Our earliest memories of this go back to seeing how the money plant could be grown in just a bottle of plain water. It would then sprout roots and flourish in just that bottle with a limited change of water occasionally. See how easy this hydroponics stuff really is!
Well taking it forward from there is a lot of science which makes growing plants in the water medium a guaranteed success. You've got various techniques like the ebb and flow, a variety of water oxygenating options and even variations in how the water as a medium is used! The advantages of hydroponics are many. You get a controlled environment with the plants getting as many nutrients as actually needed so that there is no wastage. With a steady supply of nutrients, the plant in turn focuses more on growing flowers and fruits. So if that is your goal then you can see some great results. Well how to get started? Here are the basic steps:
1. What you need at the most basic level is: some hardy plants like tomato seedlings, a timer so that plants get water per their feeding cycles, a tray or container, hydroponic fertilizers that provide growing nutrients and an air pump to oxygenate the growing solution.
2. Next don’t forget that the plants do receive ample sunlight in a protected environment like the window sill or table of a sunny room. Or are placed near an artificial light source. The best results in commercial hydroponic agriculture are of course in greenhouses which have good air circulation,
3. Ensure temperature is ambient and between 10 deg to 28 deg. These are ideal conditions but these can be varied by experience and the plants you will be growing. Also excessive humidity is not desirable. Between 65 to 76% is ideal during the night.
4. The pH value of the water medium is critical and should ideally be between 5 and 7. You can buy a Hydroponic PH Meter for this purpose. Check out one such meter available 3-in-1 Hydroponic Meter on our New Products page of this website.The water pump to oxygenate a large planting hydroponics tray must be placed at a slight distance to the plants. You can choose between submersible types easily obtained from shops that sell fish aquariums.
5. Developed plants before flowering can next be lowered into successive soil-less solutions and finally kept erect using anchoring from overhead and/or horizontal string. Another easy way is to grow the plants directly in test longish glass containers which provide adequate vertical support to the plant as it becomes laden with leaves and fruit. Or yet use a stratum from coconut fibers, or moss, plastic sheets or even gravel that will anchor the plants. Just use your imagination.
6. As the plants grow, monitor oxygen and nutrient levels so that these have enough nutrition/reserve food material for a few weeks. Apply hydroponics fertilizer as necessary especially near fruiting time. Also allow occasional drainage of solution to allow roots to oxygenate more completely before replenishing it.
Happy Planting! Write to us if you need further details on this interesting world of growing plants in water.