In this article we answer your top questions about hydroponics. Ok, let’s start!
What Is Hydroponics? The most common question about hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, we use an inert medium (coco coir, perlite, clayballs etc.) and provide nutrition with liquid fertilisers (nutrients). Hydroponics is an attractive way of growing plants because it has many unique benefits. It’s perfect for people who want to control the environmental conditions to maximise the growth of their plants. Another big reason is that you save water compared to traditional growing. Lastly is the convenience that you can grow hydroponics indoors or outdoors in small or big spaces.
What Can You Grow With Hydroponics?
You can grow almost any type of vegetable, herb, or flower in a hydroponic system. The key to growing plants successfully is working out the optimal environmental and nutritional requirements of your plant. Once you know this, you can optimise your hydroponic system to maximise your plant’s growth. This is one reason why hydroponics is so appealing to plant growers. It allows you to adjust all the variables (such as light hours, nutrients, temperature, airflow) and control them precisely. Obviously, this leads to happy, healthy plants!
Why Can Hydroponic’s Be Expensive?
The two biggest costs of hydroponics compared to traditional growing is equipment and electricity. You can grow traditionally in your backyard very cheaply because little equipment is required.
You will most commonly set up hydroponic systems indoors. The list of equipment you need can include grow lights, grow tent, fans, timers and more. It will seem like a large cost at first because of the amount of expensive equipment. This however, is mostly a one-time cost. Generally, the ongoing expense is only nutrients and electricity.
Are Hydroponic Grown Plants Healthier Than Soil Grown Plants?
The quality of the environment and the quality of nutrition significantly impacts the healthiness of a plant. When growing hydroponically, you are controlling the environment to give plants the perfect conditions to thrive. You decide which herbicides or pesticides the plants are exposed to. Additionally, you can control the nutritional content to maximise nutrient uptake. Combined, these factors allow you grow vigorous healthy plants all year round!
What Are The Different Hydroponic Systems?
This is one of the most common questions about hydroponics. The simplest system for a beginner is the Run-to-waste system. A nutrient solution is fed to the plants and the excess ”runs to waste’. This eliminates the need to test and control the nutrient solution daily. This system is used in our beginner grow kit range.
A common hydroponic system is re-circulating systems. This includes ebb & flow or flood and drain. Plants are placed in a tray, which ‘floods’ with nutrient solution. It then drains back into the reservoir tank – this means you have more control over how many nutrients are available for plant growth as well as reducing any chance of overwatering.
Another re-circulating system is the Drip System. You top feed the plants and the excess drains from the tray back into the reservoir.
Is Growing With Hydroponics Worth It?
Of course it is! When it comes to hydroponics, you can grow plants much faster than in soil. By providing optimal growing conditions, plants can grow at an optimal rate. They can produce higher quality fruit at heavier yields than traditional gardening. If you want deliciously fresh plants grown at home, hydroponic gardening is a great solution.
What Are Hydroponic Nutrients?
Hydroponic nutrient solutions are used in hydroponics to feed plants in an inert medium. You dissolve a controlled combination of minerals, organics and chemical compounds into water. The nutrient solution can then be absorbed by the plant’s roots. Hydroponic nutrients are usually classified as either soluble or insoluble (dissolved) based on solubility properties under average concentrations for pH, dissolved oxygen levels, and other factors.
- Soluble: These dissolve easily and include potassium nitrate, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate.
- Insoluble: These do not dissolve readily, including iron chelate complexes such as ferrous sulfate persulfates such as manganese bicarbonates like sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate, and also includes calcium.
What Are Hydroponic Grow Lights?
Grow lights are a type of artificial light used to help plants grow. These most commonly are HID (such as High Pressure Sodium and Ceramic Metal Halide), LED and fluorescent. They emit various wavelengths of light ranging from infrared through red and blue. Plants use this light for photosynthesis (to grow). Hydroponic grow lights have come a long way and there are now lights in development that claim to be better than the sun!
Hopefully, that answers all your top questions about hydroponics. We tried to cover the most common questions, if not please send us a message!
Ready to start out in hydroponics? Want a beginner’s kit with all the equipment you need? Check out our Hydroponic Grow Kits.
Looking for hydroponic equipment in Australia? Adelaide Organic Hydro has the most comprehensive range of supplies, and we ship Australia-wide.