Everyone wants a continuous supply of fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, not all of us have a sizable piece of land where we can plant a variety of vegetables. This is where the value of hydroponics comes in. Hydroponics is a method of planting wherein the use of soil is taken outside of the equation. This means that you can set up your garden almost anywhere.
Advantages of Hydroponics Gardening
- It does not use a lot of space.
- It allows you to grow plants which are off-season.
- It gives you higher yield.
Setting up your own Hydroponics garden
Setting up hydroponics garden can be costly. However, the materials which are needed can be substituted with recycled materials from the house.
Determine where you want to put your garden. You can either have an indoor or outdoor garden. The good thing about outdoor garden is that the plants get natural sunlight which is essential for its growth. The main consideration for an outdoor garden is that it will require more water compared to an indoor garden since water evaporates faster when expose to the sun. If you decide to put your garden inside your home, you will need fluorescent light for some plants or an HID lamp for plants likes tomatoes and green beans.
Determine what plants and how many of each variety you would like to plant. You can either prepare the starter plant yourself or you can opt to buy them from the local stores. If you have no idea on gardening, it is recommended that you buy starter plants.
Determine the amount of space you will use.You can initially make use of a 4×4 space. When you have learned more about the plants and hydroponics in general, then you can use a larger space and harvest more. Plan to have the plants arranged with equal spaces.
Prepare the materials needed. The materials include the following:
- Container. This will be used to hold both the plants and the nutrient solution. You can use a storage bin which you may already have at home.
- Mesh pots. You can use recycled yogurt containers. Slit the bottom edges of the yogurt containers so plants can absorb the water and nutrient solution.
- Rockwool. The purpose of this material is for the plant to hold the water so the plant is kept moist. You can use coconut fiber as an alternative.
- Nutrient Solution. The solution consists of Water Soluble Hydroponic Fertilizer 8-15-36, Magnesium Sulfate and Calcium Nitrate. For a 5 gallon solution, you can use the ratio 2:1:2 teaspoons of each of the components.
- Aquarium pump, air stones and air hose for aeration.
Prepare the pots. If you are using yogurt pots, put them upside down on the lid of the container. Trace around the pots and make sure that no lines overlap. Using a compass, get the radius of the base of the yogurt pot and trace it from the center, making a smaller circle inside the big one. Then, cut the small circle. The idea here is that the lid of the container will hold the base of the yogurt pots such that the pots are suspended on the solution.
Put holes on the container for aeration.The holes can be put anywhere on the container as long as it does not allow outside impurities to get into the solution. Once this is done, you can connect the aquarium pump and air stone.
Put in the plants. During initial set-up, you can set the water level just above the base of the pot. The idea is that the root of the plants needs to get in contact with the nutrient solution and it also needs to have proper aeration. Avoid emerging the whole pot on the solution.
Now you have your own hydroponics garden. Make sure that the plants get adequate lighting whether indoors or outdoors. You also need to replace the nutrient solution at least once every two (2) weeks. This is important as the solution changes pH when kept for longer times and can easily kill the plants. In a matter of weeks, you’ll have your first harvest.