Introduction to growing Garlic hydroponically: Garlic is a vegetable from the Allium family and it is an excellent source of vitamin B6, as well as other vitamins and minerals including Manganese, Selenium, vitamin C and Allicin (an anti-oxidant). Garlic is easily grown hydroponically. It can be grown hydroponically with artificial light and a substrate.
A guide to growing Garlic hydroponically
The hydroponic system is a method of growing plants in water without soil. The water should be enriched with nutrients and the Garlic plants want some type of inert medium to support the root system. Garlic has a strong odor – not just the bulbs, but the plant itself. Garlic is a perfect blood purifier as it helps in the cleaning body from unwanted toxins. Garlic is in demand all year round, as a result, is a fairly costly vegetable. Hydroponic garlic is a bit tricky to produce because it has special requirements. In this article we also discussed the following topics;
- Hydroponic Garlic growing conditions
- Optimal pH for Garlic growing hydroponically
- How fast do hydroponic plants grow
- Hydroponic Garlic nutrient requirements
- Growing hydroponic Elephant Garlic
- How long does it take to grow Garlic hydroponics
- Advantages of growing plants by using hydroponics
Advantages of growing Garlic hydroponically
The advantages of hydroponic controlled environment agriculture have high-density maximum plant yield. The hydroponics is a more efficient use of water and fertilizers, minimal use of the land area. The advantage of the hydroponic compared to field-grown produce is the isolation of the plant from the soil, which often has problems of pests, diseases, salinity, and drainage.
- Hydroponics gardening can be packed and kept it alive and also fresh for longer periods.
- Hydroponics doesn’t even use any kind of solid medium. And full control of the plant’s root system and in eye contact always.
- In a hydroponics system, no need to worry about over-watering or under-watering.
- Hydroponic plants can grow anywhere and at any time.
- In hydroponics, there is no soil at all no weeds and no pesticides of course.
- In hydroponics, the use of water to maintain and preserve the plant can be dramatically reduced.
- A hydroponics garden can be set up with timer systems to automatically fertilize the plants.
Requirements for growing Garlic hydroponically
Light – Let there be light, and plenty of it, a minimum of 6 to 8 hours daily, but up to 10 or 12 hours is best. Do not leave the light on 24/7 all plants, Garlic also requires the darkness.
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Temperature and humidity – Temperature affects Garlic plants in two ways. High temperatures tend to accelerate the growth of the Garlic plant which increases the plant’s need for water. High temperatures also increase the Garlic plant’s consumption of water for cooling itself through evaporation. Garlic is very hardy once it is established temperatures as low as 30°F for short intervals and up to 85°F is fine.
One suggested step for hydroponic Garlic is to place the plants just below the surface of some grow media such as rock wool coco coir or vermiculite. You can dampen the clove slightly, but any moisture than this might have a negative effect. Recommend a temperature range between 35 and 50°F and a growing time at 45 to 60 days.
Air – Wind or air movement has a dramatic influence on the plant’s consumption of water mainly when combined with a high temperature in much the same way as clothes dry much faster on a clothesline on a windy day.
Nutrients requirements for growing Garlic plants hydroponically
The nutrient solution is an important factor in the success or failure of hydroponics. Most fertilizers commonly obtainable in garden centers do not contain all of the 13 elements necessary for plant growth because the growing media generally provides many of them. Hydroponic growing plants receive nutrients from a different source; so it is essential to use a fertilizer formulated for hydroponic systems. Hydroponic fertilizers are obtainable from many mail order companies and a few specialty garden centers. It is very important to follow the dilution rate recommended on the label and to test the solution to be sure that the pH level of Garlic is between 6 and 6.5. Simple pH level test kits and pH modifiers are available wherever fish supplies are sold. Two aspects of nutrition need to be considered they are the supply of nutrients from the nutrient delivery system and the plant nutrient response.
Depending on the stage of plant growth, some elements in the nutrient solution will be depleted more quickly than others. Because of this, it is very important to change the nutrient solution every two weeks. The old solution could be used to water other houseplants or outdoor plants. And, make sure that the nutrient solution is kept at the original volume. As water evaporates from the nutrient solution, the fertilizer becomes more concentrated then burn the roots of plants.
Garlic does well with a pH level in hydroponics is at least 6.0 up to 6.5. As always, you must follow the guidelines of the nutrient line that you are using to ensure that your plants are receiving the proper quantities of macro and micronutrients.
Conditions for growing Garlic hydroponically
- Select the best Garlic cloves. You may opt to buy from the local farmers market or visit a Garlic nursery. Plant the large Garlic cloves, leaving the paper-like wrapping around them.
- Then plant your Garlic in a perlite vermiculite mix or even coco coir.
- And leave the tip facing upwards. As for the plant roots, they will germinate from the other end.
- Place them just beneath the earth’s surface and that you do not leave the tip exposed. Water them gently.
- Plant your crop of Garlic in ideal temperate conditions ranging from 40 to 60°F.
- It should take about 45 to 60 days for these Garlic plants to germinate.
- You may decide to plant your Garlic in a glass of water and place it in a cool and dry location in your home. And, make sure that half of the cloves are submerged in water until the roots begin to germinate. After this, you may now place them in a hydroponic system.
Process of growing Garlic hydroponically
Garlic is a pretty tall plant. You will need to grow lights that can be moved for the different stages of plant growth. Also, due to its dimensions, it is best to make use of reflective material like aluminum. This will help in better propagating the light and ensuring the plant will produce happily. Garlic can be started from seed, but is best growing from “cloves”. Each clove, which is a segment of the full bulb, will produce another bulb. If you are using store-bought Garlic to start, you don’t have much of a choice as to the plant variety you will be growing. Soft neck Garlic is the best for indoor growing as it does not need a cold winter to bloom and hard necks can also be grown indoors successfully.
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You can plant Garlic from seeds or you can opt for cloves. And experts say that for indoors and hydroponic systems the cloves are the perfect point to start from. For hydroponics, the growing media you can opt for perlite or a mixture of perlite and vermiculture. Coco coir can do the job too, but this is to floating away, which can have a lack of stability for the future plant. And, it is said that by placing the seed closer to the surface it will be able to better germinate. Cloves too want to be placed closer to the surface. Keep in mind that when the plant roots finally appear, you will have to adjust the water. Excess water can cause immediately rooting due to the sensitivity of this plant.
Separate the amount of full healthy cloves you intend to Garlic plant. Leave the paper husk on them and plant them in perlite, perlite vermiculite mix, or in coco coir leaving the pointed end facing upwards. Roots will sprout from the fat end. Put them just below the surface, don’t leave the tip exposed and dampen them slightly. If you let them continuously grow and mature, new cloves with continue to generate and then divide, be sure to use a basket large enough if this is your intent.
It should take 45 to 60 days for the Garlic plants to emerge. Ideal conditions are temperatures between 35 and 50°F. They will generate sprouts in temperatures of 40°F or slightly higher. Spacing plants about 3 1/2 to 4 inches apart is just dandy. Start Garlic in a glass of water, in a cool location, keeping the cloves lower half of submerged until roots sprout and then placing it in hydroponics. Don’t leave it submerged for long once the roots appear, or rot will usually follow.
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Garlic plant needs more than 10 hours of light a day. This is why you must opt for reflective surfaces as said above. You can paint the walls of the greenhouse in white, which will make your job easier. Do not fool yourself into thinking that if you let the lights on for the entire day the plant will be happier and excess lighting can kill Garlic. Garlic plant enjoys lower temperature levels, which can eliminate the need for a heating source. This is the reason why light sources must be placed at a safe distance to avoid extra heating. It needs a different variety of nutrients, which means you will have to carefully set up the nutrient mixture. Keep in mind that the excess of nutrients can kill the Garlic plant. And the aim of creating a balance in the system.
In other words, the Garlic plant is not so sensitive and if you can stand the smell, everything will be just fine. You will have to take care of certain aspects such as growing lights and reflective surfaces. Be careful when it comes to opting for a certain growing media for Garlic. If you do not choose it properly, you will end up with a plant that is wobbly and does not have the proper nutrient balance. Opt for sustainability mixed with a plant growing media that slowly releases nutrients.
Grow hydroponic Elephant Garlic
Elephant Garlic is another novel crop fairly new to hydroponic system production. It can produce spectacularly huge and tasty bulbs. Elephant Garlic plant is not true Garlic, but a leek variant. Its flavor is milder than Garlic and more palatable when used raw. The bulbs can produce enormous dimensions (up to a pound in weight), making this a productive hydroponic crop for media bed systems.
For planting material, the individual cloves are separated and sprouted in water for 1 or 2 days until green shoots appear. These are planted into a proper substrate such as pre-conditioned and pre-blended coconut fiber, coco coir perlite mixes, rock wool, or organic mediums and grown in a similar way to other onions.
The growing medium for bulb crops can be inoculated before planting out the cloves with products containing microbes such as Trichoderma, mycorrhizae, and beneficial bacteria. The substrate must be well saturated with water once in place in a warm growing area, then inoculated with products containing these beneficial microbes and left for a few days to allow populations to establish and colonize the growing medium.
Once the cloves have been planted, these beneficial microbes can help to suppress any rot pathogens that are a risk during the first week or two of the establishment. If fungus gnats become a problem during the plant growth, the surface of the growing medium can be covered with black plastic film, chunky perlite, or a recycled glass product developed particularly for gnat control.
Elephant Garlic plant needs a long, warm growing season with a day length of at least 14 hours for bulb formation. The foliage consists of broad flat leaves, but the plant remains compact enough for indoor gardens.
Pests and diseases in hydroponic Garlic
Garlic doesn’t have many pest problems; it is a natural pest repellent. Diseases that plague Garlic is commonly limited to fungal, such as white Rot. Some pests that bother onions will attack Garlic but not as frequently, and the vampires will also be repelled.
Harvesting of hydroponic Garlic
In a conventional garden, Garlic is harvested when more than half the leaves have turned yellow-brown color. In a hydroponics garden, the maturation is accelerated and you can see the cloves without digging them up and so judging when to harvest is simplified. Hang the bulbs up to cure for up to 6 weeks in a shaded, dry, and well-ventilated area. If you’re going to plant more Garlic you could want to save the biggest and best-formed bulbs to replant.
The above information may be applied to soilless garlic farming, growing garlic in an NFT system. You might be interested in Hydroponic Tomato Farming.