Starting Hydroponics Gardening At Home
Today, we are into “starting hydroponics gardening at home”. In the era of an ever-expanding population and depleting resources, it is very difficult to get our share of fresh and chemical free food in our plates. Every day we come across drastic effects of poor eating and chemical based food products. So the best way to keep ourselves healthy and our surroundings clean is to have our own producers.
Gardens for family living on top floors of urban societies!!
Gardens for people working 9 to 5!!
Gardens for 2BHK restricted space!!
The solution is innovative farming at your own home “Hydroponics”.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is an emerging sustainable soil-less gardening. It basically involves raising healthy plants without the use of a traditional soil culture by using a mineral-rich water hydroponic nutrient solution instead. It is one of the famous modern farming technologies emerging successfully across the globe.
Advantages of hydroponics:
- Availability of produce throughout the year, even farmers can maximize their profits.
- Faster growth of plants than conventional gardening due to the constant and readily available nutrients.
- It is a Green practice, as it is good for the environment because of minimal demand for herbicides and pesticides than soil gardening.
- Plants are free from soil-borne disease infestation, unlike soil gardening.
- Water usage is very less than soil gardening as there is no loss of water by drainage or evaporation instead water used for hydroponics can be recycled and reused, making it sustainable practice.
- Best suited for urban areas because of less arable land and gardening space.
- Hydroponics can be utilized for aesthetic purposes like decorating balcony, indoor gardening, and vertical gardens.
- Plants under hydroponics system can easily be maintained and look after as growers can have total control over the climate – temperature, humidity, light, the composition of the air.
- Hydroponics system can be used for the experimental purpose in various research laboratories.
- Can be a great help in raising transplants for plant nurseries in less cost and space.
- Hydroponics is free from weeds and so is grower free from the stress of timely weeding, hoeing, etc hence it is a time saver and labor free.
- Stress relieving hobby regardless of your small apartment space you can enjoy gardening even after your exhausting work hours without putting much more efforts. So hydroponics is the best way to be in touch with nature.
The principle behind effortless home gardening with hydroponics:
Growing plants, fresh veggies, and alluring fruit vines in our small balcony is no longer a wish and dream. You can now fill your home with green herbs and fresh fragrance of blooming flowers now in your small bedroom spaces. Thanks to HYDROPONICS.
Hydroponics originated from the Greek word hydro means: water and ponos mean: working. Since our elementary school, we know plants grow by the process of photosynthesis a process in which chlorophyll pigment present in green leaves convert carbon dioxide (a gas in the air) and water into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen in presence of light. Hence our plant requires light, carbon dioxide and water to grow. Hydroponics utilizes this principle for growing high volume plants in less space.
The underlying principle behind the science of soil less culturing is to provide a pre-calculated and estimated nutrient concentration in continuously agitated water in a closed container. Pre-estimation of hydroponics farming nutrients is done on the basis of requirements of a particular plant. For more convenience nutrient solutions with desired mineral concentration are already available in the market online as well as offline.
Requirements for building a hydroponics system:
Supreme of all, water is the medium that will provide all necessary nutrients to the developing plant as well as it behaves like a solvent for the nutrients and air. Loss of water is less than the soil gardening due to less evaporation and drainage.
Critical for photosynthesis. When plants are grown hydroponically outdoor one may rely mostly on sunlight while growing plants indoor it is necessary to provide artificial illumination or balanced exposure to solar radiation as required by the plant. For artificial illumination combination of fluorescent tubes and ordinary sodium lamps are proven useful in past nowadays LED light emitters are also preferred depending upon the size of hydroponic system setup.
Inorganic mineral nutrients:
For a number of reasons, hydroponic nutrients differ from nutrients (fertilizers) used to raise plants growing in the soil. Ready to use nutrient solutions are easily available in the market you can buy a proven formula from a reliable manufacturer
For proper growth of a plant in the hydroponic system proper aeration which enables availability of oxygen plays a key role. Because in order to absorb water and nutrients, the roots require a certain amount of oxygen. Plants do not show good growth characteristics in waterlogged and anaerobic conditions. For proper oxygen supply provision of aeration should be made for this circulating hydroponic setup can be done or bubbling of water medium by using electric or mechanical aerators can be done. Aerators or water pumps are also easily available in the market.
Anchorage or support also plays an important role in plant growth for plants’ growing in soil anchorage is not a hitch. However, when plants are grown in soilless culture, it is essential to provide some means of support for the seedlings (like clay balls filled in the plastic mesh cups). Substrate like clay balls, cocopeat, vermiculite, rock wool, etc is easily accessible in stores online as well as offline. Anchorage materials are inert and they don’t provide any nutrients it is only needed for support. Choice of anchorage or medium depends on circumstance or gardening comfort, the material should not absorb water if it becomes soggy it will cause roots to suffocate due to less oxygen.
Container or hydroponic system:
The container is the setup of any hydroponic system it contains nutrient medium and plant. You can build a reservoir out of any plastic that holds water. The container shouldn’t leak, hold enough water, and must be clean before it can be used as a reservoir. A reservoir also needs to be opaque or light proof, as algae and microorganisms can begin growing with even low light levels. The trick for selecting light proof container is, hold the container to be used over your head and see light coming through it if light passes it’s not light proof. Well, any container can be made waterproof easily to make any container light proof by painting it, covering it, or wrapping something like bubble wrap insulation around it. Coloured and containers of unique shape also add on to the aesthetic value of your plant growing in it. Systems are available from a variety of commercial suppliers. An advantage to putting together your own system is that you just will customize the look to suit your house and also the varieties of plants you would like to grow.
Guide to start home gardening with hydroponics:
Now, most awaited treat for our gardeners. With these simple steps, you can plant your first plant by using hydroponics.
Requirements for starting hydroponics gardening:
- A small container or bottle or bucket or buy the readymade hydroponic system
- The nutrient solution for hydroponics
- Any plant seedling
- Anchorage material such as rock wool, small clay rocks
- Fresh Water
- An aerator or small water motor
- pH testing kit including pH buffer solutions
- Planting cups
Determine the Location
Select the location where you want to keep your hydroponic system. The floor should be levelled to ensure even coverage of water and nutrients to the plants in the system. Locate electric sockets or electric board in case of using water aerator or artificial lighting. If you wish to keep your hydroponic system outdoor make sure too much of sunlight do not fall on your plants this will cause a high rate of water loss by evaporation. Availability of sunlight should be maintained according to the growth habit of the plant so locate your hydroponic system accordingly. The location also plays a major role in starting hydroponics gardening.
Assemble the Hydroponic System
- Assemble your system you can buy your setup from the market or you can make one.
- Fill your hydroponic system with water and mix the nutrient solution in water as per recommended ratio.
- Now fix water motor or aerator (easily available as aquarium aerators) inside the system or container.
- Plant baskets or standard cups are usually installed on the hydroponics system our next step is to put the desired plantlet inside these small baskets. If you have started your own seedlings in starter cubes, just fill the basket with growing media and set your seedlings in it. But if you are starting with potted plants in potting soil, wash off all the soil from the roots in running water gently.
- Next, put anchorage material such as small clay balls inside these small baskets without hurting the plantlet. The clay balls should not be soaking wet. It’s fine and even helpful if the top inch of the growing media is fully dry, but 2-3 inches down should be moist (not soaking wet).
- Now your system is ready to install in your selected location.
- As soon as the plant is planted in your hydroponic system monitoring period starts, measure the pH of the solution by available pH meter kits and keep monitoring the growth of the plant in the system.
- Carefully observe any symptoms of a disease or pest infestation in the plant after a certain day’s interval also looks for fungal growth or any accumulation in the container.
- Water should be transferred after some days and fresh water and nutrients should refill.
Well, hydroponics is no rocket science, with this information and little care you can beautify your space by growing different plants without much time and stress.
So happy gardening!
Read: Methods of Seed Sowing.