All over the world, the quality of soil is diminishing and water is being wasted. As a result, hydroponic gardening is beginning to seem like the way of the future. Are you interested in hydroponic gardening, but aren't sure of what you need to get started? If so, you've come to the right place. Read on to learn about the hydroponic supplies you'll need to start your first garden.
History of Hydroponics
First, let's talk briefly about what hydroponic gardening is. The word hydroponics comes from two Greek words: "hydro," which means water, and "ponics," which means labor. Basically, hydroponic gardening relies on water but not soil.The practice of gardening without soil dates back thousands of years. Countries like Holland, Germany, and Australia currently use hydroponics for crop production. They have seen great results!
Benefits of Hydroponics
The first, most obvious benefit of hydroponic gardening is the fact that you don't need soil. However, there are many other benefits that come with this method of gardening. They include the following:
Faster Plant Growth
When grown under the same conditions, hydroponic plants have a growth rate that is 30-50% faster than soil plants.
Greater Plant Yield
No matter what you're growing, you'll likely get more bang for your buck using a hydroponic system. Many scientists believe this is because hydroponic crops get more oxygen. They are able to absorb nutrients faster.
Hydroponic gardening actually uses less water than soil gardening. Another benefit is that fewer pesticides are necessary for hydroponic crops. You also don't have to worry about soil erosion, since there is no soil to begin with.
Seven Hydroponic Supplies You'll Need
Air And Water Pumps
Adequate air and water are necessary for hydroponic plant growth.This is why most hydroponic growing systems utilize water and air pumps.A water pump will hydrate and help feed nutrients to the plants. It will also be responsible for draining them. Likewise, an air pump will ensure that oxygen gets to the roots of the plants to help them absorb the nutrient solution. There are two types of pumps: submersible and non-submersible. As the names suggest, a submersible pump is submerged into the nutrient solution. On the other hand, a non-submersible pump operates from the outside.
Growing containers are what will be used to house your plants. They'll also periodically be filled with nutrient solution to ensure your plants are growing properly.
Light is also crucial for stimulating photosynthesis and growing healthy plants.Lights designed specifically for hydroponic growth are better than regular or fluorescent lightbulbs. These types are more likely to compromise the health of your crops.
No matter how careful you are, there are still going to be times when you're not around to tend to your plants. That's why it is best to have your system work on a timer. Your plants will get adequate water and nutrients without you constantly having to monitor them. Having timers on your water pumps and lights is especially important. Digital timers are preferable over analog ones. This is because they are usually more reliable and precise.
The growing medium will go inside of the trays to hold your plants' roots and provide physical support. The type of growing medium you use will depend on the type of system you're using. Some of the most common growing media include Rockwool or lava rock. The most important factor in choosing a growing medium is its ability to retain moisture -- but not too much moisture -- so that your plants don't dry out.
You won't be able to use regular fertilizer for your hydroponic garden. Instead, you'll need to invest in hydroponic nutrients to ensure that your plants are as healthy as possible.
pH Test Kit
A pH test kit is another crucial supply for hydroponic growers. The right pH balance in your growing medium -- not too acidic and not too alkaline -- will ensure that your plants absorb nutrients properly and are able to thrive. The ideal pH level varies depending on the type of plant you're growing. However, most plants do best with a slightly acidic pH that falls somewhere between 5 and 6.5You should check the pH of your hydroponic garden once a week.If you find that the pH is off, don't worry. It is fairly easy to adjust the pH of your hydroponic garden. There are products designed for this specific purpose. You can also use household products like vinegar to lower the pH and baking soda to raise it.
Types of Hydroponic Systems
Active vs. Passive
Hydroponic systems are considered either active or passive. The primary difference between these two types of systems is whether or not they utilize a pump. Active systems use pumps to move the nutrient solution. Passive systems rely on the growing medium to do the absorbing and distributing. Active systems are generally considered the better option. This is because they keep everything move in a more efficient and effective manner. Some growers opt for passive systems because they are less expensive and easier to maintain. However, they can also be too wet, which leads to oxygen deficiencies and slower growth rates.
Recover Vs. Non-Recovery
Hydroponic systems are also categorized as either recovery or non-recovery systems. Recovery systems (also known as recirculating systems) reuse nutrient solution. Non-recovery systems do not.
Get Your Hydroponic Supplies Today
Now that you know more about what's needed for hydroponic gardening, it's time to get your own hydroponic supplies. You have lots of options when it comes to shopping for supplies, but they are definitely not all created equal. Investing in high-quality growing supplies will yield better returns because you will end up with higher quality crops. If you intend to sell your crops, the better the quality, the more you'll be able to make from them.
At DoctorPonic, we specialize in lighting fixtures. We're also a great resource for all other high-performance hydroponic supplies. Check out our shop today to get all the supplies you need to start your very own hydroponic garden!