Today, we have a special guest. Her name is Ann from sumogardener.com. She’s going to give us some tips on growing hydroponics at home.
Hydroponics- is the term new to you? Well, this method is used for growing plants without sowing the saplings in conventional medium. Instead, nutrient rich solution of water is used for triggering plant growth. You may opt for this method as the products of hydroponically tended plants are tastier, carry balanced amounts of various nutrients, are not contaminated by residues of fertilizers and you can control the product property by deciding what to feed the plant.
The plants can be grown in a small space and you don’t need a sprawling backyard for gardening. To experience success with hydroponic method, you need to develop a gardening plan and stick to it. The plan involves ascertaining the nutritional and photoperiod needs of the plant and remaining ready with the needful equipment and supplies to cater to the requirements.
You can exercise your discretion regarding going for starter kits readily available in the market or opting for your own improvised version. The starter kits carry comprehensive directions regarding the nutrient feeding schedule and also offer valuable insights into strengths of various nutrients and when to change them. You may find that the plants during the initial phase of growth would ask for more nitrogen to consolidate them and then would demand higher phosphorus to bear fruits. Purchase an EC meter upfront. This would help you in tracking the strength of nutrient solution and adjusting the same weekly based on plant growth.
Some of us try to be experimental in order to accomplish faster results. This may prove fatal. As a novice, always go for professional nutrient product kit as it is easy to use and contains all relevant nourishments in right amounts. Refrain from adding nutrient additives to hasten the pace of plant growth and stick to the fundamental three part nutrients which comes packed in the kit. Next, when the plant is in full bloom, you may add silica, moist seaweed and Vitamin B1 to bolster the plant.
Protect the roots
It is desirable that you maintain a separate nutrient reservoir to facilitate faster change of nutrient solution after few weeks. This will help in de-chlorination of water and bringing down its temperature to room levels prior to change; consequently plant roots would remain unscathed after change. It is important that you maintain two reservoirs of nutrient solution for the plant and should protect the solutions from remaining in direct contact with light for protracted periods. Else, algae would thrive and gats would damage the roots. Water the reservoir using a garden hose reel adapted for the purpose.
You have to be careful regarding provision of ambience lighting. It is recommended that lighting intensity of minimum 60 watts per square feet be available. This can be pulled off with metal halide or high pressure sodium vapor lights. Fluorescent lights do not provide enough light energy to foster healthy growth of hydroponic plants. The plant top should necessarily be kept sufficiently exposed to light.
You will experience stagnancy in plant growth if the temperature goes beyond 85 degrees. This can be offset by constant pumping of carbon-di-oxide. You need to place the ballast of light outside the hydroponics area else plants may sustain damage due to the excess heat generated by high intensity lights. A continuous stream of cold air is needed; the same can be achieved with centrifugal or squirrel cage fans.
To manipulate photoperiod and facilitate fruit or flower growth, make it a point to turn on and off the lights at the same time unfailingly every day. When the plants are kept in darkness, all access points to light should be cut off. Grow tent can be used. Remember, plants are highly sensitive to light.
Assemble the right equipment prior to proceeding with plantation
You need to arrange all the strategic tools needed to promote and monitor plant growth at the outset. Thermometer, pH test kit, digital timer, HID lights, air-conditioning, EC meter, nutrient supplier etc. should be in place.