If you are not familiar with hydroponic gardening, the process of setting up your personal hydroponic system might seem intimidating. You might assume that it would require a lot of specialized equipment or devices, that the entire process might be too complicated for your understanding or that it might be considerably expensive to set up. There is indeed a lot you can ascertain about soil-free or hydroponic gardening, and to be honest, undoubtedly, several people have an extremely sophisticated hydronic setup.
But the good news is that you do not have to be an expert to grow your plants hydroponically. On the contrary, you can put together a hydroponic system without much fuss and an inexpensive manner. This is possible with just a decent amount of research to learn about the best plants that can thrive well in a hydroponic system.
A hydroponic gardening system can easily be built with few basic supplies. The size and specifications (high-tech or simple) of the garden depend entirely on your preference and the budget you’d like to spend on the garden.
This how-to hydroponic guide for beginners is specially created to simplify the process of soil-free gardening for people who want to receive the most out of this form of gardening but don’t know where to begin.
Table of Contents
What is Hydroponic Gardening?
The term Hydroponic comprises two Greek words; ‘Hydro’ meaning water and ‘Ponos’ meaning labor and thus its raw meaning is ‘working water.’ It is the method of cultivating all kinds of plants, fruits, and vegetables without any soil. Hydroponic gardening is also known as soil-free gardening in which plants are grown in a soil-less medium and get their nutrients for growth from nutrient-rich water.
Hydroponic gardening is a soil-free, water effective, and space-saving method of growing all kinds of plants. It might be surprising to know that this form of gardening is not new. In fact, several ancient civilizations have previously adopted this practice to grow their food. Moreover, contemporary hydroponic gardening has been widely used for more than thirty years in commercial greenhouses and individual homes.
Hydroponic gardening is not only reserved for commercial farmers or advanced gardeners. Instead, anyone can adopt this soil-less system to grow their plants, even if they do not yet fully understand what it means or how it works. If you are just getting started with hydroponic gardening and seeking to hone your skills and knowledge, then you, my friend, have come to the right place.
In this hydroponic guide for beginners, you will unearth the most vital details of hydroponic gardening and receive crucial elementary knowledge that will help you set up a year-round hydroponic garden on your own.
How Hydroponic Gardening Works?
Hydroponic gardening functions on the notion that as long as plants are receiving what they need to survive and grow, i.e. nutrients and water, their growth would not be thwarted. Hydroponic systems rule out the influence of mother nature and use a controlled growing environment to cultivate plants. It replaces soil with nutrient-enriched water and an organic growing media such as Rockwool, perlite, sand, etc. to keep the roots oxygenated by transferring the nutrients in the water through a well-designed system.
Nutrients from the water are stimulated to the growing media and through the roots typically via a water pump, and a timer often determines the interval of every action. Although there are many hydroponic systems, however, they all operate as per the above-discussed principle. Furthermore, plants grown hydroponically are generally cultivated in a greenhouse or an indoor space.
Concluding that hydroponic gardeners will have complete responsibility for managing the surrounding environment i.e., light, climate, ventilation, temperature, etc.
11 Essential Supplies for Hydroponic Gardening
Once you choose the type of hydroponic system you would like to build; the next step is to gather the essential supplies for hydroponic gardening. As you witnessed above, few techniques require water pumps, wicking ropes, or growing mediums to function. But the essentials items for setting up a perfect hydroponic garden are:
Plants or Seedlings
It is quite unlikely that you would construct a hydroponic system and not put plants in it. It is essential to think about the potential size of the plants you will be growing to ensure there is adequate room in your system for their roots. Moreover, make sure a sturdy frame is created to support the plant’s structure.
If you’re new to hydroponic gardening, it is ideal, to begin with, a live plant instead of growing from seeds. Nevertheless, if you decide to be with a seedling or a live plant, make sure to thoroughly rinse all the soil from the plant roots to prevent contamination of the nutrient solution and water.
You would certainly need some kind of support for your plants, such as a basket or section of wire mesh that would allow the roots to suspend downwards. Additionally, your plants would require a vessel for the roots to suspend into.
For this purpose, you could use a big bucket or a piece of plastic pipe. If you decide to use a bucket with a lid, make sure to cut holes in it, place your basket, or create an enclosure that would prevent moisture from escaping.
In addition to the area where the plants’ roots will be exposed to nutrients and water, you will also require a reservoir to store nutrient solution and the water. If you decide to use the water culture system, the root basin and the water reservoir will be the same.
The need for a growing medium depends entirely upon the hydroponic system you decide to build. Suppose you choose one that requires a growing medium, then perlite, vermiculite, and gravel work quite well.
The growing medium must be positioned around the plant roots, on top of a fine wire mesh or within a basket. If you choose to plant with seeds, then hydroponic sponges can be quite useful.
Unless you’re using the wicking system, you would most likely need a water pump. A water pump is the only piece of actual machinery you would need, and the best thing is they are often available at fairly reasonable prices.
Tubes are not only inexpensive but also and is incredibly easy to find. You just require something that can move your nutrient solution and water from the reservoir to the root basin. It is vital to make sure that the tubes are of the correct diameter and easily connect to mister fittings or water pumps that you’d be using.
The nutrient solution is one of the essential items you will need, and it is critical to purchase a high-quality solution that is right for the kinds of plants you are going to grow. Expert hydroponic gardeners might even make their custom nutrient solution, but if you are searching for a decent pre-made brand, you can Advanced Nutrients or General Hydroponics a try.
Needing water for the plants might seem like an obvious and simple item, but the water quality can play a huge role in how well your plants would grow. There is no issue with tap water, but it is ideal to go with bottled spring water or fresh rainwater for optimal results.
pH Testing Kit
Knowing the pH level is critical while caring for your plants, particularly in a hydroponic system, where the plants are continuously submerged in water. Several plants prefer varying pH levels, but a standard zone to shoot for is approximately 6.0 to 7.0. To keep an eye on the pH level, you can buy a pH testing kit from any general store.
In hydroponic gardening, plants must have at least six hours of sunlight each day, so it is vital to place them in an area that receives ample light. If you decide to set up a hydroponic garden indoors where it isn’t easy to get sunlight, you can buy some grow lights to provide sufficient heat and light to ensure the plants’ growth.
There are several hydroponic kits available in the market that come all set up for you, or kits that would provide you with the necessary supplies to get you started. Though it is not hard to create your system if you want the process to be easier, you can definitely opt for a hydroponic kit.
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Building a hydroponic system for your plants, vegetables, fruits, and herbs is much easier than people realize. The idea is to simply provide the plant roots with sufficient oxygen, nutrients, and water, in the absence of soil. This can be done by using numerous techniques explained earlier, or you can create your own hybrid style of hydroponic gardening. We hope this hydroponic guide for beginners helps you to explore the numerous benefits of hydroponic gardening. For more informative articles of gardening, please check out the blog section on our website.
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.