Growing Hydroponic vegetables at home is not as difficult as it might seem. Kits or systems are a great way to start and are easy to operate and install and are available commercially from online from horticultural suppliers, from some nurseries and of course from hydroponics specialists. We provide a brief guide on growing hydroponic vegetables and what to grow.
The hydroponic vegetable garden
A hydroponics system for growing vegetables is basically a system where plants can be grown without soil or supported in a soil less growing medium, through which nutrient rich water is passed.This is usually achieved through a system of tubes which are filled with hydroponics medium such as perlite. Nutrient rich water is passed through the tubes (flowing through the bottom 1/4) and plants are suspended through holes in the top of the tube with their roots in the growing medium.
The theory behind hydroponics is that
- because hydroponic systems recycle all water in a closed system they use less water.
- hydroponic systems allow you to grow vegetables in areas that may not be suitable due to poor or rocky ground.
- a soil less medium means no weeds (and less pests)
- application nutrients can be controlled and monitored easily.
- hydroponic systems can be automated easily.
- hydroponic growing needs less space as root systems do not need to be large.
- plants grown this way need to spend less effort growing and establishing a root system and therefore grow and fruit more efficiently.
Nutrient Film hydroponic technique
A nutrient film hydroponic system is one of the most popular systems for the home gardener. This system uses a specially designed channel to support plants, a small pump provides a constant flow of nutrient rich solution to the plants, the solution is collected and recycled by the pump.
Where to set up your hydroponic system
A flat area will be the easiest, although hydroponics systems can be established running across the slope if needed. To gain the full benefit of a hydroponic vegetable growing system a sunny position is best for most crops. Poly tunnels or green houses are a real advantage as these can extend the growing season and allow you to control the amount of sun on extremely hot days.
The system shown below is fantastic for growing green leafy vegetables. This system was constructed by Bob Campbell from Sage Horticultural
Complete hydroponic systems that include a home fish farm are being developed. These are systems that allow fish to be grown as well as vegetables, in these systems you feed the fish and the water used to feed the fish is used to feed the vegetables. More information on these systems coming soon………