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- 1 What is a hydroponic garden?
What is a hydroponic garden?
Many of us love gardening to grow and tend plants that we like. Unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury of having soil in our backyard or lawn. This is particularly true when we live in urban areas with high population density and tightly packed residential areas. The good news is hydroponics is here to solve your soil availability problems. Hydroponics is a gardening method that uses a solution of water and nutrients to grow plants instead of using soil. Even if you do not have a gardening plot at home, you can still grow luscious and healthy plants using hydroponics.
Here, we will share some easy and simple tips on improving your hydroponics setup for more yield and better growth than conventional gardening.
Improve Your Hydroponic System Equipment
If you have already started your hydroponic garden, your system probably falls under one of the three basic hydroponic systems: wick system, water culture system, and ebb and flow (aka flood and drain) system. The more advanced systems are the aeroponic system and nutrient film technique. One essential piece of equipment you need to add or upgrade is the water control equipment, where a Bluelab pH pen or any other pH pen or PH meter model should be one of your top items. The nutrient, temperature, and conductivity meters should also be on your top items list.
Remember that your hydronic system has the advantage of faster and more efficient nutrient absorption for plants, but care must be taken to maintain favorable water conditions such as pH level, nutrient content, and temperature level. Having technologically advanced equipment in your hydroponic system removes the guesswork and costly trial and error in your gardening task.
Improve the Lighting Conditions
Our biology class has taught us about the essential role sunlight plays in the growth and health of plants. Thus, plan the best location to place your hydroponic system where your plants can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight in a day. Sunlight has a perfect balance of spectrum and wavelengths your plants need to grow, bloom, or bear fruits. Placing your hydroponic garden near the window or under the sunroof allows for adequate sunlight exposure.
If ever you have difficulty finding an excellent location where your plants can receive enough sunlight, you can supplement with artificial lighting. This method needs research and inputs from hydroponics experts on artificial lighting with the proper spectrum, intensity, and energy to sustain your plants’ photosynthesis needs.
Use Seedlings or Plant Clones Instead of Seeds
Hydroponics is an unconventional way of growing plants, and using plant clones (growing genetically identical plants without the use of seeds) is one efficient way of growing your plants easier instead of starting from seeds. Another alternative would be to use juvenile seedlings by transferring newly growing plants from the soil to your hydroponic garden. Clones or seedlings should be gently removed from the soil and should be washed thoroughly, especially the roots, to avoid contaminating the water.
Ideally, plants with longer root strands are easier to establish on your hydroponic system’s net pot. Nevertheless, compared with growing seeds, plants with developed roots are still easier to grow and nurture.
Makes Sure Your Water Is Conducive to Your Plant’s Survival
Going back to why you need several kinds of hydroponic system equipment, it is because water is the growth medium of plants. The tap water you use in your system is usually in the 7.0 to 8.0 pH range. Most plants grown in a hydroponic system need an ideal pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. You can use a pH calibration solution to adjust the pH level of your tap water.
Another essential factor to add to your hydroponics system with a reverse osmosis system. Reverse osmosis helps purify the water in your hydroponics system and cleans out pollutants and contaminants that can affect the health and growth of your plants. It also balances the nutrient concentration in your water, as too many carbonates, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, fluorides, or other nutrients can be detrimental to the plants.
Consider an Outdoor Hydroponic Garden
If finding a proper location or artificial lighting is difficult for you, you can bring your hydroponic garden outside. Outdoors, your plants on this garden system can benefit from the long sun exposure and more carbon dioxide intake in their leaves. The disadvantages of an outdoor hydroponic garden system are faster water evaporation, watching out for temperature extremes (too hot or too cold), and pest infestation. Nevertheless, giving the plants sufficient natural light, humidity, and temperature can help them grow healthily.
Practice Regular Cleaning of Your Hydroponic Garden
Cleanliness can benefit your plants in a lot of ways. When you clean your garden regularly, you reduce the risk of pest infestation and plant disease. Make it a habit to remove dead plants and dirt, clean the growing medium, scrub the buckets, and clean the filters. Use cleaning agents and chemicals sparingly or follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much should be used.
Starting a hydroponic garden can be a lot of work, but it is well worth it once you see the results of that project. Seeing your plants grow healthy is a rewarding experience. If you want to continue hydroponic gardening for the long term, then acquire quality equipment and apply new approaches that can improve your garden’s yield. The more you know how to take care of your hydroponic garden, the more you enjoy gardening and feel a sense of achievement.