How to Grow Hydro – Using Hydroponics Systems to Grow Plants
Hydroponics systems are great for growing plants both indoors and outdoors. When you grow plants using a hydroponics system, your plants will grow, on average, 30 to 50% faster than they would in regular soil. They will also yield in greater amounts. Why? Because with a hydroponics system, you are gardening without soil. With no soil to worry about, the plants do not have to search around in the dirt for the water and the nutrients they need to thrive. Instead, the hydroponics system delivers the water and nutrients directly to the roots of the plant.
If you want to know how to grow hydro, there is a lot of information to take in, but it is not as difficult as it may seem at first blush. The basics of what you need are a hydroponics system of your choice, starter cubes, a nutrient solution, a good lighting source, and, of course, seeds. We’ll take a look at each component a little more in-depth:
1.)Choosing a system: There are six basic types of hydroponics systems. They are Drip, Wick, Ebb and Flow, Aeroponic, Water Culture, and Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.). Aeroponic is the most high tech, with the plants hanging in mid air and the system misting the roots periodically with the nutrient solution. The Wick system is the simplest of all of them, with the nutrient solution being pulled into the growing platform via a wick. The Drip system is the most commonly used, and it works with a pump that delivers the nutrient solution directly to each plant via a tube with drip points in it.
2.)Starter cubes: Starter cubes are what you will plant the seeds in and allow them to sprout before you move them to the hydroponic system. Some of the most commonly used starter cubes are peat pots, Organo-Cubes, Rockwool, and Oasis Cubes. With starter cubes, you want to poke a tiny hole in the top, put the seed in the hole, and cover the hole with surrounding starter cube materials. Your starter cubes should remain moist while you wait for the plants to sprout, but should never sit in water or get too wet, or your seedlings and seeds might drown.
3.)A nutrient solution: A nutrient solution is basically fertilizer mixed with water. When your seedlings are very young, during the first two weeks, your nutrient solution should be mixed at ¼ to ½ strength. After those first weeks, then you can move onto the full strength nutrient solution.
4.)A good lighting source: Plants need light to grow, whether you are growing them in soil or hydroponically, so good hydroponics lights are a must. Natural sunlight can be used if you put your system outside, in a greenhouse or solar room, or near a large window that gets a lot of sun. There are three basic light types you can use indoors: fluorescent, incandescent, and high intensity discharge. Fluorescent is the lighting of choice for small gardeners because they are inexpensive and have low heat emissions, though high intensity discharge lights are more effective. HID lights are also more expensive.
5.)Seeds! You can grow whatever you want here, of course. Tomatoes are a popular hydroponics vegetable. Lettuces and spinach do well under fluorescent lights, as do African Violets because they are an indirect sunlight plant. Check out what the backs of the seed packages say to determine what lighting they will need and you will be good to go.
So now that you know the basics of how to grow hydro, get started and enjoy your new hydroponics system!