Jan 212020
What Is Hydroponic Gardening – What You Need To Know

What Is Hydroponic Gardening? The word hydroponics has derived from the two Greek words ‘hydro’ means water and ‘ponics’ meaning labor. Hydroponic gardening involves soilless gardening and it has been there for thousands of years.

The early examples of the hydroponic garden are the Floating Garden of China and the Hanging Garden of Babylon.

Scientists have been doing several experiments with soil less gardening since 1950 and countries such as Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands have shown impressive results with hydroponic gardening in recent years.

Hydroponic involves gardening with no use of soil and instead it uses a solution of nutrients and water to grow plants in it.

At first, you need to find out and select a hydroponic system that that best fits your requirements.

You need to consider certain important factors such as the amount of space you have, cost, what are the plats or crops you want to grow and the amount of time and cost required to maintain the system.


Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic Gardening requires no spoil and thus it is a hassle-free process. It has several advantages over traditional soil gardening. We have highlighted certain important benefits of hydroponic gardening which are mentioned below:

  • Faster Plant Growth: Hydroponic gardening promotes faster growth of plants. As per research plans grow at least 20 to 40 percent faster in hydroponic gardening when compared to the plants that grow in soil.
  • Higher Yields: The plants in hydroponic gardening yields 20 to 25 percent bigger compared to plants grown in soil.
  • Water Savings: Hydroponic gardening is done in sealed reservoirs which are enclosed to prevent evaporation and thus saves a lot of water. The plants only take up that much water which is required by them.
  • No Requirement of Soil: This is a great advantage for people who want to do hydroponic gardening in areas where the soil quality of the garden is poor or for people who live in a multistoried apartment do not have access to garden plots.
  • Less Space Requirement: Hydroponic gardening takes up much less space than traditional gardening because plants do not require long and extensive roots to pull vital nutrients from the soil and can be packed together in a close manner. It is also a great advantage for people who want to garden indoors.



Basic Setup for Hydroponic Gardening

There are three basic setups for hydroponic gardening which are ebb and flow, water culture and wick system. You can build all these three systems by purchasing individual components that are available separately.

Alternatively, you can also buy a complete hydroponic setup kit from hydroponic stores or order online as per your preference.

Now will have a look at the 3 basic hydroponic setups separately and know about them in a detailed manner in the lines below:


Water Culture System


This is one of the easiest to set up a system of hydroponic gardening.

In this system, there is a Styrofoam platform on which the plants are placed.

This platform is placed on the top of a reservoir which contains a solution of nutrients and water.

The reservoir has a proper setup of a bubbler air pump which transmits the much-required oxygen to the roots of the plants.

This system is ideally suitable for plants that require a lot of water. However, you must not try this system on plants that live longer like tomatoes.


Wick System

The wick system is a very simple system with an easy setup as it involves no mechanic or moving parts.

In this system, a reservoir is filled with nutrients and water and a container consisting of a growing medium is placed over it.

There is a wick in between the two containers which connect them and nutrient-filled water is drawn up to the growing medium through the wick which is eventually absorbed by the roots of the plants.

This system is applicable for a limited number of plants like microgreens, peppers, and herbs and is a great way to learn hydroponic gardening.

However, this system has some downsides and it will not work in the case of plants that require a lot of water like lettuce because the wick is insufficient to supply water at a faster rate to the roots of the plants.



EBB and Flow System


This system is a little bit complex than the other two systems mentioned above but it is extremely versatile and can be used universally irrespective of the type of plants.

In this system, the growing medium is flooded by a solution containing water and nutrients and then it is drained back to the reservoir.

The pump remains on for this total of 20 to 30 minutes of the flood cycle. A submersible pump with a timer is used to make the system work perfectly.

A very good advantage of this system is that the submersible pump can be adjusted with the timer set up so that it can match with the watering schedule of the plants based on their number, humidity, ambient temperature and size.

You can either pot the plants individually for customizing it easily or you can also plant them directly on the tray by filling it up with the growing medium.


Advanced Systems for Hydroponic Gardening

There are two more systems of hydroponic gardening which are more complicated and require expert knowledge.

These are suitable for gardeners who have become fully acquainted with the basic systems and want to try the advanced systems for more accurate results. These are as follows:


NFT System


It is known as Nutrient Film Technique and involves a loop of continuous nutrient and water solution that flows from a reservoir and passes through a growing tray where the roots of the plants are suspended in the air so that the can absorbs the vital required nutrients from the solution as it flows by.

The pump mechanism is extremely vital for this system and requires continuous monitoring because if anything goes wrong the roots of the plants might get dried up in no time if the flow stops.


Aeroponic System


This is a system that involves a high tech mechanism so that the roots of the plants can be suspended in the air and misted after regular intervals with a mixture of nutrient and water solution.

This method is very effective but requires highly sophisticated misters and pumps for the system to work properly.

If there is any problem with the equipment at any given point of time the roots may dry out and die quickly in no time.



What Kind Of Plants Can You Grow Using Hydroponic Gardening?

Although it is possible to grow any type of plants using hydroponic gardening it is better to start with the small plants at the beginning for best results.

Vegetables and herbs will be the best choice at the initial level as they grow quickly, do not require a lot of nutrients and require less maintenance.

It is always a wise decision to start with fast-growing plants you will have a better analysis of your system and will be able to understand how it works.


You can also do the necessary adjustments or changes to your system bases on the initial result and feedback.

No one wants to wait till the harvesting time only to find out the system setup has not worked properly and resulted in a failure.

For beginners, it is always advisable to go for plants that require less maintenance as it will enable you to invest most of your time in learning your system.

You always have the option to move on to more complex plants or vegetables at the later stages when you become acquainted and well versed with the system.

In case you are growing a large variety of plants make sure they have similar nutrients requirements so that they can grow well together.


Ideal Room Condition for Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic gardening requires perfect room conditions for the best results. The room must have adequate CO2 levels, relative humidity, air circulation, and temperature so that the process takes place smoothly.

The relative humidity of the room should be in the rage of 40 to 60 percent. This is because a higher level of humidity in a room with poor circulation can lead to the growth of fungus and powdery mildew.

The ideal temperature of the room suitable for hydroponic gardening should be between 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit because temperatures higher than that can cause improper growth of the plants.


In the same way, higher water temperatures might lead to the roots of the plants becoming rotten.

You must also ensure that the room you choose for hydroponic gardening must have adequate levels of carbon dioxide for the best results.

Sufficient levels of carbon dioxide can be maintained in the room by allowing continuous airflow.

Seasoned experts of hydroponic gardening might use advanced techniques to supplement the level of carbon dioxide in the room because the more carbon dioxide level a room has the faster the growth rate the plants will have.


Nutrients Required For Hydroponic Gardening

The nutrients required for hydroponic gardening are available in a wide variety in the market.


You can either purchase them in the liquid or dry form and might opt for organic or synthetic variety depending on your preference.

Both types of nutrients can be mixed with water to create nutrients mixture required in the process of hydroponic gardening.

It must be ensured that the product you use should contain the main macronutrients namely magnesium, potassium, calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, chlorine, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, boron, copper and trace amounts of iron.

You should try to use fertilizers specially designed for hydroponic gardening and follow the instructions written on the package for best results.

Some of them are specially designed for flowering plants and others might be suitable for vegetable growth and green leaves.



Quality of Water


There are two main qualities of the water which can influence its ability to provide adequate dissolved nutrients to the plants.

The first one is the amount of mineral salt present in the water which is measured by PPM and the second one is the pH level of the water.

Generally, hard water contains a lot of minerals will not dissolve the minerals quickly as compared to water with low minerals in it.

So it is advisable to filter the water if it has a high mineral content for best results.

The pH level of the water should ideally vary between 5.8 to 6.2 which is slightly acidic.

If your water doesn’t have the ideal pH level you can add chemicals to it to bring the pH level within the desired range.


Other Vital Equipment for Hydroponic Gardening

Apart from the basic hydroponic setup, you must have certain additional important equipment required for hydroponic gardening.

You must have the right meters to test the pH and PPM level of water and the relative humidity and temperature of the room.

You can also get a certain combination meter from the market that will test PPM, pH and water temperature at the same time.

You should also buy meters that will help you to measure the humidity and temperature in the grow room.


You might also require humidifiers or dehumidifiers to adjust the relative humidity of the grow room to an optimal level.

It is also advisable to have the proper equipment for boosting air circulation in the growing room for the optimal output.

At the initial stages, you might start with a simple oscillating fan and then move forward and invest in a sophisticated exhaust and intake system.


List of Ideal Plants for Hydroponic Gardening

Certain plants can be grown very easily with hydroponic gardening without much hassle or additional care. The names of the plants are mentioned below:

  • Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Herbs like mint, basil, oregano, parsley, and cilantro
  • Greens like Swiss chard, lettuce, kale and spinach



What Is Hydroponic Gardening?: The Final Verdict!

To conclude we can say that hydroponic gardening is a very interesting and effective way to grow plants and vegetables of your choice.

It is not difficult at all. Simply follow all the guidance, system and instructions mentioned above to get the best results and optimal output.


A Few Final Thoughts

If you ever need a helping hand or have any questions on this product or want to leave a comment or a review of your own, please do so in the space provided below.

I will be more than happy to answer them as best to my knowledge and would enjoy hearing from you.

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Reader Comments

  1. Great info! I didn’t know that hydroponics went that far back. I thought it was something new. I’ve been wanting to grow some herbs and veggies, but I live on a ground floor of an apartment building that doesn’t get enough light. Do you suppose there’s a hydroponic solution for this? What would be the cost to set something up?

  2. The information and value provided here is amazing! Wow! The video was incredible, and I love your website layout and design. I look forward to reading your e-book and continuing to learn more from your posts. Thank you for sharing!

  3. This is a great article on a topic that needs more exposure. Happy to see you covered many options. This could be a very effective way to garden that is less costly and more user-friendly all round. Articles like this are what is needed to educate people to this. Kudos to you. Looking forward to more like this

  4. What a fantastic article! I had kind of forgotten about hydroponics as an option for growing my own plants. When we moved into our apartment I thought gardening would have to be put on hold for a while – but perhaps not!
    I will definitely be referring back to this very informative post – thank-you so much 🙂

    1. You are welcome – it really is a fantastic option for those who do not have access to a garden. Please remember that I am here to help you so reach out if you have any questions.

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