Introduction to Hydroponic gardening on the Terrace
In the era of ever-expanding city and declining green cover, it is imperative to save and retain green space amidst the concrete jungle. So if you are living in a city with no access to land for gardening, a roof garden might seem like a striking option. Since there is barely any ground space left, the only way to have some greenery and flush of colors on the terrace or balcony of the residential flats, office complex, or commercial hubs. The best part of such gardens that you can produce flowers, fruits, or vegetables right on the terraces, balconies, or roofs of the buildings. But having a terrace garden their own demerits
Demerits of the soil terrace garden
Roof garden weight and structure
The structure and weight of a terrace garden can cause trouble for the overall building. Soil especially wet soil and planting pots is both heavy — whether you build a soil planting bed in your roof garden or use pots, you are considering adding to the weight placed on the terrace structure. Generally, building roofs will need proper strengthening before a roof garden can be grown safely.
A terrace garden places heavier damage on a building’s water supply. If no water outlet is accessible on the roof, you will have to either set up a water source in the terrace garden or carry water from inside the building manually. A conventional land garden can drain freely, but a terrace garden will need an individual and costly drainage structure. This system will make ensure no water from the garden leaks into the building through wall cracks or gaps. In addition, the drainage system will have to ensure no water from the garden is dripping down to the building.
If a terrace garden has soil beds, a shielding membrane requires to be installed between the soil and the building’s rooftop. Installing this membrane is a professional job and can be costly. Terrace garden membranes can be ruined over time or ruptured by screws, nails, or employ garden tools. A ruined membrane can escape water and soil into the building structure. Renovating or replacing the membrane may require complete removal of the terrace garden.
Well, these demerits can be fixed and won’t stop you from having your share of fresh fruits, vegetables, and greenery the answer is HYDROPONICS TERRACE FARMING which takes all theses to worry as it has a sophisticated system.
A step by step guide to terrace hydroponic gardening
Hydroponics is playing an imperative responsibility in changing the way we think about plant growth and is a potential future of gardening and farming. With soilless farming, the lack of gardening space or the lack of knowledge of farming will not be a concern at all.
In case if you miss this: Organic Terrace Gardening.
Hydroponics is a form of gardening that uses no soil, but instead grows plants in a solution of water and nutrients which is the ideal technique of terrace gardening. A hydroponic system can produce plants and vegetables faster and year-round. Plants were grown this way typically yield more, require less space, and conserves water. This system is a perfect way out if you are an apartment inhabitant who does not have an outdoor gardening space answers for how to start a hydroponic garden are simple you just have to buy the correct hydroponic system and kit with all essential components from any store. But in today’s article, we will focus on important considerations for rooftop hydroponics.
Advantages of terrace hydroponic gardening/farming
In an ideal hydroponic system, the water nutrient solution is routinely fed to the plants in a closed circulation arrangement. As a result, hydroponics consumes about 80-90% less water compared to the usual cultivation in soil. Needless over-pouring or unnecessary evaporation over the nutrient is easily prevented in this system.
Less chemical-laden food
As the plants develop in a controlled nutrient solution, they are less exposed to pest attack and free from weed growth. Therefore, the use of herbicides is not necessary which facilitates exceptional offer to grow food organically. The application of pesticides is significantly reduced in comparison to the cultivation in soil, also as the plants are considerably stronger and less exposed to environmental influences.
Hydroponics systems are less labor-intensive because mostly are automated, which means less work – no soil handling, no dirt, less watering, and fewer pests to combat. You can also consider using vertical spaces by employing vertical farming to maximize the number of plants.
Hydroponic systems are perfect for indoor gardening and urban or terrace gardening for the reason that they demand less space. Depending on the used hydroponic system, higher harvest yield can be achieved, compared to conventional soil gardening. This has a space-saving effect on the cultivated area. Plants can be raised vertically or horizontally saving a lot of space and doubling the number of plants.
No soil ploughing and no leakage
Hydroponics can easily be operated on the terrace since the various hydroponic systems provide different facilities such as automated closed water circulation this will help to raise plants and terrace farming without any mess.
Full access nourishment to roots
When growing crops, it can also be valuable to have an easy and clean (without soil around) access to the roots. This helps to identify plant diseases earlier and get rid of it. Since nutrients are directly pouring in the roots so there is no loss of resources or deficiency of nutrients that can be observed and well regulated.
Hydroponic systems for terrace gardening
Though numerous systems of hydroponic are available we will suggest the following three systems for the beginners for hydroponic farming at home
- The wick system
- The water culture system,
- The ebb and flow system.
Because the above-mentioned system utilizes a growing medium such as gravel, sand, or hydroton which provides good support for heavy plants, these setups work well for vegetables and herbs with deep roots such as comfrey, chicory, and beets, or those that have their top-heavy and need support such as beans, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.
More advanced hydroponic systems include the nutrient film technique this type of setup works best with fast-growing, shallow-rooted plants like lettuce, spinach, radishes, and herbs, and the other one is the aeroponic system.
You may also check this: Growing Organic Herbs in Greenhouse.
Suitable plants for terrace hydroponic gardening
Hydroponic garden systems allow you to grow possibly anything following plants is quite successful and often recommended by growers. You must plan to have hydroponic plants which are b similar enough in their watering and nutritional needs so that you don’t have to worry about extra care and special attention.
- Cherry Tomato
- Snap Peas
- Brussel Sprouts
- Summer Squash
- Mustard Greens
- Bootle gourd
- Bitter gourd
Key considerations for terrace hydroponic gardening
- While you can produce almost anything hydroponically, but remember some vegetables succeed more in hydroponic systems than others. Prefer plants that don’t have stringent moisture requirements and that don’t get too big for their set up after all you have limited space on the terrace, such as cucumber, tomato, capsicum, strawberry, lettuce, and leafy greens.
- Whenever considering any vining type plant you must arrange trellis beforehand to provide them support so that the fruit they bear does not get affected.
- When setting up a hydroponic garden on the terrace, based on the size, toughness, and root development of the plants to be raised and the structure of the hydroponic system, one has to decide whether to make use of only a solution culture or some sort of a growth medium.
- Plants with shallow roots, such as leafy greens, do well in nutrient solution cultures. On the other hand, plants with deep roots, for example, beets, and heavy vegetables, such as cucumbers, grow better along with growth mediums such as Rockwool, coconut husk, sponges, and peat moss as they require support to grow up.
- Flowering and fruiting plants require exposure to sunlight while leafy greens develop well even under inexpensive fluorescent lights that are placed above them or under low sunlight conditions so set up the system in an appropriate location as per the requirements of the crop.
- When planning on using an existing space such as terrace, one has to plan a layout of a proper growing environment. Keep in mind not only the size of the system itself but also factors such as walkways, proper space for intercultural operations and harvesting. There should be sufficient space for plants to flourish.
- The plants can only take up the nutrients in your hydroponic nutrient solution if the pH of that nutrient solution is within a range the plants can make use of. If the pH is out of that range, it won’t matter how well or which grades of nutrient solution you are pouring in, the plants will still experience the problem. Hence you should test pH daily until you are well-known with how it can change.
- Using the right size reservoir is very significant to grow plants successfully in hydroponic systems. If your reservoir is too small, that could be the reason for a number of problems. So sizing a reservoir for the type of plants you grow is the key. The common rule of thumb for smaller plants like lettuce or strawberry’s etc. is a least of ½ gallon of nutrient solution per plant in the system. For larger mid-range size plants such as herbs or bush varieties of peppers etc., a minimum of 1 to 1.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant in the system. And for large plants like tomatoes, larger varieties of peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash, etc., a minimum of 2.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant in the system is required.
The water level in your hydroponic gardening on the terrace
The water level of your hydroponic system will differ depending on the type of system you are using, as well as the type of growing media. The type of growing media makes a variation because some will absorb and hold moisture better than the others. In any hydroponic system, the objective is to keep the roots moist, but not let the stem stay wet so the plants build up stem rot.
Flood and drain systems
The principle of flood and drain system is the nutrient solution floods the plant roots from the bottom, so usually, the water level has to be about two inches below the top of the growing media as the system is flooded. If you are using a growing media like Rockwool that becomes saturated easily, you have to it even lower. Fundamentally the very top of the growing media should be almost dry to stay away from stem rot, but a couple of inches down the plant main roots should be moist.
NFT systems characteristically just run on a continuous thin layer of the solution along the bottom of a tube. But depending on how you set up your NFT system, type of plants, the water depth may vary. If the roots are able to pick up enough moisture to keep the growing media slightly moist, it is fine. But if the growing media is saturated, you have to reduce the water flow through the tube or tilt it little to get the water to flow faster.
The water depth in a drip system isn’t actually a concern because the water is supposed to drip/trickle down from the growing media to the bottom of the plant container, and then back to the reservoir. So when working appropriately, the water never really builds up in the plants growing container, the water just moistens the growing media as it drips downward.
But if the roots start to clog your drain lines, you will have to get water pooling in the bottom of the plants’ container, or even overflowing may work as it can’t drain back suitably. Make sure you test your drain lines regularly for clogging roots. Mainly when they get big, and unclog them before the roots can build up too much.
Water culture systems
Here the roots stay submerged underwater all day. The grow baskets or cubes holding the plants are suspended above the water. Generally on floating Styrofoam rafts, or by holes in a stationary lid of the container. In either case, you have to keep the basket positioned so the growing medium can pick up a little moisture so it remains slightly moist, but won’t become saturated. So the type of growing media you use makes a big difference here. The underwater roots in water culture systems must get oxygen from all the air bubbles created from the air pump and air stones so that they won’t suffocate. Some of the fresh air bubbles will rise up to the roots making direct contact with the roots. Also as the air bubbles rise, they will transport oxygen molecules directly into the water itself, called “dissolved oxygen” that way plants can absorb through roots as well.
In case if you are interested in How to Make Money from Hydroponic Store Business.