Hydroponic systems are becoming increasingly popular – is it time to create one for your home growing needs?
What is a hydroponic system?
A hydroponic system is a method that allows cultivation of vegetables, spices and even fruits with efficiency and high quality. It allows those with limited space to create their own garden, with one simple element, water.
That’s right – no soil is needed for hydroponic plant growing. Instead, plant roots are either put directly into special nutrient-enriched water, or they’re grown in a container with a special soil-less mix (eg coconut fibre, sand and perlite), which is then put into or above a reservoir filled with water.
Water quality is the basis for all hydroponic growth. Most of the plant’s weight is made up of water and its function is to carry dissolved minerals and elements which nourish it at all stages of its development. When we grow food, we must make sure that it feeds on its own essential minerals and grows under the right conditions and that the hydroponic grower must provide the selected plants with the values that suit them even at the water quality level.
What are the benefits of hydroponic growing?
Almost all plants can be grown hydroponically. It’s of particular benefit for growing edibles, such as fruit, vegetables and herbs.
The attraction of the hydroponic approach is that it can be faster to grow plants, you can create larger harvests and there’s less of a problem with pests or disease. Plus, if you create an indoor hydroponic system, you don’t need to worry about the weather conditions outside.
It’s possible to create your own hydroponic growing system, or you can buy ready made kits of containers to get you started. If you’re interested in finding out more, take a look at a company such as Genesis Hydro, who will be able to further assist you in your quest to create an incredible garden space.
What maintenance is needed for hydroponic systems?
Routine maintenance consists of the following tasks:
- Water filling – the quality of the water should be checked and measured as explained at the beginning of the article and in the manuals attached after each new water filling in the reservoir (once every 1-3 weeks).
- Fertilization – Fertilization is done according to the needs of the plant and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The pH should be measured after fertilization and adjusted to the requirements of the plants. Most fertilizers are already suitable for the average growth of most plants because they contain formulas of elements and microelements that form the basis of the common nutrient, so it is possible to grow a variety of different plants at the same time. For a super-professional growth of only one plant its exact requirements should be researched and provided to it by assembling a more precise fertilizer formula. During the winter it is important to fertilize every time you change the water.
- PH – Check the PH level regularly. The acidity in water may vary according to their quality, the fertilizers dissolved in them, the water temperature and other reasons. Know the rate of rise / fall of the pH beyond the recommended range and balance it accordingly.
- Additives – Especially in vegetable crops, we will need to use certain additives to give the plants the elements and microelements they need during the flowering and fruiting stages. If we want to maximize performance even further, we can also purchase supplements that will help rapid growth or strengthen a specific element that is important to a particular plant. There are a variety of supplements, good bacteria, and special fertilizers that can be used, they are not mandatory and misuse can also be harmful, but if you choose to take your hydroponic growth seriously, you may want to explore the options.
Is a hydroponic system something you’d consider using? Or do you have experience of this method of growing? Let us know in the comments below.41