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7 Secrets About Hydroponic Grow Systems

7 Secrets About Hydroponic Grow Systems

Ready to discover 7 Secrets About Hydroponic Grow Systems, and develop an enviable green thumb? Then keep reading, this post is what you are looking for.

Since the climate change movement accelerated in the late 2000s, there has been a renewed interest in agriculture, with its subset horticulture benefitting in the process.

According to the “Hydroponics – Global Market Outlook (2017-2023)” report published in 2017 (Laura Wood, The Business Wire), the global hydroponics market was calculated at US$226.45 million in 2016 and was forecast to grow to US$724.87 million by 2023.

This exponential growth is attributed to commercial hydroponic greenhouses in the United States and Australia mostly, but many smaller farmers in other parts of the world, including Canada, are seeing growth upticks in their indoor hydroponic gardens. But what is Hydroponics? 

According to Wikipedia, “Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.”

Simply put, it is growing plants without soil. That way, we eliminate the usual problems faced by growing plants in soil, not the least being insects and weeds! With hydroponics no more weeds!

However, while this may excite you to know you can grow your plants hydroponically (ie. without soil), not many persons (outside of the big commercial hydroponic greenhouses) successfully do so. For many reasons, including rookie mistakes.

Growing an indoor hydroponic garden can be fun and profitable, but first, you need to learn the secrets that the big greenhouses are not sharing. I believe knowledge must be shared.

So let me share with you 7 secrets about hydroponic grow systems that will help you to cultivate ever fresh scotch bonnet peppers, medicinal herbs, fruits and other vegetables of your choice. 

Are you ready? Here, then, are your 7 secrets about hydroponic grow systems:

  • Not all systems are created equal

It is true. There are 6 main types of hydroponic grow systems to choose from, with multiple variations of these such as Fogponics that are on the market. You have the Bengal (Run-to-Waste), Deep Water Culture (DWC), Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain), Aeroponic,

Wick, Drip (Dutch bucket hydroponic system) and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). The thing to remember when deciding which to choose is that it is VERY important to know: how they deliver nutrients, oxygen and water to the plants you’re cultivating.

For example, did you know that in the case of a power outage, your plants will not die if you are using a Drip or Wick system? 

  • Location

Where you locate your hydroponic grow system in your indoor hydroponic garden is very important. Your plants need sunlight. Not too much and not too little. Your plants need at least six (6) hours of sunlight daily.

Why? Plants need enough light to grow, especially since photosynthesis is more efficient with more sunlight available. N/B: Sunlight provides all the lighting that your plants need to grow correctly.

However, If you can’t locate your plants in direct sunlight near a sunny window, for example, then you will have to provide artificial lighting using your own indoor grow lights. If you are interested in fruiting veggies like tomatoes, or serious medicinal herbs, you will have to upgrade to a high-intensity discharge (HID) lamp.

  • Right nutrition

However you decide to establish your hydroponic grow system, you need to be able to sustain your plants. What this means is ensuring that all nutrients are supplied in proper amounts at just the right time. Plants cannot survive and thrive without 17 essential nutrients.

When using a hydroponic grow system, you will need to use a “complete” hydroponic nutrient that has the right amount of these nutrients, including hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, and sulphur. Click here to see the best hydroponic nutrients in Canada.

In addition to the right nutrition, one must also consider the right pH. pH is measured 

  • Right pH

Using a 0- to 14-point scale where 0 is the most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is the most alkaline. Alkalinity is a capacity measure. It measures the capacity of the water to neutralize the acid.

The amount of acid needed depends on the alkalinity of the water. In hydroponics, we are primarily concerned with the pH of the water used to make up nutrient solutions and irrigate plants.

Why is this so important? Because when the pH of your hydroponic system gets out of balance—which can happen quickly if some kind of stabilizing agent or mechanism is not put in place—the ability of your plants to absorb macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as other beneficial sources, is limited.

N/B: A low pH can cause Calcium deficiency, while a high pH can cause iron deficiency. With the right system you will be able to keep the pH of the water in the proper range, which is 5.5 to 6.5 (6.0 is ideal). Note also that tap water is in the 7.0-8.0 pH range.

  • Right climate

Yes, your lovely plants require lighting, and you’ve installed an elaborate system with HID lamps. Right? But these lamps are bright for a reason–they are high density, which means they will emit a lot of heat in your indoor hydroponic garden. If you’re growing lettuce, for example, you will lose your crop faster than you can say hydroponic.

There are some tropical plants that like temperatures around 80F, while plants like broccoli and lettuce like lower temperatures of about 60-65F. The most common range for your hydroponic grow system is between 55-75F.

So use a fan on low or an air conditioning unit where you can gauge the temperature.  Also note that insects thrive more over 80F, so this is another reason to keep your indoor hydroponic garden cool. 

  • Water and Oxygen 

Many newbie hydroponic growers always get frustrated when they lose their first crop, not realising that there has to be a balance between the water and oxygen in their hydroponic grow system.

Did you know that plants can drown? Yes, that’s what happens when the water and oxygen in your hydroponic grow system is out of balance. One way to ensure that there is a balance between water and oxygen is to employ the right medium.

Rock wool is your secret weapon for your growing medium. Growing media is the substitute for soil, however, it does not provide any nutrient to the plant.

Instead, this porous medium retains moisture and nutrients from the nutrient solution, which it then delivers to the plant. Rock wool’s structure miraculously traps the right amount of water and oxygen for your leafy greens. 

  • Non viable seeds

The last secret I’ll share with you concerning your hydroponic grow system that should see you amassing a 100% return on your investment, is the use of viable seeds. Many indoor hydrogen arderners use seedlings, which is the preferred method, especially for the newbies.

However, if you find yourself with seeds, especially some well-needed ones such as medicinal herbs, here’s what to do to ensure you have a crop–provided that you followed all the other instructions to the letter: Fill a glass with distilled water and place your seeds in it. After 24 hours the viable seeds should have sunk to the bottom.

Those still floating are most likely the non viable seeds and will not germinate, so you can skim those off and plant the viable seeds.

7 Secrets About Hydroponic Grow Systems in a Nutshell

Growing an indoor hydroponic garden can be fun and profitable, but first, you need to learn the secrets that the big greenhouses are not sharing. 

The seven secrets about hydroponic grow systems that will help you to cultivate ever fresh scotch bonnet peppers, medicinal herbs, fruits and other vegetables of your choice are:

  • Not all systems are created equal
  • Just like real estate, it’s all about location!
  • Feed them well! Give your hydroponic gardens the right nutrition, ph and climate
  • Keep the right balance between water and oxygen

Having set up your complete and effective hydroponic grow system, it makes sense to use viable seeds. When you’ve done all of the above, come back here and share your experience with us. Happy growing! 

Did you enjoy this article, share it with your friends and family. Remember knowledge must be shared and applied. 

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