Hydroponics is a gardening technique that involves growing plants in nutrient-rich water instead of soil. This innovative method of cultivation not only conserves water but also provide healthy food. There are many plants that grow better in hydroponics than in soil. In this article, we will discuss the best plants for hydroponics that can be grown indoors and outdoors.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a soilless gardening technique using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. The plants absorb essential nutrients directly from the water using this method of cultivation. This method is very efficient, allowing plants to grow faster and produce a higher yield than traditional soil-based gardening. Additionally, hydroponics saves water, because water is reused in the system, leading to a more eco-friendly process.
Why Use Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular among growers worldwide for several reasons. Apart from saving water and conserving space, hydroponics also provides a superior growing environment for quality yields. Unlike soil, water is always available to the root system, allowing the plants to grow quickly and healthily. Additionally, by controlling the nutrients and pH level of the water, you can optimize the growth of your plants.
How to Start Hydroponics?
Hydroponics requires precision and technological expertise, but it is not a difficult task to learn. There are many ways to start a hydroponic garden, including recirculating deep water culture, top-fed deep water culture, drip irrigation, nutrient film technique, and aeroponics. Research on the different techniques before choosing the ideal method for your space, needs, and budget.
The Best Plants for Hydroponics
There are several types of vegetables that grow exceptionally well in hydroponics but choosing the best plants is essential for the highest yield. Listed below are some of the best plants to grow in hydroponics:
|Plant Name||Spacing||Lights||Preferred pH||Preferred Nutrient Level|
|Tomatoes||24 inches apart||14-16 hours per day||5.5-6.5||EC 1.2-1.8|
|Basil||8-10 inches apart||12-14 hours per day||5.5-6.5||EC 0.8-1.2|
|Lettuce||8-10 inches apart||12-14 hours per day||6.0-6.5||EC 1.0-1.5|
|Strawberries||10-12 inches apart||14-16 hours per day||5.5-6.5||EC 1.2-1.8|
|Spinach||8-10 inches apart||12-14 hours per day||6.0-6.5||EC 1.0-1.5|
|Kale||10-12 inches apart||12-14 hours per day||6.0-6.5||EC 1.0-1.5|
|Cucumber||24 inches apart||14-16 hours per day||5.5-6.5||EC 1.2-1.8|
These plants offer a perfect balance of nutrients and light that is needed for a successful hydroponic garden. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest within weeks.
1. How much does it cost to start hydroponics?
Starting a hydroponic garden can cost anywhere from $50 to $1000 depending on the size and type of your garden setup.
2. How often do you need to change the water in hydroponics?
It is recommended to change the water in hydroponics every two weeks.
3. Are hydroponic plants organic?
Hydroponics is an organic growing method as long as organic nutrients are used in the process.
4. Can you grow fruits in hydroponics?
Yes, you can grow fruits in hydroponics like strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons.
5. What are the advantages of hydroponics compared to traditional gardening?
Hydroponics saves water, conserves space, and provides a superior growing environment for the plants.
6. How much space do I need to start hydroponics?
You only need a small space to start hydroponics as the plants grow vertically, and you can grow multiple plants in a single container.
7. What is the best pH level for hydroponics?
Typically, hydroponic gardens prefer a pH level of around 6.0-6.5
8. What nutrient level is best for hydroponic plants?
Most hydroponic plants prefer an electrical conductivity level (EC) of 1.0-1.5.
9. Can you use tap water in hydroponics?
You can use tap water in hydroponics, but it is recommended to test the water for pH and nutrient levels before using it.
10. Can hydroponics be done indoors?
Yes, hydroponics can be done indoors. In fact, indoor hydroponics gardens are becoming increasingly popular due to their space-saving capabilities.
11. How often do I need to check the pH and nutrient levels in hydroponics?
You should check the pH and nutrient levels in hydroponics every week to ensure that the plants are receiving the right amount of nutrients.
12. What kind of lights should be used in indoor hydroponics?
LED grow lights are best for indoor hydroponic gardens as they are efficient and emit low heat.
13. What is the ideal temperature for hydroponic plants?
The ideal temperature for hydroponic plants is around 70-75°F during the day and 60-65°F at night to promote healthy growth.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Best Plants for Hydroponics
Hydroponic gardens offer several strengths for growers. Firstly, hydroponic gardens can be done indoors, making it ideal for apartment dwellers. Secondly, hydroponic gardens conserve water. Thirdly, hydroponic gardens can be set up and harvested quickly.
The Advantages of Hydroponic Gardening
1. More Nutritious Food
Hydroponically grown plants require fewer pesticides and fertilizers, limiting the consumption of potentially harmful chemicals that might be on your vegetables. Additionally, hydroponically grown plants often absorb more vitamins and minerals than those grown in soil, providing a more nutritious product.
2. Less Water Needed
Hydroponics is water-saving cultivation. The water required is almost negligible, reducing the environmental cost of producing food and ensuring your plants are highly efficient in water utilization.
3. No Weeding Required
When planting in soil, controlling weeds takes time and effort, while hydroponically grown plants do not compete with weeds, resulting in lower labor costs and more time to increase the quality of the plants.
4. Year-Round Growing Seasons
Hydroponics provides a year-round growing season, which is ideal for gardeners living in areas with long winters or those who live in apartment buildings with limited space for outdoor gardens.
Although hydroponics offer many benefits to gardeners, there are also weaknesses that you need to consider before you start:
The Weaknesses of Hydroponic Gardening
1. High Initial Costs
Hydroponic gardening can be expensive to set up because you will need to invest in the equipment, nutrients, and lighting systems.
2. Difficulty in Managing the Nutrient Level, pH, and Pollination
Hydroponic systems require precise water nutrient solutions with the appropriate pH level for each type of plant grown. The plants will also need to be pollinated manually, requiring the gardener to take more time to manage the plants
3. Disease and Pest Incidences
Hydroponic gardens experience fewer pest and disease occurrences because the gardening environment is not natural. However, the hydroponic system is artificial, and care must be taken to keep the system clean and prevent diseases from spreading to the plants.
If you’re interested in a hydroponic garden, then you have a variety of plants to choose from that can be grown in a grow tent or outdoor space. Hydroponics is a relatively easy way to grow food indoors and is a perfect option for people who want to minimize their carbon footprint. Don’t forget that, like traditional gardening, some care and attention are required to grow beautiful and nutrient-packed vegetables, including picking the best plants for hydroponics.
If this article has inspired you to try hydroponic gardening, then make sure to research more about the varieties of plants you can grow and the different hydroponic techniques you can use to suit your gardening goals. It may seem difficult to get started, but with the right preparation and knowledge, you will be well on your way to enjoying a bountiful harvest in no time.
Hydroponic gardening is an innovative way to grow healthy and organic food at home. Although this method has many benefits compared to traditional gardening, it is essential to research and understand the process to prevent any difficulties. Always follow the guidelines provided and take extra care in managing your hydroponic garden to avoid harming your plants or yourself.