Getting Started with Hydroponics

Getting Started With Hydroponic Gardening

Are you thinking about getting started with Hydroponics?  Would it surprise you that plants just like people need certain things to survive? Namely, these are water, sun, air, and nutrients, you’ll notice that we didn’t include soil. Here is the amazing thing about plants, they don’t need soil to grow. They can be grown using water, sunlight, air, and nutrients. Getting started with Hydroponics doesn’t have to be complicated, nor expensive. So, let’s get you on your way growing your best.

 

 

The Benefits of Growing with Hydroponics:

  • Grow anywhere.
  • You can create an environment that no pesticides are needed.
  • Year-round growing.
  • Estimates of 20% – 50% less space.
  • Growth rates can be faster since you can control temperature, light, nutrients, and moisture.
  • Up to 90% more efficient use of water.

 

What Every Plant Needs 

Unlike humans, plants have some very basic needs, if you provide for these needs in the right amount you will be amazed by the results.   Here is a breakdown of what every plant needs:

  • Air (You got to breath)
  • Light (Unless you are a mushroom)
  • Water (Water should be in the sweet spot of 5.5 – 6.3 pH range and no chlorine. Tap water is usually in the range of 7.8-8.0 ph.  A simple pool test kit can help you find out what you have.   You can use baking soda or vinegar to adjust your ph up or down. As for chlorine – leaving an uncovered container out  for a day or so helps to release chlorine.)
  • Nutrients.

Usually, it is soil that provides the nutrients; but in the case of Hydroponics, we provide these nutrients in the water. So, what are the main nutrients? Here are the main ones:

  • Nitrogen: This is a biggie. Nitrogen in the form of Nitrate is what plants use to build their foliage and gives them that green color that we all know and love.
  • Calcium: Calcium helps the plant to create strong cell walls and is necessary for the plant to use nitrogen.
  • Sulfur: Assists in the production of good stuff like amino acids, proteins, enzymes, and vitamins.
  • Potassium: This is what helps the plant to retain water and build resistance to disease and insects.
  • Phosphorus: You got to have roots! Phosphorus is key to both root and flower development. In addition, it helps to make the plant hardy so it can withstand environmental stress.
  • Magnesium: Working with Nitrogen, Magnesium helps with the creation of that green color.

There are a variety of sources for nutrients.   If you are lucky, you have a local dealer such as I love Hydroponics, in your area that can help.   If not, Amazon is a good place to start, The following is a beginning list that should be of help.  Let us know if you find other sources that you would recommend.  We are always on the search for good stuff at reasonable prices.

Check out this link from “Green and Vibrant” for their Best Hydroponic Nutrients 2019: Review and Buying Guide

Key Elements of Hydroponic Systems

While hydroponic systems vary, they all have the same basic elements:

  • Lights: If you are growing outdoors that can be the Sun, indoors you’ll need to grow lights. (Again, we are not talking about mushrooms here. We’ll be covering lighting in another post.)
  • Growing Medium: Fancy word for something other than soil. Growing medium varies Rockwool, Perlite, Clay Pellets, Gravel, just to name a few. We’ll get into this more as we go along.
  • Nutrients: Nutrients can be clumped into two groups:
    • Macronutrients: Those that the plant needs in large quantities such as Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Calcium and so on.
    • Micronutrients: Needed only in small amounts, but still very necessary such as Zinc, Manganese, Nickel, Copper and so on.

 

Easy Projects

Here are some very basic projects to get you going on your journey of growing with Hydroponics.  We are big believers in that “you learn by doing”.  In addition, we also believe in not “reinventing the wheel”.  Whenever possible we will use videos to help you along the way.   Some we will produce, others from sources we have found on the Internet.   If it is a source from the internet, we’ll point you to a link, provide credits to the source.

If you want a basic and inexpensive setup right out of the box? We recommend something like the Giraffe-X Indoor Growing System.  Which is available from Amazon and other sources.   If you feel more like doing it yourself here are two projects for you and the family here are a couple of projects to get you going.

Hydroponics in a 2-Liter Soda Bottle – STEM Activity.

This is a good basic project and fun for all ages.  The only change I would recommend is to paint the bottle bottom haves black.   This will cut down on the growth of algae.

World’s Most Simple $5 DIY Hydroponic Setup QUICK EZ & CHEAP 

It may seem complicated, but, it is not.

What’s Next?

We will be combing the Internet for the best resources to help to address what you need to know to get yourself going on your Hydroponics journey.  We look forward to your comments and questions.  Feel free to contact us by clicking here.  You can grow your best with Hydroponics.

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Great idea and even better post that explains how to get started with Hydroponics. I like the video especially. I think this is a great solution for everyone who likes to grow. The benefit are quite surprising. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Ivan for your comments. Appreciate you taking the time to check out the videos. There is some really great info out there we liek to share to help people get a good start with out paying an arm and leg to enjoy the benefits of hydroponics.

  2. This is very informative! I liked the video examples you provided, as I’m not familiar with this line of work. They really illustrated how you can do this on your own. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Dereck, I’ve been involved in hydroponics for a few years now. Fortunately with more successes than failures. In my journey, I’ve discovered that getting started doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. I appreciate your comments on the videos – there is some really great info that I believe should be shared. Again thanks for dropping by and invite you to return from time to time to see how this effort is progressing.

  3. I’ve always been interested in hydroponics but I always thought I’d need a greenhouse and thousands of dollars be able to do it. Thanks for this article, now I know that I don’t need all that at all!
    I really like the video for the 2 litre bottle because that doesn’t take much space at all. Great post!

    • Thanks Melissa, anyone can get started with very little cost. I started my journey years ago with a very simple setup – it’s grown a bit since then. Still like exploring some basic simple ways to help people explore the fun and benefits of growing with hydroponics. Appreciate your comments….

  4. Hey very nice article about hydroponics I had no idea soil is not needed to grown plants nor did I know tap water had high PH levels. It make sense why water that has been sitting out for a while taste better than tap water. very much needed to know info. keep it up 🙂

    • Hello Travis – thank you for comments. Yes, the PH levels can vary from location to location. Chlorine especially can be tasted – leaving it out in an open container gives the water a chance to get rid of this taste.

  5. Hi and thanks for this informative and timely article!
    I’m so going to be giving the STEM activity a go with my class! They are going to love it and it seems easy enough for them to manage too.

  6. I’ve always wondered about hydrophonics; this is great information.

    I live in a very rocky area and have well water that I know is full of various nutrients; our water is considered very hard. Do you know if this makes a difference in growing?

    I will try the 2-liter bottle experiment; we grow quite a bit of fruits, vegetables, and plants.

    • As a general rule, the best pH for hydroponics is a slightly acidic range of 5.5-6.5. However, optimal pH ranges for nutrient availability vary somewhat from plant to plant. You don’t need expensive chemicals to adjust the water’s pH. Household products such as Baking Soda and Distilled Vinegar can be used to adjust your levels. You’ll to experiment you the amounts – jus reminder it doesn’t take much to make a change up to or down. Let us know of the 2-liter bottle works for you. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Wow, very informative and interesting! I’ve been interesting in growing some things myself for quite some time, and this is just the inspiration I need. I’m glad to have found this post. Thank you Steve for sharing this information.

    • Thanks – in an upcoming post I am planning to share some kits that are easy to start with. Appreciate you dropping by from time to time.

  8. I have used this method to start many plants from a stem. I had some luck, I just used plain water to start with.
    With your method, I should have better results in the future.
    If I use your Hydroponics method to start plants, how big do they have to be before I transfer them to a soil-based growing method?
    John

    • Hello John – you’ll need at least a decent root system to get them going. A general rule of thumb is if you have a seedling about a little smaller than the size that you buy from a local store – then you are good to go. Watch out for shock from the plant being transferred from a nutrient-rich environment to soil and into natural sunlight where it will have to fend for itself. Here is a good video that will walk you through the process https://youtu.be/niE25MzpbKw Thanks for the comment – let us know how it turns out.

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