A hydroponic system allows gardeners to grow different types of vegetables and fruits without soil, which is very convenient for people who like to grow a garden in uncommon areas. For example, the U.S. Navy plants veggies in their submarines using hydroponic gardening. Although hydroponics typically refers to the method of planting in water, such growing technique can likewise integrate plants grown with aerial roots or plants flooded with hydroponic nutrient solution.
A hydroponic system could help plants conserve water as well as prevent issues that are related to traditional gardening using soil, such as pests and diseases transferred from the soil to the plants. To enjoy such benefits, you must set up the hydroponic system carefully to provide the plants with everything they need to grow and develop.
1. Look for a place with plenty of air circulation, then set up a hydroponics garden there. If you prefer an indoor location, pick on which isn't exposed to direct sunlight; keeps temperatures ranging from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, will survive spilling of water once in a while, and has water and electric power source. One good location is your basement.
2. Get a large tray or a container, for example an empty tank, and drill 1 1/2 inch holes in the lid where plants will grow. Also, cut holes in a Styrofoam sheet that is one inch thick, to float on water. Drill additional holes in random for aeration and fill the container with plain water.
3. Set up a 2-bulb, 4-foot fluorescent light which provides cool white light for a hydroponic garden set up indoors. This type of lighting fixture supports most green, leafy vegetables. Install the light so that they are three to four inches above your plants.
4. Put plants in the holes. Pack cotton around the plants' stems, so they stay in place. Submerge the roots in the water.
5. Apply some fertilizer every other week with a hydroponic nutrient solution, which has micronutrients and nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Increase frequency of providing fertilizer to one time every week as your plants grow. Every day, add plain water and fill your container up to almost at the brim. This is necessary because water will evaporate.
6. To oxygenate the roots of the plants, pump air bubbles into the water, spacing the bubbles 1/2 to an inch apart. If you use small container or tray, a fish tank aerator will do.
Before you begin planting, you could grow seeds in peat moss or rock wool, and rinse off the potting materials and transplant the seedlings into the tank when they've started to have leaves.
Never add hydroponics nutrient solution if you top up the water. Otherwise this would cause fertilizer overdose which could burn the plants.
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