How to start Hydroponic Gardening for Beginners?
As we saw in the first article, hydroponics is a technique that has many advantages: very good yields, low maintenance etc. However, it is necessary to know a few things in order to exploit this technique to its maximum. This article will give you all the tools to set up your first hydroponic system, whatever technique you choose.
How to start Hydroponics?
Choose your Hydroponic System and Hydroponic Supplies
The preliminary step to any hydroponic garden is the acquisition of a Growing System. These all-in-one systems have :
- Highly efficient water circulation. Thanks to an integrated pump, the water is in constant movement which generates oxygen to accelerate the growth of plants.
- High capacity water tank. Located below the system, it is an important prerequisite of any Hydroponic System. Indeed, water is the essential element in hydroponics - and a large tank allows for optimal absorption over time.
- Built-in lights. They allow to replace the natural light of the sun. Several color modes exist in order to respect the life cycle of the plants.
To get started in hydroponics, we recommend our Hydroponic Growing System which will allow you to start hydroponic gardening efficiently.
The other needed supplies are :
- Growing solution : since hydroponics does not use soil, it is essential to find a source of nutrients and minerals. A liquid hydroponic fertilizer is the solution of choice.
- Hydroponic basket : to allow your Hydroponic Sponges to be properly maintained in your system, Hydroponic Baskets are essential.
- Hydroponic sponges : they are necessary to insert your seeds which will then be inserted in your Hydroponic Growth System.
Setting up your Hydroponic Growing System
Once your hydroponic growing system is in hand, several preliminary steps are recommended to ensure optimal growth. It is recommanded to :
- Lightly soak the sponges in lukewarm water,
- Germinate your seeds beforehand in a germination kit in order to accelerate the growth of the plants
Once these two optional steps are completed, carry out the following :
- Insert your sponges into your Hydroponic Baskets, and then insert your seeds or plants. Then, insert the set in the Growth System.
- Fill the system with water to the point indicated, and dilute some of the hydroponic sprouting solution (bottles A and B are complementary and should be used at the same time). We recommend that you use 5ML (0,17oz) of each solution to obtain 10ML (0,34oz) in total for 1L of water, and then adjust according to your needs.
- Connect your system
- Vary the light according to the needs of your plantation : depending on the system, different modes (automatic and manual) will allow you to grow different types of plants. An article dedicated to the types of hydroponic plants will be published soon!
Harvest your first Hydroponic Vegetables and Hydroponic Fruits
To harvest your fruits and vegetables, nothing could be easier: just pick them! Just be careful not to damage the plant and its roots, in which case you would have to start the whole process over again. If everything goes well, the plants should give life to new hydroponic fruits and vegetables.
How to set up the Kratky Method?
Get the needed Hydroponics Supplies
The Kratky Method is very different from Hydroponics with a Growing System. Indeed, this method does not use electricity and each Kratky Hydroponic System allows to grow one plant, it is thus a single planting technique. This technique is particularly effective for growing vegetables with a short growth phase, so it will be more suitable for growing leafy vegetables (e.g. lettuce).
For this technique, you will need :
- Mason jars or Hydroponics Pots. You will have to buy one or more depending on the number of plants you want to grow.
- An inner growth medium (sphagnum moss, coconut coir, rockwool cubes, ...). They will be the link between the water/hydroponic growing solution and your planting. In short, they will replace the Hydroponic Sponges of the traditional method with the Hydroponic Growing System.
- Hydroponic Nutrient Solution. As in the previous method, this element will be necessary to feed your plantation with minerals and nutrients.
Setting up the Kratky Method
The Kratky method is very simple to implement :
- Step one : mix water with the Hydroponic Solution according to the capacity of your container (as a reminder: 5ML (0,17oz) of each solution to obtain 10ML (0,34oz) in total for 1L of water)
- Step two : cover your seedling with an inner growth medium (depending on the container you choose, you may need Hydroponic Baskets to support your seedling), and insert the plant in the container.
- Step three : we recommend that you cover your container with aluminum to prevent light from diffusing, which could cause the development of bacteria.
Harvest your first Hydroponic Vegetables
The Kratky Method allows you to grow one vegetable at a time. Once your fruit or vegetable is grown, you must perform the process again. This is why the Kratky Method is used to grow plants that grow quickly (between 30-45 days maximum). Throughout the growth phase of your plant, you will see that the volume of the liquid decreases. If you have chosen a compatible vegetable, then it should be growable before the process is complete. It is possible to grow more complex fruits and vegetables with this method, but we recommend that you start with easy to grow plants.
You now have all the tools to create your first hydroponic garden. The next article will be dedicated to the maintenance of the garden, in order to maximize your yields over time!
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