Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water-based solution, without the use of soil. This method is used for both commercial and home use. This method of growing plants has been around for centuries, but it has recently become popular in the modern world as an alternative to traditional farming.
A hydroponic system can be as simple as a plastic pipe with holes drilled in the bottom to allow water to flow through, or it can be more complex with pumps and timers. The roots of the plant are in water and they are exposed to oxygen and light, which allows them to grow without the need for soil. The roots of the plant will grow down into the water, where they absorb nutrients from the solution. The roots will also release oxygen into the water which is then released into the air through small bubbles that form at the surface. Hydroponics uses a nutrient solution to provide the nutrients that plants need, rather than using soil.
The advantages of hydroponics include reduced environmental damage, increased production efficiency, and less dependence on fertilizers or pesticides. The main advantage is that hydroponic plants grow faster and yield more produce than soil-grown plants. This can be attributed to the higher levels of oxygen in the water, which helps to keep the roots healthy and promotes faster growth rates. However, there are also some disadvantages such as high initial investment costs and increased risks of crop failure due to pests or lack of water.
Required equipment’s to setup hydroponics
To create an indoor hydroponic system, you’ll need a growing medium and some of the following supplies. Some systems require pumps and wicking ropes, while others use just growing medium or no materials at all. Yet they differ in a few aspects, and will all require most of the supplies listed.
- Plants : If you’re new to hydroponic gardening, it’s best to start with a live plant rather than growing from seeds. However, if you do choose to start with a live plant or seedling, be sure to thoroughly rinse the soil from your plant’s roots. This will avoid contamination of your water and nutrient solution. If you’re new to hydroponic gardening, it’s best to start with a live plant rather than growing from seeds. You should rinse the dirt off your plant’s roots so you can avoid contamination of water and nutrients.
- Support structure : You need to provide a support system for your plants. Wire mesh or a basket that allows the roots to hang down, In most cases support system is a pipe container With holes in the lid, use buckets or pipes with lids to create an enclosure for the plant's roots.
- Reservoir : In order to provide nutritional water to plants, you must equip them with a reservoir where water and nutrient solutions are stored.
- Growing medium : Growing mediums are used for hydroponic systems, depending on the system that you choose or need. Some growing mediums consist of gravel, perlite, and vermiculite which work well. The growing medium is placed around the roots of your plants within a basket or on top of fine wire mesh depending on what you need. Hydroponic sponges also work well when starting seeds with this method.
- Water Pump : To use the ebb and flow system you will need a water pump. It needs electricity to work but you can install an outlet with a timer, or purchase a simple water pump for your system. It doesn't matter how big or small the pump is; quality and size will vary depending on setup.
- Tubing : Tubing is the most common and cheapest way to irrigate your plants indoors. Make sure to buy tubing that you can use with a water pump or mister fittings, be sure that it’s the right size, and try to avoid kinks in the piping, which will interrupt the water flow.
- Nutrient solution : Hydroponic gardeners have a variety of nutrients to choose between, ranging from high quality pre-made brands to custom solutions made by individuals. If you are looking for high quality pre-done nutrients, try General Hydroponics or Advanced Nutrients.
- pH Control : pH is an important factor when it comes to caring for your plants. Especially in a hydroponic system, where your plants are nearly constantly submerged, you’ll want to ensure you stay as close to the range that your plant needs as possible. Some plants prefer different pH levels but a typical zone to shoot for is around 6.0 to 7.0. You can purchase a pH testing kit in order to keep an eye on your levels and add pH-Up or pH-Down to your water reservoir as needed to maintain the perfect pH.
- Grow Lights : Grow lights are a great way to give your plants light without depending on the weather. The right light will allow you to grow just about any type of food, any time of year. Without adequate sunlight, you need an alternate source of light. Fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs both produce enough energy for smaller plants like leafy greens and herbs. Fluorescents are more affordable but have a shorter lifespan than LEDs.