Crops to consider in hydroponics farming

Hydroponic box. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Design your irrigation system depending on the crops you intend to grow and ensure you have an adequate source of clean water that can be used for production.

The science of soil-less gardening is known as hydroponics. The hydroponic system involves growing healthy plants without the use of a traditional soil medium. 

A plant just needs to select nutrients, water, and sunlight to grow. Not only do plants grow without soil, but they also grow a lot better with their roots in water instead.

A hydroponic farming system is a form of gardening system that uses a water-based medium to grow plants. 

Why grow hydroponically?
There are several reasons to grow plants hydroponically, but the most common reasons involve faster growth and maximum yield. In a properly functioning hydroponic system, your plants must get the perfect amount of nutrients, water, and sunlight.

The hydroponic system is the most efficient way to grow your plants. The extra oxygen in the hydroponic growing mediums helps to stimulate root growth and plants with ample oxygen in the root system also absorb nutrients faster. 

Generally, plants grown hydroponically are healthier and happier plants. Hydroponic farming also offers several benefits to our environment. 

Hydroponic crops have fewer problems with bug infestations, funguses, and disease. 

This hydroponic information may be helpful in setting up the hydroponics system in the balcony, starting hydroponics on the terrace, designing a hydroponics system in the backyard, setting up hydroponics in greenhouse, or polyhouse.

The benefits of hydroponic farming 
The hydroponic system has several advantages over soil gardening. Here are a few hydroponic system benefits.

By providing constant and readily available nutrition, the hydroponic system allows plants to grow up to 50 percent faster than they would in soil. 

Hydroponics system is great for both the environment and the grown product, hydroponic system virtually eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides compared to traditional soil gardening.

Any water that is used in a hydroponic system stays in the system and can be reused, reducing the constant need for a freshwater supply.

Weeds are eliminated in a hydroponic and pests are almost nonexistent.

Plants suitable 
Most of the plants such as greens, herbs, and vegetables can be grown by hydroponics. For a beginner, it is better to select herbs and small vegetable plants that can grow quickly and requires less maintenance. If you want to start large scale hydronic farming for the first time, these simple plants make it easy to monitor how well your system works and can be tweaked easily. And, always start with the same variety of plants or plants that require similar nutrient requirements. Here are several plants that grow well in hydroponic systems: Lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, basil, broccoli, pepper, parsley, rosemary, zucchini and watermelon among others. 

Deep water culture 
One of the simplest and most inexpensive systems is deep water culture. In this method, the plant is placed in a basket above a reservoir filled with a nutrient solution. From there, the plant roots hang down completely submerged in the solution. Because the roots are constantly submerged, they will need aeration to prevent suffocation.  

A water culture system is another simple hydroponic system to set up. In this hydroponics, the plants are placed in a styrofoam platform that floats on top of the reservoir with the nutrient-enriched water. This is best for growing leaf lettuce, but very few other plants grow well in this system.

Ebb and flow 
The ebb and flow technique uses a water pump on a timer. The water reaches a height where it will soak the plant roots and the excess water drains through an overflow tube. When the pump shuts off at the designated time, the water drains back down to the reservoir. It stays there until the pump turns on again and this system provides the plant roots with alternating periods of air and oxygen than water and nutrients. 

The wick system 
The wick hydroponic system is the simplest mechanically, as there are no moving parts or electrical components. This is not ideal for water-hungry plants such as lettuce and tomatoes, as they may use up the nutrient solution faster than the wick can supply it. This works best for microgreens, herbs, and peppers. 

Drip system
This is another type of hydroponic system that you can use both for home and commercial growing purposes. With this hydroponic system, the grower uses a pump to provide an adequate amount of nutrient solution to the root of individual plants.

The plants grow in a slow absorbent medium so that the nutrient solution can drip slowly into the roots. This system works well for most vegetables, spices, and herbs both for home and commercial growers.