Where Do I Start My First Grow?
The word hydroponic is a Latin word which means working water. Hydroponics is one of the plant cultivating system that is gaining much attention in agriculture. It involves growing plant without the use of soil as a medium unlike the existing method.
You need to know that, starting to grow hydroponically requires a level of expertise and experience but nevertheless, it all going to start somewhere, the moment you start your first grow then, you learn it all.
Speaking of where to start your first grow and how, there are a lot of method you can put into consideration-These includes;
Ebb and Flow: In ebb and flow which is also known as flood and drain system, you will need a tray placed above the reservoir of nutrient solution-also there will be need for expanded clay popular as “clay granules” which is a growing medium-the plant will be positioned directly over the tray or inside a pot - a pump at regular intervals will be required to pump the nutrients solution to the pot which will then be allowed to drain back into the tray.
Aeroponics: If you want to use aeroponics then you will need a system wherein the roots are often and less-often put in an environment saturated with fine drops which could be a mist or aerosols of solution that serves as the nutrients. In this method, you will need to keep the water consistently circulating and aerated because this is the major advantage of aeroponics.
Wick System: If you need a small plant grow you may likely consider this system-in this system there are no need for the use of timers and/or additional equipment needed. It is as simple as you connecting your plants to the reservoir with a wick that has been soaked in nutrients and runs between the bottom of the pot and reservoir. The method makes use of capillary action to transport the nutrient.
Deep Water Culture: This hydroponic will require you to suspend the plant roots in a solution of nutrients that is rich in oxygenated water. You can practice the traditional method which allows you to use plastic buckets and large containers with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from the centre of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution that is oxygen filled by an air that is pump combined with porous stones. The high amount of oxygen receive by the plant roots favour the plant grown hydroponically using this medium.
Also you will probably need to know some substrates i.e. growing support materials like
- Expanded clay
- Coir peat
- Rice husks
- Sheep wool
- Rock wool
- Brick shards
- Polystyrene packing peanut
The major difference in using any of the above mentioned substrates as medium and not soil is because soil will generally hold moisture longer than any of the substrates.
because soil will generally hold moisture longer than any of the substrates.
5 TIPS FOR NEW HYDROPONIC GROWERS
Although for a successful crop production using hydroponic the level of expertise as mentioned earlier matters a lot but here are some tips that you can follow that will help to achieve your desired goal while growing hydroponically.
- Ensure Suitable method for your growing: It is necessary for you to research the growing methods used by others who are already in the system before you jump to growing your crop, study the method very well and understand the process, the method of growing hydroponically have been listed above and you can choose any that you feel is the best for the crop you want to plant.
- Nutrients: most nutrients used when growing hydroponically is often in solutions called hydroponic solutions. Most of the times you can use organic fertilisers as supplement, however, using organic fertiliser poses challenges that are not easily resolved. Like if not properly maintained it can cause clogging of the substrates and other growing equipment, so you should more often that none try to sieve the organic fertilisers before application.
Also some of the challenge of using organic fertiliser is that some of the can undergo degradation which can lead to odour formation-it can also transmit disease to human or animals.
Nonetheless of all these, organic fertiliser can still be successfully used in hydroponics if all precaution are kept.
- Location: You should pick a location that favours any system that you are planning to use and make it permanent. Moving plant to and fro can lead to stress which can reduce productivity.
- Appropriate and adequate lighting- while growing hydroponically, one of the most germane variables to consider is the lighting. Most crops needs light to grow successfully so it is not different in hydroponic either.
- Source of water: you will need adequate source of water to effectively grow your crop hydroponically. The optimal required ph of water source must be about 5.5 - 6.3 otherwise you will have to spend extra cost to bring the ph of the water to neutral level.