A hydroponic system allows a gardener to grow various types of herbs, fruits, and vegetables without soil, which is convenient for those who like to grow a garden in odd places. For example, the US Navy plants vegetables in submarines using hydroponic gardening. Although hydroponics usually refers to the method of growing in water, this system can likewise integrate plants grown with aerial roots or even plants flooded with hydroponic nutrient solution.
A hydroponic system can help plants conserve water and prevent problems related to traditional gardening using soil, such as pests, diseases transferred from the soil to the plants. To enjoy such benefits, you ought to set up the hydroponic system carefully in order to supply plants with all things they need for growth and development.
1. Find an area with plenty of air circulation, then set up a hydroponics system there. If you choose an indoor location, choose a place that is not exposed to direct sunlight; keeps temperatures ranging from 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit, would survive spilling of water once in a while, and has water and electricity source. Your basement is a good location.
2. Grab a large tray, for example an empty tank, and drill 1 1/2 inch holes in lid of the container or tray where plants will grow. Also, cut 1-inch holes in a Styrofoam sheet, to float on water. Drill more holes in random for aeration and fill the container with water.
3. Set up a 2-bulb, 4-foot fluorescent light that gives cool white light for an indoor hydroponics system. This type of lighting supports most green, leafy veggies. Mount it so that they’re three inches above the plants.
4. Put plants in the holes. Pack cotton around the stems of your plants, so they will stay in place. Submerge the roots in the water.
5. Use fertilizer every other week with hydroponic nutrient solution, that contains micronutrients and potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Increase frequency of supplying fertilizer to one time each week as your plants grow. Every day, add some plain water and fill your container up to two to three inches before the brim. This is necessary because water will evaporate.
6. To aerate your plants’ roots, pump air bubbles into the water, spacing the bubbles 1/2 to 1 inch apart. A fish tank aerator will do if you have small tray or container.
Before you start the planting process, you can grow seeds in rock wool or peat moss, then rinse the potting materials and transplant seedlings into the tank when they started to have leaves.
Don’t add hydroponics nutrient solution if you top up the water. This will lead to fertilizer overdose which will cause the roots of the plants to burn.