Hydroponics For Beginners? It’s Easy If You Do It Smart

Hydroponics is a soilless and water effective growing method . It is completely dirt free and will save a lot of space of yours. As it is not the usual growing, the process might seem a bit tricky for a beginner. This is why we have covered hydroponics for beginners in this article to help you out.

In a hydroponic system , you have to grow plants in a solution of water or nutrients instead of soil. By following this method, you will be able to yield more in a shorter space. Moreover, the crops will grow faster and will not be limited to particular seasons.

It is best to go for indoor hydroponics for beginners. As you have to maintain a few facts closely, growing outdoor can be tough for you. This system is perfect for those who live in an apartment or has no free space in front of their house. So, you can grow all your favorite vegetables or plants staying at home.

What is Hydroponics?

The raw meaning of hydroponics is ‘working water’ which is a Greek term. In a general word, it is a way to grow without soil. For the growth and thrive of the plants, they come in contact with the nutrients that they find from the water.

The roots work as the medium to transport nutrients from water to plants. Besides water, some other factors are important for proper growth. You have to take care of water quality, air circulation, lighting, and a few others to maintain the system properly.

The hydroponic system for beginners is the same just like the professional growers. At first, it may seem difficult but with the time you will understand the process as well as the maintenance. You just have to keep patience and follow the growing method properly.

How Hydroponic Works?

A hydroponic system will run perfectly as long as you are providing what they need. If the feeding is going as per demand, then the growth will be as expected.

As Mother Nature plays an important role in crops, the invention of hydroponic was to get out of seasonal harvesting. In this system, a grower will control the plants and their feeding as well. With proper treat and feeding, you can grow crops in a small place, and at any time.

There is different basic hydroponics for beginners. These are easy to grow and will give you the experience to grow more in the future. The grower must know that water and the growing media replace the soil for the system. As a growing media, you can choose sand, Rockwool, perlite, etc.

Choosing the right system for hydroponics is a vital thing. Hence, the growing media also plays a big role by transferring the nutrients in the water. Keeping the roots oxygenated is another important job that the media performs. So, choosing the right media will determine how the growth will be.

The process is to add nutrients to the water and supply it to the growing media. A water pump works here to move the nutrient solution straight to the plant roots. Using a timer is essential at this point to make a proper follow-through between the intervals.

Your preferable hydroponic system can be different but the principles will almost be the same for any. Though indoor system is the easiest, you can grow in a greenhouse also.

Hydroponics for Beginners : Different Systems

There are 6 types of hydroponics systems and for all these; there is no use of soil. Applying water and nutrient will be enough for growing. Let’s take a look at the systems and how to work with them.

1. The Wick System

Mechanically, the wick is the easy hydroponics for beginners. There are no moving parts or any electrical tools in it. For peepers, herbs, and micro greens – this system is ideal but does not work well for lettuce or tomatoes.

System Settings: This system does not require much time to make the setup. At first, pour water and nutrients to make a reservoir. It will be positioned beneath the tray to hold the growing medium and the plants.

A couple of wicks needed to get connected at the bottom of the growing tray through the holes. Using a drill or screwdriver will make the holes easily. Now the wicks will soak up the water and will transfer it to the growing medium.

You have to set the medium (which is containing the seedlings) above the water reservoir for proper supply. Perlite, soilless mixes, vermiculite are the mediums that you can use. These will utilize the capillary action of the wick most effectively as the draining will be delayed.

Light is also important for this system. Your one may have the access of natural light but if not then, you have to set the light additionally. Maintaining a height of 24 inches between plants and light is perfect.

2. Deep Water Culture System

Here is another best hydroponics system for beginners, the deep water culture system. In this system, you have to set a Styrofoam platform that floats on top of the reservoir. Now place the plants in it so that they can reach the water base which has a nutrient solution. The water in the base needs to be aerated to complete the setup.

System Settings: Mix water and nutrient solution and store them in a reservoir. As the reservoir will be beneath your plants, they will receive the amount of water they require. This setting is perfect for plants like lettuce that takes too much water. For tomatoes, this system is not ideal.

To aerate the system, you can go for an air stone and pump method as these are the most inexpensive and common way. The air stone behaves just like a home aquarium. You have to place it in the water and get it connected to an outside air pump.

Air will be created by the pump and will push through the stone. It creates tiny bubbles to distribute oxygen properly.

The top of the reservoir needs a proper shade. For this, you can use a Styrofoam and make some holes in it. Now place plastic containers (net pots) in the holes that contain growing medium. The height should be properly balanced so that the roots get in contact with the reservoir water.

At last, set the light if it is necessary. The duration and height of the lights must be maintained.

3. Ebb and Flow System

For indoor hydroponics system for beginners, this system is also known as a flood and drain system. Though its design is quite complicated, it has the popularity because of its versatility. In it, the water-nutrient solution goes to the reservoir after flooding the growing medium first.

System Settings: Here you have to place the reservoir below the flood tray’s stand. Once you apply the water-nutrient solution, it can do the work for a week. While changing the water, the nutrients needed to be renewed.

Use a fill-tube and a drain-tube to connect the reservoir. To control the flow of water up into the flood tray, you have to attach a submersible pump with a timer. Now the drain tube will act to pull the water back into the reservoir after flooding. If this cycle runs properly then the water can be reused.

To control the system, a submersible pump and a timer will work great. Based on the needs of the plants, the watering as well as the length and frequency can be controlled.

You can use a tall stand to hold the plant tray or flood tray. A growing medium like perlite will work great to plant the seedlings in perforated pots. Remember that, the seedling pots must be very deep. Use light above the plants if there is no natural light.

4. Nutrient Film Technique

This is a similar process to the Ebb and flow system. It uses a water-nutrient solution that constantly flows in a loop from a reservoir through a growing tray. As the solution flows, the plant roots make themselves free to absorb nutrients.

System Settings: Make a solution of water and nutrients and keep it in a reservoir. Now place the reservoir right below the flood tray. By adding an aeration bubbler, there will be supply of oxygen to the reservoir.

To connect the reservoir of the tray, you can use a fill tube and a drain tube. As controlling the water flow is important, you can attach the fill tube with a submersible pump. To reuse the water, use the drain tube as it pulls the water back to the reservoir.

For the grow tray, this method uses tubes and channels. It will make it easier to set an angle that confirms that the nutrient solution flows directly to the roots channel. To fit the net pots or seedlings, using a round tube or PVC pipe will be wise.

Like all other systems, you have to set light for the plants. As all the plants are not the same, you must learn the required light for particular plants.

5. Aeroponic System

This is the most complex one among all other hydroponics systems. In it, the plants stayed with the water and nutrient solution closely. Though its processing is complicated, it is well known as the most effective method. It requires sophisticated pumps and misters for proper follow up.

System Settings: At first, you have to set the growing chamber. Then place the water-nutrition solution right under it. To oxygenate the water, you can add an aeration bubbler in the reservoir. The misted droplets of the solution will be held by the reservoir automatically.

From a submersible pump, the reservoir solution pumps to the mister or sprayer. As the plant root needs the water solution, the sprayer must be aimed at the root chamber. If the sprayer loses position then you have to fix it as soon as possible. Remember that the roots should never remain dry.

A proper suspending to each seedling’s root is a must thing to consider. So, you have to set up the tubes or channels properly. If there is no access to natural light then you have set light system additionally. Incandescent or fluorescent, both of these will work perfectly for the plants.

6. Drip System

The drip system is the newest concept of growing plants hydroponically. Its setup is straightforward and so does it work. You can use perlite or gravel as the growing media of it where the plants will be placed. The water and nutrient solution must be kept in the reservoir.

You have to use a tube to supply the solution from the reservoir to the roots. When the soaking is done by the roots and the growing media, the solution will come back to the reservoir.

For large and extensive root plants, this system is very effective. It will hydrate the root system by retaining some of the moisture.

Hydroponic Growing Tips for Beginners

When learning how to grow hydroponics for beginners, keep in mind the following tips for best results.

  • It is better for the plants if they receive sunlight for 12 to 16 hours. If it is not possible, then at least 6 hours is mandatory. For a lighting system, you must set a timer. High-intensity discharge light fixtures are the best lighting solution for the hydroponics system .
  • The ideal temperature for the plants is 68°F to 70°F. Higher than this range can hamper the plants. For a grow room, the humidity level should stay 40 to 60 percent. Poor air circulation can cause a high humidity level which is not good for the plants.
  • A grower must make sure of the proper supply of carbon dioxide in the growing room. It will help the plants to grow faster. Air circulation equipment will improve the airflow throughout the room.
  • If the water has high mineral content, then better is to filter it. Water with high mineral will not dissolve nutrients effectively.
  • For a hydroponic system, the ideal pH level is between 5.8 and 6.2. If you cannot find the level naturally then you are allowed to mix chemicals to adjust it.
  • You must use the nutrients (fertilizer) that are only for the hydroponic system. The main micronutrients of the hydroponics nutrients are potassium, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Some other micronutrients are molybdenum, chlorine, iron, boron, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Bottom Line

You do not have to worry much to grow hydroponics vegetables for beginners, herbs, and other plants. As the basic idea is simple, you just have to make sure that the roots are getting the proper amount of nutrients, oxygen, and water. By following any of the above techniques, you can grow the plants easily.

This article has been designed as a complete hydroponics beginner’s guide. If you follow all the relevant instructions accordingly, it will be a matter of time only to achieve success with your hydroponic system. Hopefully, you have found this article very helpful to start your hydroponics growing journey.

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