Hydroponics means cultivating plants in water, without soil. Many veggies, fruits & herbs can be grown using the hydroponics method
Vegetables & fruits are important for a healthy lifestyle. However, with the ever-growing population & industrialization, lands are gradually getting scarce. That said, the pragmatic invention of growing foods without soil also known as hydroponic gardening is more important than ever.
Hydroponics gardening has paved the way for home gardeners to grow fruits & vegetables without using any soil. Also, it serves green eating habits too.
Most importantly, this is a crucial alternative to traditional soil-based gardening.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants where you don’t need to rely on the soil.
Instead, you will need a water solution where necessary nutrients are added. This is no ordinary water, as it acts as the base where plants will find all the required components like glucose, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
Also, you can use coconut coir as an alternative medium to the soil. However, the main purpose of hydroponics is to provide a watery medium to replace the soil & grow plants abundantly as they used to grow before.
How Hydroponics Works
A hydroponic system doesn’t require too much labor on your part. All you need is a clean source of water. Also, you need to make sure the room has adequate sunlight because it is crucial for the proper development of the plant.
Next, you need to make sure that the water contains all the necessary nutrients required for the plant’s growth, namely oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. You may need to add certain chemicals to make sure the nutrients are all present there.
You can use a water medium or a bark & peat compost mix to grow plants. However, there may be a question on the quality of these veggies & fruits.
The answer is Yes! These veggies & fruits grown in hydroponics have all the nutrients that soil-based vegetables or fruits have.
Again, you are minimizing the risks of using harmful pesticides. Also, hydroponics doesn’t require cutting weeds, which can be a massive relief to most gardeners. There will be no carcinogen present in plants as there is no soil. So, the health risk is close to none in terms of hydroponics gardening.
Although you may need to spend more compared to a soil-based garden, you ensure no harmful chemicals are present & save yourself tons of hassles.
The Different Hydroponics-Based Plants You Can Grow
Peppers are excellent fruits that can grow all season & require little maintenance. That means, in suitable conditions, it will grow abundantly. However, you need to look after a few matters carefully.
Peeper needs a favorable pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.0. Also, you need to keep the plant warm & provide enough lighting. You can use a pepper plant or seed to grow peppers.
They take two to three months to mature. As the fruits grow larger than the leaves, you can put one or two plants per tub or bucket.
Strawberry lovers find it difficult to source strawberries all year long. Sometimes they may not be available where you live too. Hydroponics can be the perfect solution to this scarcity. Hydroponics lets you have strawberries all the time in your home whenever you want.
However, you shouldn’t buy strawberry seeds as they will take more than a year to get mature. You need to make sure the pH range is between 5.5 & 6.2. You can apply either deep-water culturing or the Ebb-and-Flow system to grow strawberries.
Tomatoes are one of the most used hydroponics vegetables. The main purpose of hydroponics is to supply fresh tomatoes throughout the year. They need warm weather like cucumbers. An EC level of (2-5) & pH level of (5.5 – 6.2) is perfect for the tomatoes. You also need to ensure the temperature is kept in (58℉ – 79℉) range.
You can either use seeds or cuttings to grow tomatoes. Using seeds can be a challenging choice because it takes many years to bear fruit from seeds. On the contrary, tomatoes cultivated from seedlings or cuttings have a better chance to bear fruit soon.
You will get the most satisfaction by growing cucumbers in a hydroponics garden. Because cucumbers love any given place & grow plenty in numbers. They like warm weather. So, you need to keep the temperature between 60 to 82℉. A 5.8 pH & 1.8-2.2 EC range is better for cucumber growth.
Cucumbers are vining plants. Therefore, you may have to provide trellises for their proper growth.
Unlike other root vegetables, radish can grow adequately in hydroponics if you can get some factors right.
First, radish will require enough lighting for 6 to 8 hours a day. The pH level should be around 6 to 7. Also, the EC level should remain between 1.6 to 2.2. You need to provide 50 to 65℉ if you want to grow radishes rapidly.
Basil is one of the fast-growing herbs that love the hydroponics system. However, you need to provide sufficient light for these herbs to grow. Almost 11 hours of lighting is essential per day for their smooth growth. Keep the pH from 5.5 – 6.5. You will see poor growth from basil if it doesn’t get enough lighting.
Chives are another excellent hydroponics-based herb. However, you can source it from any local shop. Give it proper lighting for up to 14 hours a day. Chives take only 6-8 weeks to grow fully.
After harvesting, it becomes ready again after six months. Cold weather badly affects chives. That said, you need to look for warm to hot temperatures & the pH should be at 6.
Lettuce is easy to grow & need little care. They don’t require much maintenance or lighting for growth. Just keep the pH around 6.0 & 7.0 to get the final result.
Experience is vital with hydroponics. So, cultivate fast-growing plants first. Later, you may move on to other plants that take time to grow. Do your groundwork & learn the basics before taking hydroponics seriously.