Hydroponic Greenhouse Farming – A Full Guide

Hydroponic Greenhouse Farming.
Hydroponic Greenhouse Lettuce.

A full guide to hydroponic greenhouse farming

Hydroponic greenhouse farming is fun and a profitable business. Many urban people are showing interest to grow veggies, fruits and flowers in hydroponic greenhouses. Learning hydroponic greenhouse gardening advantages is very much essential for profitable gardening. A hydroponic greenhouse is armed with technology and systems essential for the comprehension of a culture based on the principles of hydroponics, which can be defined as: Irrigation system by which the crops are balanced nutrient solution dissolved in water with right concentration with all the chemicals required for the growth of plants, which can be grown directly on the nutrient solution, or in a substrate or inert growth medium.

You can grow plants year-round without any digging or weeding, thanks to hydroponics. Hydroponic gardening facilitates plants to grow well in nutrient-rich water, anchored with clay pebbles or shale pellets. Greenhouse gardening allows gardeners to be in charge of the climate, enabling home gardeners to grow plants despite outside temperatures. Combining the two techniques gives the utmost flexibility to home gardeners since the outdoor climate is no longer a factor. Gravel or clay pebbles are usually used as an anchorage for root support, and a balanced mixture of all the necessary nutrients is regularly fed to the crops in a liquid form. This method is known as “sub-irrigation culture.” In large commercial greenhouses, it’s been advanced to such a degree that once the seedlings have been planted almost all the work is done by automation. Delicate sensors in the grow media “decides” when the plants require more nutrient solution and turn on pumps which meter out the accurate dosage. Hydroponically raising plants in a greenhouse is more rewarding as they are carefully monitored under controlled environmental conditions. So greenhouse benefits can be enjoyed with advantages of hydroponics.

NFT Hydroponic Greenhouse Farming.
NFT Hydroponics in Greenhouse.

When you don’t have enough space inside your home to garden year-round, backyard hydroponic greenhouse many people start considering the concept of putting up a greenhouse for consistent supply. Building hydroponic greenhouse yourself is a lot smarter than buying one of those kits, and you can find lots of DIY greenhouse projects crafted from recycled materials

The development and use of controlled environment with hydroponics have enhanced the production of the crop, economic well being of many communities throughout the world and with the training and support in establishing such project, appropriate human resources and entrepreneurs can be developed to make hydroponics a technical reality. Such production systems can assist in producing an endless list of horticultural crops, field-grown fresh vegetables, and ornamentals that are not possible or unavailable throughout the year. In addition to this you with the help of hydroponic greenhouse you can be about your safe food year-round satisfying your gardening cravings also.

Advantages of hydroponic greenhouse farming:

There are many advantages of having a hydroponic greenhouse:

  • Crops raised in hydroponic greenhouse yields more than the conventional soil gardening
  • Maintains optimum growth conditions for maximum photosynthetic performance of the plant.
  • In return, plant maximizes energy use from photosynthesis to increase the yielding ability of the crops.
  • Improved water use efficiency.
  • Space is provided and used more efficiently as the surface requirements are way less for the same product than traditional growing.
  • It Shortens crop cycles because the plant growth is faster.
  • Counter various problems caused by soil quality depletion
  • Resolves and in the first place, it avoids the problems caused by soil such as disease and insect-pest infestation.
  • No water and nutrient stress as both are provided appropriately by the automated system
  • Maintenance and labor charges in the hydroponic greenhouse are very less as automated facility are available for irrigation and nutrient supply.
  • The controlled temperature and humidity levels allow crop growth throughout the year.
  • More plants can be grown in a compact area simply means more yield

Potential implementation areas and significance of hydroponic greenhouse farming:

  • Residential, industrial and services buildings
  • No stringent requirement of soil and exclusive land for growing crops
  • Resistant to weather-related distractions
  • Potential fresh food production year around
  • Favourable prospective environmental benefits
  • Agronomic practices easy to follow
  • A treat for a garden hobbyist

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Hydroponic systems for greenhouse farming:

A greenhouse is a way more than just a protective space for growing plants, it serves to bring the best out of your hydroponic system and generate a secure, relaxing and productive space. Your hydroponic greenhouse can be a brilliantly lit, extremely green, comfortable and airy place, or it can turn into a plant’s awful nightmare, baking hot during summers, frozen solid in winter and dripping with condensation all year round. The difference lies in its design.

A hydroponic system can be set up indoors as well as outdoors but it is suggested and efficient to install a hydroponic greenhouse for outdoor hydroponic gardening. One can buy a variety of greenhouse design, kits, hydroponic greenhouse for sale on online platforms   with varying hydroponic greenhouse cost

but when you are setting up a hydroponic greenhouse from scratch, the thorough study of climate conditions and the site will help you. For building an outdoor greenhouse make sure you have a covered site else rain will dilute nutrient solution and disturb pH conditions

For greenhouse following hydroponic systems are most desirable: 

EBB & FLOW – (Flood and Drain):

The Ebb and Flow system work by temporarily flooding the grow tray with the nutrient-enriched solution and then draining the solution back into the reservoir. This action is normally carried with the help of a submerged pump that is connected to a timer.

When the timer turns the pump on, the nutrient solution is directly pumped into the grow tray flooding the roots. When the timer shuts the pump off the nutrient solution streams back into the reservoir. The Timer is set on several times a day, depending on the size and type of plants, temperature and humidity and the type of growing medium used this ensure regular nutrient supply. The Ebb & Flow is one of the versatile systems that can be used with a variety of growing mediums and used in commercial hydroponics as well. The entire grow tray can be filled with Grow Rocks, gravel or granular Rockwool like inert grow media. Many people prefer to use individual pots filled with growing medium, this makes it simpler to move plants around or even move them in or out of the hydroponic system.

The main drawback of this type of system is that with some types of growing medium (Gravel, Growrocks, Perlite), there is a susceptibility to power outages as well as pump and timer failures like a glitch.

The roots tend to dry out quickly when the watering cycles are disturbed. This problem can be encouraged somewhat by using growing media that retains more water content (Rockwool, Vermiculite, coconut fiber). 

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Drip Systems Recovery/Non-recovery:

Drip systems are possibly the most widely used type of hydroponic system in the world. Operation is easy; a timer controls a submersed pump. The timer turns the pump on and nutrient solution is dripped onto the base of each plant through a small drip line. In a Recovery Drip System, the excess nutrient solution that runs off is collected back in the reservoir for its re-use. The Non-Recovery System does not collect the runoff nutrient. A recovery system uses nutrient solution a bit more resourcefully, as the excess solution is reused; this also permits for the use of a more inexpensive timer because a recovery system doesn’t need precise control of the watering cycles.

The non-recovery system must have an extra precise timer so that watering cycles can be adjusted to make certain that the plants get adequate nutrient solution and the runoff is kept to a minimum.

The non-recovery system needs comparatively low maintenance owing to the fact that the excess nutrient solution isn’t recycled back to the reservoir, so the nutrient strength and pH of the reservoir will not fluctuate. This means that you can fill up the reservoir with pH adjusted nutrient solution and then overlook it until you need to mix more solution. On the other hand, a recovery system can have large alteration in the pH and nutrient strength levels that require periodic checking and adjustment. 

N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique):

Because of its popularity and success, this is the kind of hydroponic system most people think of when they assume about hydroponics. An N.F.T. system maintains a constant flow of nutrient solution so no timer is required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray (usually a PVC tube) and flows over the developing roots of the plants, and then drains back to the reservoir. There is usually not as such growing medium requirement other than air, which saves the expenditure of replacing the growing medium after every crop. Normally the plant is supported in a small plastic grow basket with the roots hanging into the nutrient solution. N.F.T. systems are very susceptible to power outages and pump failures making it little care demanding. The roots dry out very rapidly when the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted so one has to keep an eye of its functioning. 

Aeroponics:

The aeroponic system is probably the most high-tech kind of hydroponic gardening system. Like the N.F.T. system above the growing medium for the system principally is air. The roots hang in the air and are misted with the nutrient-enriched solution. The misting is regularly performed in every few minutes. Because the roots are exposed to the air similar to the N.F.T. system, the roots are prone to dry out quickly if the misting cycles are disturbed. A timer regulates the nutrient pump much like in other types of the hydroponic system it is installed, one exception in the aeroponic system is it requires a short cycle timer that runs the pump for a few seconds in every couple of minutes.

Best Greenhouse Plants:

Raising  plants in a greenhouse with hydroponics can be rewarding for both, home gardener, as well as for the commercial gardener, not only one can propagate new plants from your existing landscape favourites, but you can also get a fresh start on your vegetable garden, or grow it completely organic food with the help of a greenhouse. Although the plants that will grow best in your greenhouse depend heavily on the hydroponic setup, suitable plants for greenhouse hydroponic gardening are on hand for every kind of greenhouse and climate.

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Year-round greenhouse growers will require extra complicated systems fitted with automated heating and cooling systems, ventilation facilities, lights and shades to hide plants that have need of darkness to flower. These types of greenhouses host the widest range of plants, and can often be accustomed to carry the growth of nearly any type of plant. Larger greenhouses can be divided within to generate climate zones, allowing different growing conditions within the same structure this will allow one to grow diverse crops.

List of Common Greenhouse Plants Vegetables – 

Vegetables for hydroponic greenhouse farming:

Usually divided into two main groups: cool-season crops and warm-season crops.

Cool-season crops such as lettuce, broccoli, peas, and carrots are great choices for cold frames and unheated backyard greenhouses. These plants can stand chilly nights, so heating isn’t essential when growing them unless you live in an area where temperatures reach extreme lows.

Many also grow well in part-shade, reducing the requirement for overhead lighting. Just make sure to appropriately ventilating your greenhouse and put in a fan for the rare hot day in the early season.

Warm-season vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and peppers, thrive in greenhouses with stable temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (12-29 C.). These plants often necessitate supplemental lighting, trellising and manual-pollination, but will offer you with year-round summer favourites.

Ornamentals – they may be categorized into the sun or shade-loving annuals and perennials and may be further divided by their humidity requirements or other exclusive features.

Other suitable ornamental and landscape plants comprises of: Geraniums Impatiens Petunias Salvia , Caladiums Ferns Poinsettias Chrysanthemums Pansies Coleus Gazanias.

Plants unsuitable for hydroponic greenhouse:

Crops that require more space for their growth are recommended to not be grown in the greenhouse. Crops like pumpkins, maize, melons, and squash are not suggested to grow in the greenhouse though they can be grown but they won’t be able to exhibit their full vigour due to restricted growing space. Similarly, plants which demand agencies like insects for pollination should not be grown in a greenhouse because they will require manual pollination for fruit set which is a tiring job to do.

That’s all gardeners about hydroponic greenhouse farming benefits, and other information.

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