Hydroponics: A Definitive Guide
This is a complete guide to hydroponics in 2022.
So, if you're looking for:
25% swift plant growth
30% more yield
17% better home air quality
Year-round food supply
And an indoor plant environment that's waste free and fully organic.
Then you'll love the working tools and techniques for constructing an indoor hydroponic system in this new guide.
Let's get started.
What is Hydroponics?
The term hydroponics is derived from two Greek words “hydro” meaning water and “ponos” meaning labor.
So, the term literally means “working with water”.
Hydroponics is the novel technology of growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution (water mixed with fertilizers) with or without the use of a growing medium (gravel, sand, rock wool, perlite, coir, sawdust, or vermiculite).
In this method, the plants propagate in a nutrient-rich water solution instead of soil.
No doubt, hydroponics is a healthy hobby.
It offers an array of benefits for gardening hobbyists.
It’s ideal for people who live in small spaces since it doesn't take up a lot of room.
And it’s also great for people who want to grow their food but don't have the space for an outdoor garden.
In this section, we'll discuss some top pros of indoor gardening.
Advanced way of growing
To some, hydroponics can be the best geek gardening.
Because you're the sole controller and observer of the environment, there are limitless ways to adapt, construct, deconstruct, and evaluate the whole system.
It's a treat for thinkers.
And the app-based control system can add one more aspect to it.
Whether in-house or out, you can control everything with your mobile-based application.
You can turn on and off the LED lights whenever you feel right.
You can water the plants and add nutrients whenever you like.
Round-the-year indoor farming
Hydroponics makes the impossible possible.
With the right system in your hand, you can grow anything at any given time.
You're not bound to wait for good growing conditions to pop up.
It proffers complete liberty from seasons.
With indoor farming, the sky is the limit.
You don't worry anymore about freezing winters and blazing summers.
You're the captain of the ship.
The best thing about hydroponics is everything to the plants comes through you.
You decide the nutrient amount, pH, EC, and water availability.
Further, you note down what goes into the plant system.
That means you're the captain of your hydroponic system.
Plants are living entities, and they consume lots of water.
In traditional agriculture, many plants, unfortunately, get drowned or insufficiently watered.
This problem affects their overall growth and development.
But with hydroponics, water conservation comes in handy.
You can save 95% water.
I know water is not a huge expense for most people.
But, for others, it is.
In hydroponics, the quality of food gets a substantial buff.
As compared to commercial produce, which frequently focuses on cultivars produced for commercially appealing qualities with little nutrient value, hydroponics allows you to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs with the highest nutrition value.
The four main types of Hydroponics
As of now, you have learned what hydroponics is and how it benefits you.
Now, it's time to know its six main types.
The five main types of hydroponics that you can consider for your indoor gardening are:
- Wick System
- Water Culture
- Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
- F.T (Nutrient Film Technique)
A wick system is a passive form of hydroponics.
That means the system works independently of electrically powered motors, pumps, or moving parts.
And it’s best suited to the grow smaller and non-fruiting plants such as herbs and lettuce.
The wick system is so simple that even 7th-grade kids can practice it to the fullest.
How does the wick system work?
The system works with a wick such as a piece of felt or a rope. The wick transports nutrients and water to the plants' roots.
At the upper end of the wick system, there is a growing tank where baby plants grow.
And below the growing tank is a water reservoir filled with water and nutrient solution.
The wick connects the two chambers of the system.
When constructing the system, you must immerse one end of the wick in the solutions and the other half in the growing medium.
This process helps the wick carry the water and nutrients at the same pace as the roots of the plants demand.
You'll need the following to construct a wick system:
- Water reservoir
- Growing medium
- Monitoring system
- Nutrient solutions
- Distilled water
If you ask me to opt for a simple and easy hydroponics system, I'll choose a deep-water culture system.
Because it's inexpensive and effortless.
Many indoor hydroponic growers like to grow their produce using a water culture system.
The working principle of water culture is as stunning as it sounds.
You can hang the plant roots through nets just over the reservoir's nutritional mix. Typically, through holes punched in the reservoir lid.
The roots dangle from the plants' pots and fall straight into the nutritional solution, where they immerse.
And they don't perish since they get the necessary air and oxygen from air bubbles ascending through the nutrient solution towards the roots.
If you want to build your own water culture system, you'll need the following materials:
- Aquarium air pump
- Reservoir to contain the nutrient solution and water
- Air stones
- Baskets, pots, or cups to hold the plant
- And growing media
Ebb and Flow
The ebb and flow system, often known as a "flood and drain system," floods your vegetables with nutrients regularly.
This is a less popular method since it is less adaptable to the demands of your plants.
However, some gardeners prefer this approach as it doesn't continually expose the root systems to the stock solutions.
What you'll need:
- Growing medium
- Water pump
- Air pump
- Nutrient solution
- Distilled water
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
NFT - a hydroponic method that's similar to Ebb and Flow.
Like Ebb and Flow, NFT uses a water pump to circulate the nutrient-rich water to the grow tray and a water channel to reprocess the unutilized nutrient solution.
It's popular and highly versatile among the hydroponic food-growing community.
In this method, the water pump pumps a fine layer of fertilized solution to the roots of plants, and the remaining solution returns to the main reservoir at the channel's end to be reused in the system.
You’ll need the following to build a working NFT indoor hydroponic system:
- The nutrient solution
- Air stones and air pump
- Water channel
- Net pots
- Distilled water
- Nutrient solution
The bottom line
Indoor hydroponic gardening success begins with the right hydroponic system.
So, choose the design that best meets your needs.
If you're seeking something small and minimal, try deep water culture, NFT, or a wicking system.
If you're a master cultivator with advanced know-how of hydroponics, opt for ebb and flow. As ebb and flow require a great monitoring process.
When setting up a hydroponic system for your indoor space, it's critical to investigate the best hydroponic setup for your garden.
There are several things to consider, from pricing to plants to trash.
Chart LetPot now to get a free consultation on indoor hydroponics setups.