Growing Hydroponic Vegetables for Profit
Today, we are going to discuss the hydroponic vegetable list and growing hydroponic vegetables for profit at your home and outdoor. We all wish to live with healthy good quality food for ourselves and our family. Every day there seems to be a reminder either online or on the news about unhealthy eating or consumption of harmful toxins in the food. Of course, you could go to a farmers’ market and shop around at some of the specialty organic vegetable shops. But let’s be practical, who has the time to do that? Especially if you have a family and an exhausting job, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to be as thorough as we wish. By growing your food yourself, you know what you’re eating, and you know what has been used to cultivate that plant you’re bringing to your table.
If you have ever asked yourself after reading passages about the buzz of hydroponics,
“What can I grow with Hydroponics?”
Probably, the answer is you can produce anything.
While you can produce almost anything hydroponically, some vegetables will thrive in hydroponic gardens more than others. What will develop best in your water garden depends on the particular system you decide to use.
It turns out hydroponically grown vegetables have an equal amount of nutrients as those grown in the soil. Of course, this also depends on the quality of the nutrients you are putting in their growing nutrient-enriched water.
Here’s a list of some of the advantages of growing Hydroponic indoor plants and hydroponic outdoor plants:
Are hydroponic vegetables safe to eat? Yes of course, at least with this you are aware of where your food is coming from.
You can avoid using any harmful pesticides.
Hydroponic plants generally grow faster than those grown in soil so you can produce fast-growing hydroponic plants.
Growing hydroponic vegetables for profit because of its easy cultivation practices.
The yields are often found greater than those grown in soil.
You don’t need a dedicated garden space or say, much space at all to grow plants hydroponically.
Hydroponic plants generally attract fewer pests and diseases hence fewer losses.
There are no weeds to rogue out regularly.
Hydroponic gardening saves and recycles water.
Hydroponically produced vegetables can be of high quality and need little washing, no risk of preservatives.
Soil preparation and intercultural operations are reduced or eliminated
It is promising to produce very high yields of hydroponic root vegetables even in a small area because in a hydroponics environment is made optimal for plant growth. All the nutrients and water that the plants necessitate are available at all times.
Bes part is soil-borne diseases can be eliminated which are responsible for major yield loss. Now, let’s get into the details of growing hydroponic vegetables and hydroponic vegetable list.
Vegetables for Your Hydroponic System
Vegetables flourish well in any hydroponic system. There is a lengthy list of vegetables that grow well in a hydroponic garden and they comprise of artichokes, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, beets, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Conventional vegetables that are cultivated traditionally under the soil, such as onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, yams and radishes can also be raised hydroponically but they may call for extra care. Hydroponic root vegetable turnips, radishes, carrots, and beets are grown successfully grown as best NFT crops or in the ebb and flow hydroponic system usually.
Some crops that are avoided in hydroponic gardens are corn, zucchini, summer squash, and huge vining plants. They dejected to grow in a hydroponic garden for the reason that they are not space efficient, and require much more hard work. So it is wise to spend your resources on crops that are more suited to the compact hydroponic systems to harvest more yield particularly when you are growing hydroponic vegetables for profit.
Just make a note of the list of hydroponic vegetables best matched for hydroponic gardening as you only need best hydroponic grow medium, best hydroponic grow lights and best hydroponic kits that are easily available in the market and online stores selling horticultural goods.
Following is a Hydroponic vegetable list that can grow well in hydroponic systems, along with some information:
- Spring onions
Read: Growing Hydroponic Flowers.
Vining plants such as tomatoes are amongst the best indoor hydroponic plants as they require a small amount of space to grow and you can also grow them indoor in room or balcony. Since hydroponics enables you to watch and control the nutrients the plant received facilitates the grower to enjoy a continuous harvest all year long without sacrificing the taste. Hydroponically cultivated tomato plants grow finest when they get 16 to 18 hours of sunlight each day and are sprinkled through a drip-irrigation hydroponic system or a flood-and-drain table. The optimal pH range of the nutrient solution for growing tomato cultivation is 5.8 to 6.3. Tomatoes do best if you trim them regularly to a lone stem supported by twine or trellis. You can select one main stem and train it up, disregarding other side stems and breaking off the “suckers” (shoots which sprout between the main stem and each leaf petiole). Tomatoes are vigorous enough to work with an extensive range of hydroponic systems. Saplings or seedlings are the easiest way to have your own hydroponic gardening system. You can buy these from your local hydroponics/garden store. It is, of course, hopeful to grow tomatoes from the seeds. Though this method adds a couple of weeks to the total budding time, it has several advantages as well.
Growing Hydroponic Lettuce
Lettuce is becoming one of the top choices for new hydroponic growers and is one of the most widespread plants grown amongst hydroponic gardeners. Hydroponic lettuce is surprisingly easy to cultivate and boost great confidence in beginner hydroponic enthusiast. Hydroponic lettuce grows faster and does not require much space and is a low maintenance crop thriving under the hydroponic system. There is a range of hydroponic systems that you can grow plants in, which comprises of aeroponic systems, NFT systems, drip systems, ebb-flow systems, and many more. Water culture systems, where roots of plants grow downwards and soak up nutrients while plants float directly on the top of the water, this system is recommended for growing lettuce at home because of the effortlessness of the system. For large production or when you have decided to grow lettuce exclusively, nutrient film method is the best suited hydroponic system for lettuce gardening. The most frequently used growth medium option in lettuce hydroponics is Rockwool which is both porous and inert means it won’t react and affect the growth of developing lettuce. When using Rockwool as the growing medium, be careful to keep it from getting too saturated or soggy as it can result in root rot, stem rot, and root suffocation because of less oxygen availability.
Growing Hydroponic Spinach
Spinach is all well-suited to hydroponic gardening and takes up minimal space in an indoor garden if grown to be harvested comparatively young. Spinach is undemanding to grow and can be produced in much the similar way as lettuce in nutrient film technique (NFT) systems, float systems, and media beds. Cultivating spinach for young leaf or microgreen production is fairly easier than raising larger mature plants as the mature spinach plants can be prone to developing pythium root rot, predominantly in recirculating solution culture hydroponic systems such as NFT. Soil-less culture growing methods and best hydroponic system for vegetables like NFT (nutrient film technique) or DWC (Deep Water Culture) offers a superior level of sustainability and ease of management for home growers and commercial gardeners equally. Because the plants obtain more oxygen at the roots, only a small quantity of fertilizer is required. In hydroponic growing systems, or “water culture” methods, there is small or no growing medium to be replaced or throw away, the roots are submerged in a gentle flow of constantly circulated and aerated nutrient solution with no obstacle to get in the way of absorbing the macro and micronutrients they grow rapidly and healthy, while offering better-quality nutrition in harvests.
Spinach seed calls for an optimum germination temperature of 64-68°F, and temperatures over 79°F can check germination because of the of induction secondary dormancy in spinach seed lots. Spinach seed viability declines hastily with time, so seed that has been stored in open packets may not sprout or only germinate unevenly with poor quality seedlings as a result. Seed should be best purchased in small lots and sown without delay to avoid the need for long-term storage. Growing hydroponic spinach from seed is quite simple and trouble-free. Make sure to provide the seedling and germinating seeds at least 12 hours of light sunlight or artificial grow lights.
The ideal pH range for spinach hydroponics is 5.8–6.0. Maintaining high levels of dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution of the hydroponic system helps to prevent pythium outbreaks and encourage high-quality growth.
Spinach may also be prone to leaf yellowing; this characteristically occurs under very cool growing conditions where the developing plant is incapable to take up sufficient iron or where roots have damaged during the process of transplantation, or where the deoxygenating condition has aroused due to overwatering or nutrient stagnation has occurred.
Read: Aeroponic Gardening.
Growing Hydroponic Cucumbers
Cucumbers flourish in hydroponics gardens due to their rapid growth rate and less stringent requirements for warmth, moisture, and nutrients and growers enjoy various cucumber benefits. They are one of the highest yielding vegetable plants commonly grown under hydroponic techniques fast-growing and high yielding, cucumbers are extremely productive with some consideration to training and pruning and a well-balanced mix of nutrient formula. Growing cucumbers hydroponically outdoors is more rewarding and easier than growing indoors because due to the availability of more space to develop and spread out. Outdoors they can be trained to grow vertically which means less space will be required between the plants. Cucumbers are characteristically vining plants and have to be strung upwards for support with help of trellis to maximize the use of vertical space. However, there are some more compact bush type varieties that can be grown in smaller containers where there is insufficient vertical room, especially when grown indoors. Germination of the seed occurs greatest at 80 to 82°F and is quick, with root emergence observed within two days. Young seedlings are best hardened off steadily at 72 to 75°F before planting into a hydroponic setup.
The hydroponic nutrient solution can be easily purchased from various stores. Nutrient solutions should commence on a standard vegetative formulation at a moderate EC of 1.8 to 2 and a pH of 5.8. This must then be switched to a fruiting formulation with higher potassium levels for safeguarding and ensuring good fruit quality as soon as the first tiny fruits have formed and maintained until the crop is matured. Hydroponics cucumbers are ready to harvest generally in 50-70 days after germinating depending upon the variety used. Cucumber should be medium to dark green, firm and need to be picked before yellowing.
Growing Hydroponic Spring onions
Providing fresh salads every day to your family is easy when you start hydroponic gardening. Hydroponics is one of another successful method for growing spring onions. Green onions, also known as spring onions, are among the earliest fresh vegetables available in the spring. Harvested from immature bulb onions, they need only six to eight weeks of growth until harvest. Because green onions taste most excellent fresh from the garden and because you can raise a large crop in just a small amount of space, they are an excellent vegetable to cultivate in hydroponic systems, even by beginners. You can start with seeds available in the market and can see seedlings emerging in about 10 days of seed sowing. It is advised to start onion seeds in damp paper towels, then pick out with tweezers and gently insert into the planting medium to let them germinate. As the seedlings appear you should remove gently and thoroughly rinse if any transplants grown in a non-sterile medium like soil before moving them into your hydroponic garden as soil may facilitate the growth of soil-borne disease or pest that will get transferred in your hydroponic garden. Since you will be harvesting green onions in just a few weeks and so don’t allow the bulbs to grow up to maturity. Harvest green onions when the fresh green tops reach 6 to 8 inches in length by gently pulling the complete plant from the growing bed. You can adjust the planting dates in batches to maintain a regular supply of green onions for your kitchen.
Growing Hydroponic Cabbage
Brassica family includes a wide range of plants well-suited to different hydroponic systems. These cruciferous vegetables comprise of the Brassica oleracea (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and collard greens), Brassica rapa (Chinese cabbage, turnip), Raphanus sativus (radish).
Cabbage is one of the members of cole crops. Cabbage is a heavy feeder, so it will take up nutrient solution much faster than an easy crop like lettuce. Be sure to keep a keen observation on nutrient levels no matter what type of hydroponic setup you use to grow the cabbage. You must ensure that they don’t run out and get dry as that will put them into nutrient stress, which is an open invitation to pests and various diseases even in the indoor gardening system. Insufficient moisture outdoors, along with excessive temperature also causes cracking of head. Other than pest attack, the most widespread problem with cabbage gardening is splitting, a cracked head is equal to a ruined crop. When the head cracks and splits this looks unattractive to consumers and can catch dirt and disease easily. Splitting is caused when the heads grow large and firm when resources (such as water, fertilizer or nutrient supply) are amplified.
For best germination success, you should keep seedlings a little warmer than the temperature of the mature crop of about 65–70º F. Scarification of seeds can also add to the germination rate. After being planted, seeds will germinate approximately in 4–7 days and will be ready to be transplanted about 4–6 weeks later or when the first true leaves appear. Depending on the variety of cabbage and the size of head desired, the crop will be ready for harvesting about 9 to 11 weeks later. You can harvest cabbage when the head is firm and big enough. You can also succeed with this crop using the non-circulating hydroponic system such as the Kratky method. However, cabbage heads will be larger at harvest if you cultivate this crop in floating raft beds than a tote system.
When growing indoors when there is no sunlight which means the only energy required will be your grow lights usage. If you live in a humid area, you most likely won’t have an issue, but in a dry climate, scorching summer temperatures could cause your crop to have problems that will leave you wishing you’d just grown your cabbages in the grow room instead. Brassicas, like other leafy vegetable crops, do just all right with a minimum of 6 hours of direct light a day. Watch your pH level in the nutrient reservoir. For cabbage cultivation, you must maintain the pH level at 6.5-70.
You can also cultivate hydroponic cabbage outdoors as well. It can withstand temperature drops very agreeably and doesn’t get spoiled in the hydroponic garden when frost sets in. Though you may want to place your hydroponic system where it will fetch some shade during the hottest part of the day. Humidity may be an issue outdoors more than the indoor hydroponic system. Don’t overplant the space you have for growing cabbage in a hydroponic setup. Putting too many plants on one reservoir will definitely amplify the crop maintenance requirements. The common range for most of the brassicas is temperatures in the 54-79°F range with a moderate level of direct light. Avoidance of temperatures over 79°F helps to prevent one of the main issues with many brassica crops which are bolting, defined as the premature formation of a flowering stem. Bolting is characterized by the upwards elongation of the plant and loose formation of leaves inside cabbage head or early flowering in case of broccoli.
Essential Tips for Growing Hydroponic Vegetables Indoors
Here are a few additional tips and considerations to keep in mind for your new hydroponic vegetable garden:
Lighting for growing hydroponic vegetables:
Just because a plant is being cultivated in water doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t still necessitate sunlight. Especially in the case of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and most plant anything with flowers, you’ll need to either situate your plants near a south-facing window or figure out some other approach to fetch them much-needed light preferably at least six hours a day. Unfortunately, this can be extremely complicated due to various spectrums of light, intensity, and power, not to mention the different needs of different plants. So grow lights are the best savage for fulfilling the light requirements to plants.
The pH Level for growing hydroponic vegetables:
Depending on what you’re demanding to grow, not having the optimum pH level of your nutrient solution can to a great extent diminish your plants’ ability to absorb required vitamins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. (For instance, most of the vegetables mentioned above grow well in a pH level that is lower than that of most tap water.) So it is significant to check the ideal pH preferences of your plants and adjust the nutrient solution accordingly.
Climate/Temperature requirement for growing hydroponic vegetables:
As most plants prefer an optimum temperature between 60–80°F for proper growth, it becomes important to keep a note on how warm or cold it gets around your hydroponic garden. Sometimes you will need to defend it from the heat generated by your grow lamps or a nearby radiator. Other times you will require protecting them from falling temperatures in the winter, even though they are indoors.
Growth media is another important constituent of any hydroponic system. Since in hydroponics you are growing plants without soil which naturally is a support system for nurturing developing roots. So in a hydroponic system, this function of providing anchorage is done by growing medium. There is a variety of growing medium available in stores depending upon the type of crop and hydroponic system used you can pick the appropriate growth medium.
We have prepared a list of different growing medium suitable for use in different hydroponic systems.
- Expanded clay pellets – deep water culture, NFT, Drip systems
- Coco coir – passive hydroponics
- Rockwool – Drip, Flood and drain systems
- Perlite/Vermiculite – NFT, Drip system, also used with other growing media like Coco Coir
The functions of the growth medium are:
- The growth medium is the substitute for the soil in hydroponic systems.
- To provide the roots with Oxygen dissolved in water.
- Brings the water and dissolved nutrients in contact with the developing roots
- Anchor the plants so that they do not fall over hence encouraging its growth.
That’s all folks about growing hydroponic vegetables for profits.
Read: Weekend Farming in India.