Hydroponics is a very interesting subject that can be intriguing for many people who are into gardening. Before discussing what can be grown in hydroponics, it makes sense to consider what is hydroponics.
Hydroponics: a definition
- Freshwater with a balanced pH level is needed for hydroponics, many gardening or hydroponic stores will offer solutions that you can use to control the ph. and acidity levels of your water.
- Roots and plants need oxygen. In a natural setup, air trapped in the soil gives the plants the oxygen it needs. In hydroponics, you will need to set up in such a way as to provide that oxygen through space in the water container, or else find a way to provide oxygen into a container through the use of an air pump.
- Supporting the roots
- Whilst soil is not needed, roots will still require support. Some suggested materials to be used in hydroponics include vermiculite, perlite or peat moss.
- Without soil and natural fertilizers, your plants will need assistance to achieve the nutrients they need to grow. Hydroponic stores offer readymade solutions that can be used as plant food. This plant food ensures that plants will remain healthy and grow stronger, and it is needed to replace the functions of alternative, healthy soil.
- Most plants have specific minimum requirements for lighting. Whether grown in soil or using hydroponics, plants will still need light for proper growth. The placement and type of lighting will depend on the plant you are growing, and therefore you may need to purchase particular lighting to go along with the hydroponic setup. For this reason, it might be wise to learn more about Daily Light Integral (DLI).
What foods can be grown hydroponically?
We are now ready to discuss what can be grown in hydroponics. There are many fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be grown efficiently during all of the year if the setup, including temperature, is right. The below are some of the most popular ones:
What house plants work well with hydroponics?
Every gardener knows that growing house plants is one of the most gratifying parts of gardening. Nonetheless, soil can be problematic indoors because of certain insects or animals living in it. Furthermore, watering house plants indoors can create a bit of a mess if water overflows from the plant’s saucer, or else the water within the pot gets stagnant. For this reason, some people have opted to grow house plants indoors using hydroponics. Most of these houseplants will grow using cuttings, rather than seeds. You might wish to try growing these too:
- Devil’s Ivy
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
- Arrowhead Plant
What cannot be grown hydroponically?
It is important to be also aware of those plants or vegetables that cannot be grown using hydroponics. This will save you time, money and disappointment. After all, if you are trying your hand at hydroponics, you want to have a larger chance of success.
Certain plants are too delicate to grow in water, whilst others can take a very long time to grow properly. This means that some plants will require more work from your end to make it. As much as possible, many sources also suggest going for crops that can grow in compact spaces. In this way, you can make full use of the available space.
Another type of plant to avoid is those that grow large or long vines. Crops or plants that take up a lot of room are also ideally avoided as they will minimise the overall yield achievable from the space available. Plants that require a lot of height can also be avoided, along with plants that are heavier and might require reinforced structures. Plants chosen normally have shallow roots and are easy to reproduce. Some examples of plants to avoid include:
Is hydroponic gardening expensive?
Before closing off, it might be worth looking at the costs normally associated with hydroponic gardening. There is no easy answer to the question, but it mostly depends on how specialised or high tech you wish your hydroponic experience to be. If you wish to set up a hydroponic farming business, then the initial investment in setup and equipment can be quite substantial.
On the other hand, some hobbyists prefer a more DIY approach, which gives them more satisfaction in the final product. Once the setup is operating as expected, hydroponics can produce quick, faster plant growth and higher production than traditional methods using soil. Most systems will also require a time investment, apart from monetary, especially in the beginning where setting up and monitoring water and nutrient levels need a lot of attention. In terms of equipment, you might need the following to start:
- Hydroponics system
- Inert medium
- Light source
What else do you think can be grown in hydroponics? What is your opinion on the taste and health benefits of crops grown hydroponically? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. Happy gardening!
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