Many vegetable farms grow hydroponic crops. Find out how you can do this at home in this article.
Plant growth no longer depends solely on the soil and the condition of the soil thanks to hydroponic crops. It is possible to create entire vegetable gardens by recirculating mineralized water. This is a common practice in large plantations, but hydroponic cultivation of crops is also possible at home.
Benefits include lower water consumption, closer control over plant development, and high yields. Hydroponics began decades ago, but is becoming more common in horticulture today. Which means, for the production of vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots or onions.
With just a few plastic containers, wood, oxygen supply, and the necessary water nutrients, it is possible to set up a hydroponic garden at home. We explain it to you.
What Are Hydroponic Crops?
Hydroponics or hydroponics a growing technique where soil or substrate is not the most important thing element. Instead, plants develop through a water circuit and grow by recirculating water with mineral solutions.
Chemical elements used to ensure growth are nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and sulfur. Although almost all plants can be grown using hydroponics, it is mostly applied for horticulture (tomato, onion, leek, lettuce, spinach and strawberry).
Many large growers use this technique as the main technique when growing indoors. Moreover, it works good in areas where the soil is not suitable for certain plants. When integrated into greenhouses, it can boost vegetation development to higher levels than traditional cultivation.
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Benefits of hydroponics
Hydroponics has many advantages, due to its simplicity, cleanliness and low cost. These advantages apply to both industrial and home production:
- Ecology: it is more environmentally friendly, because less water is used. Recirculation means less liquid is used to water the plants.
- Yield: when the method is applied efficiently, it is possible to achieve similar or better results than open-air cultivation.
- Cleanliness: this is a hygienic method, which is also a necessity. The hydroponic area must be clean, disinfected and free of pests.
- Check: with this technique it is easier to monitor the condition of the plantation. In addition, one can determine which minerals are missing or have a deficiency.
- Amendment: being a controlled cultivation, it is adaptable to any geographical area and independent of climatic conditions.
- Own food: with hydroponics it is possible to produce your own organic food.
The best tips to have a hydroponic cultivation at home
This method is used in large horticultural plantations, but it is also adaptable to a small scale. With a series of materials and steps to follow it possible to bring hydroponics to home cultivation.
1. Regulate water and minerals
Hydroponics relies on water as a breeding ground for plants. In general, no soil, or only clay, is used, so handling the fluid is crucial.
In the beginning, osmosis water must be provided, i.e. free of harmful substances such as chlorine or lead. Then the necessary fertilizer is added.
It is recommended that the water temperature be between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius is. On the other hand, it is very important to constantly monitor the pH value, as variations can affect the crops.
The correct value, in the beginning, is 5.8. It is increased to 6 during flowering and to 6.2 in the subsequent period.
2. Measure the electroconductivity (EC)
The EC functions to indicate how much electricity the water transmits through the mineral salts. In other words, the amount of fertilizers it contains.
In this way it control whether the amount should be added or reduced. A level of 0.8 is best at the beginning of planting, rising to 1 after the first few weeks. Then to 1.5.
3. Prevent vermin
Even if plants are not in contact with the soil, the possibility of pests remains. In addition, if they attack a hydroponic plantation, their eradication is quite complex.
That’s why it is advisable to apply preventive measures by spraying. Use fungicides during the growth phase.
4. Maintain oxygen levels in hydroponics
Not only the water is important, but also the oxygen that moves through the water. Installing an air pump, such as those found in fish tanks, is essential to keep the roots healthy. It also prevents stagnation.
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5. Management of growth and fertilization in hydroponic crops
Tips for successful hydroponic crops provide some details that you should pay more attention to compared to planting in soil. For example, growth. To prevent the flowers from exceeding the weight that the structure of a plant can support without a foothold, add silicate please by the water.
This is a mineral that promotes resistance. On the other hand, not just any fertilizer is useful in this type of planting. In general, mineral fertilizers are preferred to organic fertilizers, due to the liquid density of the latter.
6. Have the right tools
In addition to the required oxygen, minerals and fertilizers, it is important to have the basic materials to set up hydroponic cultivation. For example a dark container for the roots, a plastic plug, wooden planks and a special substrate with clay or coconut fiber.
7. Assemble the structure
Make holes in the first container the size of the plastic plug, causing the water to drain. Then make holes with distances of 10 centimeters from the wooden board. The roots gently exit through these holes and the substrate goes into the container.
8. Pay attention to sunlight for hydroponic crops
This technique requires a lot of natural light, but not direct and constant. The frontal rays of the sun can affect growth and burn the leaves.
Therefore, make sure that the hydroponic crop at home gets enough light, but from a strategic place.
Spend time with your hydroponic crops
Although it is a task as accessible as any other form of cultivation, this technique usually requires quite a lot of time for maintenance and monitoring. It is So important to have several hours available for growing hydroponic crops.
Managing pH, mineral levels, pest control and plant structure all take work. However, the result will be worth it. Perhaps also interesting for you