitable for beginners, while others, especially larger ones, require complex assembly.
Check out our review to see the best hydroponics systems.
How to Create Nutrients For Your Plants
Water has significant nutrients to help plants grow, however, they are not adequate for optimal growth and production. Your plants will need more nutrients growing in water as opposed to soil .
You can create nutrients for your plants from compost tea. This is not from the same tea we drink but a mixture of leftover coffee, tea grounds, banana peels, and water. You can soak these for a while then strain to make a nutrient solution for your plants.
Plants need light too to grow and produce. Since hydroponics gardens are majorly indoors, your plants may not get adequate light to grow. Therefore, you might need to consider adding artificial light to your hydroponics garden.
You can start with fluorescent lights as they are easy to install and inexpensive. As you advance your garden, you can invest in LED lights that are much more efficient in replicating the sun .
What Can You Grow?
You can explore your gardening skills with a hydroponics garden, however, it is advisable to start with low-maintenance plants as a beginner. These are basic vegetables and herbs that do not take long to grow yet yield an adequate amount.
Here are some vegetables you can grow in your hydroponics garden:
- Swiss chard
Here are some of the herbs you can grow in your hydroponics garden:
The Bottom Line
Hydroponics gardens are a great practice to incorporate into your hobbies without having to create space for them. With the variety of systems available, you can start your hydroponics garden and yield fantastic results in a short time.
Hydroponics gardening can become a continuous fruitful venture with the right plants and systems, helping you cut your grocery bills considerably. The tips above are a great place to start to create a sustainable hydroponics garden.