A Beginner's Guide to Hydroponics | ZippyGrow
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A Beginner's Guide to Hydroponics

by ZippyGrow on July 12, 2019

An Introduction to Soilless Gardening

Author: Danny Donello / Category: Article / Published: Jul-12-2019

ALL ABOUT HYDROPONIC GARDENING

T

his method of farming was discovered by scientist who established that plants could grow on other mediums such as air or water so long as they could get the right amount of nutrients. People have welcomed hydroponics with open arms mostly because it is a type of gardening that does not involve the messy activities that are synonymous with soil farming. As a result, people in urban areas can be able to do this farming. In addition to this, hydroponic is a type of indoor farming activity that yields more than normal garden farming. This can give you more profit especially considering that you have not used a lot of inputs and labor.

Just anyone can be able to start a hydroponic farm and begin growing organic products in their homes. However, you need to have basic knowledge on how this farming is conducted and the type of equipment needed. You can also decide to commercialize this farming by building greenhouses in your compound. The greenhouses enhance the growth of plants in this set up and can be particularly important in disease and pest control. With hydroponic farming, you can be able to plant spinach, tomatoes, kales, cucumbers and many more.


WHY HYDROPONIC FARMING HAS SPREAD SO MUCH

  • Easy of farming

One of the reasons why hydroponic farming has grown so much is because it is easy to farm. Although the method requires some technical knowledge at first, it is something that is easy to implement on a long term basis. Also, there is no weeding that will require you to undertake more activities in your farming. Instead, you just tend to the growing plants by just adding water and nutrients into it.

 

  • Lower costs of farming

Another reason why hydroponic farming has spread across the world is because the farming is affordable. In the long term, you will not need as much labor or inputs as you would when doing farming on soil. Also, hydroponic farming does not require a lot of labor and this lowers your overall farming costs.

 

  • Embracing newer technology

Hydroponic farming promises lot of good things to farmers from around the world. Since it is a new type of farming, many people want to try it so that they can benefit from what it has to offer.

 

  • Better yields

Unlike other types of farming, hydroponic farming has better yields for all farmers. This is because plants are tended with great care and furthermore, they are given optimum conditions to grow. This enables farmers to benefit fully from the plants that they are planting. Since you can manipulate elements and minerals that your plants consume, you are able to get your plants to grow with the optimum conditions. Also, the plants are put in portable containers that can be moved with ease. Such variables enable one to get the best yields possible.


 

  • Easier disease and pest control

With hydroponic farming, there is easier disease and pest control. This is because; you can add insecticides and pesticides in the water and thereby kill pests that affect your crops. Also, you can be able to control pests by manipulating the environment where you place your plants. Hydroponic plants are grown on portable containers which can be moved from one place to another. Also, the can be grown inside grow rooms where pests can easily be controlled.


THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS

The Advantages include:

  • Less growing space and time is required. With hydroponics, you can grow many plants in a small area thereby saving a lot of space. There are many growth tents available in the market and you can purchase them depending on your needs.
  • You can be able to cut down on your water costs because the water that remains in the system can be re-used. This improves your earnings from farming as a result of the reduced operation costs.
  • Unlike soil farming, hydroponic supplies cuts down on gardening and farming activities. With this new type of farming, you will no longer need to do some gardening since there no weeds.
  • Higher yields. Since you can control the amount of nutrients that you provide to your plants, you have a higher chance of getting better yields.
  • Lower nutrition costs. Since you can be able to control the amount of nutrients supplied to the plants, you can avoid wastage. This enables you to lower your nutrition costs and therefore cut down on the input and operational costs of your farming business.
  • You can avoid pests and diseases because hydroponic containers are more mobile. In case there is pest infestation; you can move your plants into grow room where you can use pesticides to kill off the insects and pests. This can reduce crop wastage and damage due to pests.
  • Lastly, the crops have no competition with pests. This enables them to enjoy all the nutrients available.

Disadvantages

  • Relatively high amount of capital is needed to establish hydroponic farm


WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER DOING HYDROPONIC FARMING

  • Reduced costs

One of the reasons why you should consider doing hydroponic farming is because it reduces your costs while at the same time increasing output. The reduced costs come in many ways.

  1. First, hydroponic farming does not require weeding
  2. Secondly, there is no wastage in hydroponic farming
  3. Lastly, hydroponic farming does not consume a lot of water.

 

  • Easy cultivation

Hydroponic farming is very easy when compared to soil farming because there are no weeding, watering and other similar activities. Also, the farming is contained and therefore, the farmer has an easy time fighting pests and diseases. This makes it easy to cultivate the farms and fight pests in one go.

 

  • Fast growth of the plants

Another reason to consider hydroponic farming is because of the fast growth of the plants and crops. This is because the plants are provided with the optimum conditions possible for the growth and that enables them to grow at the fastest possible speed.


TOP 3 HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES YOU NEED IN ORDER TO START YOUR GARDEN

  • You need pumps to get started properly. You have to understand that even though you are growing plant without soil, you cannot do it without sufficient air and water. In order to provide your plants with the right amount of air and water, you will have to take advantage of different hydroponic pumps. You will have to use a water pump to provide plants with important nutrients. The pumps are also required to help that nutrient solution drain back in a reservoir. These pumps use a timer to function in a systematic way. Be sure to learn about the types of pumps available in the market – you usually have to choose from non-submersible and submersible pumps.
  • You will have to buy grow trays as well to help grow edibles in your hydroponic garden. These trays make it possible for you to keep your plants inside the reservoir along with a growing medium. The pumps functions periodically to fill this tray with important nutrients.
  • You will have to buy grow lights as well. Grow lights are among the most important hydroponic supplies because without the right type and amount of light, your hydroponic garden will not grow. By using these grow lights correctly, you can help your hydroponic plants grow properly. The light you use triggers the photosynthesis process, which is vital to the survival of your hydroponic plants. It is important to keep in mind that these grow lights are especially designed, so you usually do not get the same results from common bulbs and fluorescent lights, but you will not get the same results that you get by using grow lights.


THE MOST COMMON HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES YOU NEED FOR YOUR GARDEN

  • Timers: You will have to buy timers to ensure that the whole process works in a systematic way, and the role timers play make them one of the most important hydroponic supplies. You will have to attach timers to the water pumps to ensure that they deliver enough water and nutrients after regular intervals. The timers also play an important role in flushing out water from the grow trays and back to the reservoir. Grow lights are important but they also need timers to function properly. You will also have to use tiers to control ventilation systems, heating systems, and more. You can find a variety of timers today, but you will be better off buying digital timers because they are more advanced and accurate.
  • Growing Medium: Without the use of growing medium, your crops will never grow. Your crops will use the medium to find physical support. It is important to bear in mind that you may need different growing medium depending on the plant you are trying to grow. Just ensure that the medium you are using is capable of retaining moisture, so you do not have to water your plants that often.
  • Hydroponic Nutrients: Since you are growing plants without soil, you have to do something to provide them with important nutrients. This is exactly when you can find nutrients solutions that you can deliver to the plant with the help of a pump. It would be not hydroponic supplies without which your plants will never grow.
  • Reservoirs: You have to store the nutrient solution properly and that is when you will have to invest in a container or reservoir. You will have to install your pumps and timers in the reservoir to help deliver nutrients to the plant in a systematic way. It is usually a good idea to opt for bigger reservoirs.

GROW LIGHTS: ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES

  • Incandescent Lamps

These are standard house hold bulbs that you will find in your home. You can use them, but it is better to avoid because they are very inefficient. In fact, their efficiency rate is no more than 5%. Moreover, the spectrum of light that these bulbs produce is not suitable for indoor plants. Another issue is that they produce a lot of heat, which makes them quite ineffective when it comes to hydroponic plants.

 

  • Fluorescent Lamps

They are quite popular and work well for indoor plant growth. In terms of efficiency, they are at least 5 times more efficient as compared to incandescent bulbs. They use less electricity and produce a reasonable amount of light. If you want to use these bulbs, be sure to go to a store selling hydroponic supplies and ask for high-output fluorescent. Just keep in mind that may be better off trying other grow lights if you have large plants because the light they produce cannot penetrate deep into those plants. You may find compact fluorescent lamps more effective in this regard.

 

  • HID Lamps

You can also put your money on HID lamps to help grow plants indoor. Growers can choose from different types of HID lamps, including metal halide bulbs and high-pressure sodium bulbs. You may want to put your money on these lamps when you are interested in lighting large areas. They are quite suitable for hydroponic gardens because of their high light output. They use a bulb along with an electronic or mechanical ballast. In terms of efficiency, they are much better than incandescent lamps, but they still produce large quantities of useless heat (IR light). Another issue is that they come with limited lifetime and are likely to fail at any time.

 

  • LED Grow Lights

If you are looking for the most reliable option, you can certainly put your money on LED grow lights. They are available in different sizes and produce different spectrum of light to ensure that your plants can use the light for proper growth. LED grow lights come with several years of guarantee and are available at almost all stores selling hydroponic supplies.


WHAT MAKES LED LAMPS YOUR BEST CHOICE FOR GROW LIGHTS?

  • They are known for their minimal IR profile. You can certainly find other lights, but LED lights usually come with a low infrared heat signature.
  • They are much more energy-efficient as compared to all other available grow lights. You are starting a hydroponic garden, s it makes sense to go green whenever possible. Opting for LED lights is a great move because it helps reduce your carbon footprint and even keeps you from paying high electric bills.
  • They can be kept very close to canopy. This may not look like a huge benefit, but it can make a huge difference, especially when you have height limitations or are concerned are concerned about light penetration in your grow space. You need to opt for the cooler running, more compact lights when you want them placed near the plant canopy. Considering your limited grow space, you will be much better off using LED grow lights as compared to HID lights.
  • They are easy to install. Unlike many other types of grow lights, you can install LED lights on your own and even add an additional circuit whenever you want. With these lights, you do not have to worry about tripping breakers or deal with dangerous extension cords. You really need to pay attention to your safety when you working in a smaller grow space.
  • With LED grow lights, you do not have to worry about bulb failure when you opt for LED fixtures. All your hard work will go down the drain if you have to deal with an equipment failure in the middle of a grow.
  • You can opt for unique lighting orientations with LED lights because they are quite compact. Many people look no further than LED lights when they have height limitations in their grow space. They are extremely beneficial for the Stealth Grow Cabinets. Moreover, these LED fixtures are quite portable and can be shifted to other places with extreme ease.
  • LED grow lights are also far easier to install on your own compared to all other grow lights on the market. The circuit is quite straightforward and anyone can add with ease.


WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN GETTING HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES

Doing the right research will keep you safe from the common mistakes when starting hydroponics.

You should be well conversant with the equipment used in hydroponic growing so that you can purchase the right one. Different equipment is designed for different types of hydroponic projects and thus, it is important to determine the right type of grow space that you want to establish.

Talking to an hydroponic expert is also a good start. Finding the right equipment for the type of crops you want to plant is easier when share experience and knowledge with an expert grower.

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