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Growing Tarragon Hydroponically – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing Tarragon hydroponically

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is also known as estragon. Tarragon is a much-favored culinary herb, with leaves that have a slight anise flavor. It is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family. It is used in vegetable dishes and soups, mild cheeses, egg dishes, fish, and white sauces. In this article we also discussed the following topics;

  • Hydroponic Tarragon growing conditions
  • Hydroponic Tarragon nutrient requirements
  • Hydroponic Tarragon growing medium
  • Optimal pH for Tarragon growing hydroponically

A step by step guide to growing Tarragon hydroponically

The hydroponics system is an ideal growing method for producing culinary and medicinal herbs.  Not only do hydroponic herbs grow faster, but they also have significantly more flavor and aroma than herb plants grown in soil. Tarragon isn’t a widely grown herb at home, but it is well worth it particularly if you like French cuisine, for which it is a popular and traditional ingredient. It is mainly used to enhance the flavor of fish and chicken dishes and much prized for its aniseed-like flavor.

Advantages of hydroponics gardening

  • Hydroponics system doesn’t even use any kind of solid medium and uses 20 times less water than soil-based gardening.
  • Your environment is sterile, which means no pesticides and you’ll use 20% less space for growing.
  • The Hydroponic system water can be reused, allowing you to conserve water.
  • No chemical weed or pest control products are required when operating a hydroponic system. 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.
  • Hydroponic plants healthier because they receive a balanced and controllable portion of nutrients.

Different varieties of Tarragon

There are two basic tarragon varieties;

  • French (Artemisia dracunculus sativa) and
  • Russian (Artemisia dracunculus L.)

French tarragon is a loose, open perennial growing to about 2 to 3 feet tall. Plant leaves are dark green, narrow, and slightly twisted. French tarragon plants will occasionally produce small, greenish flowers that are sterile.  Plant leaves have licorice or anise flavor. True French tarragon is available as plants grown from cuttings or root divisions. Because the French tarragon plant produces sterile flowers, it cannot be grown from seeds.

Russian tarragon plant has attractive, long, narrow, bright green leaves. The Russian tarragon plant looks a lot more delicate than is and makes a fantastic ornamental for its foliage alone. Its odor isn’t as strong as other tarragon varieties, and growing conditions affect the potency of its flavor.

Conditions for growing Tarragon hydroponically

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Growing conditions for hydroponic  Tarragon.
Growing conditions for hydroponic Tarragon.

Tarragon plant propagates best through root division, planting the divisions at least 18 inches apart. Since tarragon has a shallow root system, care should be taken not to damage the roots when weeding, and special care should be shown during the winter after transplanting, as the plant root systems will not have developed fully.

For growing herbs hydroponically, the ebb-and-flow system is an excellent choice for a hydroponic herb garden. In an ebb-and-flow hydroponic system, the plants are held in plastic pots in a flood table, and the reservoir is underneath. A timer clicks a submersible pump on, flooding the plant roots with nutrient-rich water and expelling waste gasses. When the timer clicks off, the water drains back to the reservoir, pulling fresh oxygen to the plant roots. The timer is set to flood 3 to 4 times per day, with 15 a minute duration per flood.

Most herbs are vegetative, a good grow formula hydroponic nutrient with high nitrogen to phosphorus ratio is an excellent choice for growing most herbs. Six-inch square pots are big enough to hold most small to medium-sized herb plants. Since the water and nutrients are brought to the plant roots instead of the roots having to grow out in search of nutrients, the root systems are smaller in ebb-and-flow systems, with fine, lateral roots forming a kind of sponge. So, most of the energy of the plant goes into vegetative growth instead of root development. The roots are contained inside the pots, and if a good growing medium is used such as expanded clay pellets, even large plants will not get root-bound.

Expanded clay pellets are an excellent growing medium for ebb-and-flow hydroponic systems. During the manufacture of expanded clay, the air is forced into the medium during the kilning procedure and the pellets tend to pop like popcorn. Expanded clay is light and porous, anchoring the roots as allowing plenty of oxygen at the developing root zone. Remember, it’s not overwatering that kills the plant, its lack of oxygen, and expanded clay pellets give excellent drainage with plenty of oxygen between pellet spaces. Though expanded clay has little or no nutrient value, it tends to hold a little water and nutrients between flooding, making it an excellent growing medium for ebb and flow.

The nutrient solution for growing Tarragon hydroponically

Tarragon has long been a staple hydroponic herb and relatively easy to grow. It is a perennial bushy plant with slender branching stems and smooth olive green, narrow plant leaves. The tarragon flavor is strong, sweet, aromatic, and reminiscent of anise and licorice and has been growing in popularity as a culinary flavoring. While the French tarragon plant does receive considerably higher prices per pound than most other herbs, it is slow to produce good yields and can take up to a year before regular harvests of the fresh-cut product can be taken and foliage is light in weight.

French Tarragon plant, is a long-lived perennial plant, is suited to free draining media bed systems with substrates such as perlite as the plant is intolerant of high moisture levels. A warm, well-lit environment is required to prevent plants going into dormancy which halts growth and, in an indoor garden; tarragon can be grown year-round.

Tarragon has similar nutritional requirements to other slower-growing herbs such as rosemary and thyme, with an EC level of 1.6-1.8 for mature plants and 1.0-1.2 for young plants, cuttings or root divisions, or plants just coming out of dormancy.

Hydroponic growers can select from a variety of commercial nutrient solutions or make their solutions. One common recipe combines about ½ ounce of potassium phosphate, 2 ounces of potassium nitrate, 3 ounces of calcium nitrate, and 1 ½ ounce of magnesium sulfate dissolved in 25 gallons of warm water. This recipe requires ½ pint each of iron sulfate, boric acid, and manganese chloride, as well as ½ teaspoon of zinc sulfate and copper sulfate to provide important micronutrients. Because plants exhaust the nutrient solution over time, changing the solution every 3 weeks is necessary to prevent damage to the plants.

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Requirements for growing Tarragon hydroponically

Hydroponics system is a method of gardening that uses water as the primary medium for providing nutrients to plants. Using straw or hay bales is a type of outdoor hydroponic gardening because the straw (or other grass) anchors the roots, but the gardener adds the nutrients when watering (they’re not absorbed from the surrounding soil). The nutrient-rich water is trapped in the straw long enough to feed the herb plants. As gardening methods go, it’s convenient. The bales are elevated, which is nice if you have mobility issues or a back that likes to complain if you do too much bending. You don’t even need access to dirt and you can place a straw bale on concrete, stone, brick, or any other surface that will allow water to drain off safely. Strawbale gardening is becoming more popular, so don’t be surprised if you see bales for sale at local nursery this year.

Depending on what you’re trying to grow, not having the optimum pH of your water can greatly diminish your plants’ ability to absorb vitamins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. (For instance, most of the herbs mentioned above thrive in a pH that is lower than that of most tap water.) So it’s important to check the ideal pH preferences of plants and adjust the water accordingly.

The importance of ensuring that the plant roots receive the appropriate amount of oxygen cannot be stressed enough when growing with a hydroponics system. Lack of oxygen interferes with the respiration of the protoplasm of the root cells causing wilting. This can be present as yellowing and or brown spots on the leaves, the plant does not look healthy in mild cases, but you are not sure what to do. Start by making sure you have the appropriate air delivery to the plant roots, whether you are growing with an ebb and flow or deep water culture hydroponics system. This will increase growth rates and ensure healthy plants. Daytime temperatures of about 18 to 21°C are preferred by herbs. It’s helpful if the night temperature range drop at least -12°C to simulate outdoor conditions. Most herb plants like to be well watered but don’t like constantly wet feet. Therefore, good drainage or exposure to oxygen is very important. Remember that plants weakened by hot, dry indoor conditions are susceptible to spider mites or aphid damage.

The Reservoir for hydroponic systems

Hydroponic systems have a reservoir that is filled with a nutrient solution, a mix of fertilizer and water. There are different options for nutrient sources in hydroponic gardens. Most nutrient solutions can be used for a wide variety of plants and they can be catered to specific crops. A hydroponics reservoir is the main component of hydroponics systems. The reservoir stores the water and nutrient solution that plants need for healthy growth. It allows the nutrient solution to be actively or passively delivered to the growing Tarragon plants.

One of the main problems with hydroponics is delivering the necessary nutrients and water to your plants while controlling the temperature, pH level, concentration, and oxygenation of the nutrient solution. A reservoir provides a large volume of a nutrient solution which makes controlling these variables much easier than any other option for delivering the essential nutrients and water to plants.

The growing area for hydroponic Tarragon

The growing area in a hydroponic can be adjusted to grow nearly any plant. By adjusting irrigation frequency, pot size, substrate, and environment, hydroponic gardeners can create optimal growing conditions for any plant they desire. Some plants are more practical than others; for example, hydroponic wheat and corn are possible but they require large areas for proper pollination, and the economic value of their yield is low and difficult to justify with a capital-intensive growing method.

The Lights and growth media for growing Tarragon hydroponically

Hydroponics is a popular growing technique indoors because it is clean and productive. When gardeners decide to grow indoors they want to maximize the yield in their limited growing area, and this goal is accomplished with hydroponic growing techniques. The main equipment required to grow plants indoors is a grow light. There are many options for indoor lighting and each option has its benefits. Depending on the light intensity, duration, and color, a grow light can stimulate a wide range of desirable plant traits, including enhanced flavor, increased nutrient content, increased plant pigmentation, reduced or increased plant height, earlier or delayed flowering, and increased crop yield.

You can grow Tarragon hydroponically using several kinds of growth media, including sterile root cubes made from peat and vermiculite or cellulose fiber. These help to support the plants and it is also possible to grow herbs hydroponically directly in a nutrient solution, but most require some kind of physical support. Avoid using peat pots or growth cubes produced for non-hydroponic gardening because they tend to disintegrate and may clog the hydroponic system.

Bucket hydroponics for growing Tarragon

  • Tarragon plants started from seed. Seeds sowed in a 1.5-inch rock wool cube in a 2-inch net-pot and moistened with the dilute fertilizer solution.
  • Plant germinated, located directly under a fluorescent light for 16 hours per day. Then, installed plant into 1.125-gallon bucket.
  • Moved plant to indoor grows room, receiving 8 hours LED light per day. Trimmed plants down to encourage branching and trimmed plants again to encourage more branching.
  • Trimmed all flowers off the plant and began harvesting leaves. Tips of lower leaves were starting to burn, so moved the plant back to the less-intense fluorescent lights for 16 hours per day.
  • Harvested some of the plant leaves, pruned back plant significantly. The plant is not growing much these days and then added 2 cups fresh hydroponic fluid.
  • Another plant has died, so it went ahead and harvested the last plant. The plant roots looked terrible, poorly developed, and brown.

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  1. I would like to talk to who ever did the exparement. What if you started from a propagation instead of germination. what are the light requirements then?


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