Hydroponics farming is now becoming a popular trend among amateur as well as for professional gardeners. There are several factors which are making this type of farming popular like it allows the growth of a lot of plants in a very small area in a controlled environment with less water and less light than conventional systems, it is also easy to harvest and reap which makes it a suitable choice for a hydroponic beginner. This farming requires very less use of pesticides and healthier than traditional soil-based growing. It is a very cost-effective investment for professional gardeners as it is developed to increase productivity with minimum costs.
There are so many advantages in hydroponics farming but before starting your ideal large scale hydroponic cultivation it will be worthwhile to experiment with hydroponics concept on a small scale on your own.
Here we have collected some of the useful tips and tricks you should be taking advantage of in hydroponics farming.
Tip #1: Plan Your Location
Whether you want to start commercial hydroponic farming or small hydroponic farming, location plays an important role in both cases. Location not only involves indoor and outdoor but also includes whether to grow in a box, tent or a room. If you are planning to grow in a room, it is better to have white walls if not cover them with Mylar which helps reflecting lights back to the plant’s surfaces.
Tip #2: Choose Your Ideal Hydroponic Method/System
There are several methods of hydroponic farming are available, and every method has its own pros and cons. A hydroponic method is to be chosen according to your scale and complexity of your farming. For a beginner “Deep Water Cultivation” is a good choice as it is very easy to set up and very economical while the “Nutrient Film Technique” is good for large scale farming as it has low usage of water, electricity, and nutrient. Apart from these, there are several other methods available.
Tip #3: Type of Plants to Grow
Most of the plants like greens, herbs, vegetables, etc. can be grown by hydroponics. For a beginner, it is better to choose herbs and small vegetable plants that can grow quickly and requires less maintenance. If you want to start a large scale farming for the first time, these simple plants make it easy to monitor how well your system works and can be tweaked easily. Always start with the same variety of plants or plants that require similar nutrient requirements.
Tip #4: Lighting Conditions to Take Care
Edible plants require at least six hours or a maximum of twelve to sixteen hours of sunlight each day. If you opted for indoor hydroponic farming it is necessary to provide ample lighting for them to flourish. Each plant requires at least 40 to 70 watts of light. Most of the ready-made hydroponic system comes with an inbuilt lighting system. If you don’t have one, go for a High-Intensity Discharge or a Fluorescent or an LED. Take care that the light sources produce light between 5,000 to 10,000 lumens per square foot.
Tip #5: Temperature Maintenance
If you are opting for farming in a room, then you should maintain the optimal temperature of the room for the growth of plants. Take note that the room temperature will exceed its original range because of the lights. To maintain the temperature, you will need to operate a small heater in a cold climate. Use fans or a ventilation system if the temperature rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tip #6: Seed Germination
Before hydroponic planting, it is important to spur germination of the seeds that you want to plant. It can be normally done with traditional methods. First, moisten a paper towel and carefully lay your seeds on the moist surface. Cover the seeds using a dinner plate. You can also wrap the seeds in a moist paper towel and place the seeds and paper towel into a plastic bag. Place the seeds in a dark location for 24 hours to spur germination.
Tip #7: Process of Planting
After seed germination, the next step is to plant these seeds in their specialized growing medium. Rock wool or coco coir are mostly used as the growing medium for plants hydroponically. Make sure to submerge 70 percent of the growing medium in water. Also, make sure to position the growing medium in such a way that the seedling sits right above the waterline. When the seedling starts to produce an acceptable root, it is time to place it in your hydroponic garden.
Tip #8: Check the Quality of Water
Soft water should be used instead of hard water, as it contains high mineral content which will not dissolve nutrients effectively. The ideal PH level of water used in the hydroponic system is between 5.8 to 6.2. It can be achieved by adding certain chemicals to adjust the PH level of water.
Tip #9: Choose the Right Nutrients
Always choose the hydroponic nutrient products that are designed for your specific plant. Also, take care that standard garden fertilizers are different from hydroponic fertilizers, so use fertilizers that are designed for hydroponic farming which are available in both solid and liquid forms, as well as organic and synthetic. Use the fertilizers according to the given package directions for good results.
Tip #10: Know Your Market
This is for people who want to commercially start hydroponic farming. Whatever you are planning to grow is very expensive to produce and has a very short shelf life. Know where you are selling—ideally have contracts in hand, build for that crop, hire for that crop.
Tip #11: Do the Right Investment
The last but very important tip for both small and large scale hydroponic farmers. After knowing the current market and selecting the plants it is very important to maintain them the right way. Don’t invest in cheap and faulty motors or hydroponic systems to rely upon, as a single mistake in water distribution may kill the entire plants on your farm.
But for a beginner before starting a commercial hydroponic farm, It is better to start learning the process and different methods of Hydroponics by practicing at home office with indoor units. It is better to have at least experience one growth cycle of plants in hydroponics.
Doing this will help a better understanding of the process and commitment the farm will need from your end. You’ll learn from your mistakes and will learn to dodge certain situations. It’s better to learn such things on a smaller scale than costing you a fortune on a commercial scale.
Wishing all our readers as well as hydroponics enthusiasts a best of luck for the start of their hydroponic farming. We are sure that these above tips will help the new hydroponic enthusiasts in their farming.