Most people find that hydroponic gardening is difficult and expensive and requires a lot of knowledge. The fact is that it can be more comfortable, simpler, and more productive compared to an underground garden. It is because hydroponics allows the grower to fully control the nutrition a plant gets. Setting up a hydroponic system is as simple as a bucket, with water-soluble nutrients and a small amount of styrofoam. Read the beginners guide to growing with hydroponics to find out the best way to set up your hydroponic garden.
Most hydroponic growers need to start with the simple and inexpensive system described below and learn all the basics before investing in a more complicated approach.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the Greek word from “hydro,” which means water, and “Ponos,” which means work. Therefore, “working water” is its original meaning.
In short, Hydroponics is a method of soil-less cultivation of plants. Plants grow in soil-free soil (discussed below) and grow in contact with nutrients in the water.
The Benefits of Hydroponics
- Fast growing
- High yielding (tomato plants can yield 14kg of fruit per plant)
- Great for small spaces
- Prolonged winter growing season
- Water efficiency: hydroponic systems use less water than traditional gardens
How Does Hydroponics Work?
Depending on the system you use, will depend on how the plants will grow. When using the MEGAPot system the roots of the plants will be suspended in coco. And the base used in the system gives your plants stability and a safe environment to grow in.
These are the four main components to the MEGAPot hydroponic system:
- MEGAPot Module
- Fabric Pot
- White Pipe
- MEGAPot Valve
Typically, other hydroponic systems will have the roots suspended directly in a nutrient-rich and perfectly balanced pH water.
What are Plants Made Of?
If we want to know how to give plants nutrition and care, we must understand what they consist of. All living things are made up of organic matter. Organic matter must be made up of the following elements:
These four elements comprise over 90% of a plant’s mass and serve different roles in various systems in the plant.
Simple Startup Tips for Hydroponic Gardens
Starting up is the hardest part. Most gardeners give the impression that hydroponics is so scientific that it requires a lot of knowledge and equipment, so they will never start. However, we now know that this is not the case. And that growing with hydroponics can be easy if done correctly.
Here is an easy guide to startup your hydroponic garden:
- Most garden stores and hydroponic shops offer water-soluble nutrients (liquid or powder). These come with instructions and must be specific to hydroponics.
- 5-gallon bucket, 32-gallon plastic container (storage box), or similar item and make sure it is opaque so that it is free of algae.
- Expanded Styrofoam 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thicker than the opening of the container.
- 1/2-inch tube, tube, or funnel to fill the container.
- Plants that have sprouted and started rooting.
- Cut the Styrofoam so that it fits the edge of the container like a lid. It must be tight enough to prevent too much light from entering the container but wide enough to float up and down a few inches when the water level fluctuates freely.
- Make a hole in the Styrofoam foam to prepare the basket for use and insert it into the hole. The basket’s bottom must fit snugly so that it hangs under the foam but does not fall.
- Punch a hole and insert a 1/2-inch tube, tube, or funnel into which you have easy access to the foam. It will be the fill port for adding water to the system.
- Place the plant in the basket.
- Then, put the water and nutrient solution in a container (mix according to the instructions), close the lid, place the plant, and start growing the hydroponics.
And for an even easier setup for your garden, you can use the MEGAPot system which consists of:
- MEGAPot Module: is designed for the fabric pots to sit inside them. They act as a tray and catch any excess water and nutrients. You can then drain off and reuse the excess liquid to use again in the system.
- Fabric Pot: allows the roots of the plants to develop and grow as needed. They don’t constrict the roots, so they can take in all the nutrients. Also, the fabric pot allows the nutrients and water to move about freely.
- White Pipe: ensures that when growing outside, that it doesn’t attract the sun. The water and nutrients passing through are then not affected. It is key to ensure that the water and nutrients are passed first to the plants, and then any excess is drained off.
- MEGAPot Valve: is used to control the flow of water and nutrients. It is key to ensure that the plants are receiving the right amount during the growing process. Ensuring that you have an effective valve is key to our system set up.
Hydroponic Growing Tips
- Most edible plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. 12-16 hours is good. Set the lighting system timer to turn the lights on and off at the same time every day.
- The best lighting for hydroponic systems is high-intensity discharge lamps, including high-pressure sodium lamps or metal halide lamps. The halide bulb emits a more reddish-orange light and an ideal choice for vegetative plants. T5 is another type of lighting used in hydroponic growth chambers. Production of high-power fluorescent lamps with low heat and low energy consumption. It is very suitable for cutting with a short growth cycle and plant growth.
- The ideal temperature is 68-70 degrees fahrenheit. High temperatures can slow plants’ growth, and too high a water temperature can cause root rot.
- For hydroponic growing rooms, the ideal relative humidity is between 40% and 60%. Higher humidity levels, especially in poor air circulation, can cause powdery mold and other fungal problems. Think of using a humidifier or dehumidifier to adjust the relative humidity.
To Conclude: The Beginners Guide to Growing With Hydroponics
With the beginners guide to growing with hydroponics you should now know how to startup your hydroponics garden. As well as how to keep your plants happy and healthy.
At MEGAPot we have the best hydroponic system in the UK. We constructed the system with hydroponic growers in mind, beginners and experienced growers. The aim is to have an easy to use system so anyone can use the MEGAPot system to grow. If you have any questions or would like some more guidance, feel free to Contact Us.