Hydroponic Gardening Tips

Just like anything you get into, the first goal to accomplish is having a plan. You will need to consider the space that you have available for gardening. If you are planning to have your gardening indoors in a tight space, ensure there is sufficient space for performing routine maintenance. You need to have enough space for nutrient changes and the occasional pruning.

For this reason, ensure you have left ample area you can work in. Remember with hydroponic gardening, you will get a much higher yield than soil that is in equal size. When growing indoors, you need to consider the amount of sunlight that will be available for your plants.

Most plants that you consider growing will require a minimum of about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight and about 12 to 14 hours of light for each given day. If you have a south-facing window, then definitely this is a good place for you to start. In the event the room does not provide sufficient light, it would be advisable to purchase a High-Intensity-Discharge lighting system.

But if your garden will be located outdoors, it will be easy to take advantage of the natural sunlight. It is essential to consider the effects the weather would have on the system. This includes the temperature ranges in your area and the path of the sun.

Direct sunlight will tend to heat up the nutrient solution that is in your garden. Take this into account when locating the best area for your garden. For the best results, the nutrient temperatures will need to be between 65 to 75 degrees. In the event the nutrient solution is outside this range, then your crops will slow down in growth which can be detrimental in the long run.

Thus, make the necessary provisions to ensure rainwater is kept away from your system. The problem for rainwater can be reduced by merely cutting skirts from your plastic bags and ensuring you place them over the grow sites and around the stems. Once those areas are covered, the next thing is gathering the tools required for the job.

That is a hacksaw, sharp knife razor, and an electric drill. The holes saw will be used in building an Aerospring and the PVC gardens. PVC is not hard to cut, but the hacksaw will make things easier for you. It is essential that you read through instructions provided for most of these tools because some can be quite dangerous, especially if it is your first time using an electric drill.

Hydroponics Nutrient Solution

Interpreting data and understanding it is a skill you will need to learn while using the hydroponics system. As it is a system that requires precision and proper interpretation of analytics, the biggest gray area with hydroponics is adequate nutrient monitoring.

It involves measuring needed data, what you should do with the information you have received, and how to appropriately adjust the needed levels. Also a crucial point would be to study the ways you are able to measure, adjust, and analyze the nutrient solution in your crops.  Electrical conductivity (EC) seems to be the first option for many growers, researchers, and scientists alike.

The electrical conductivity method is not solely designed for monitoring nutrient levels. It is actually a measure of the electrically charged nutrient ions that are found in the reported solution in the form of unit Siemens (S). So you might be wondering how this helps with your hydroponic system? Well, there is a positive correlation that exists between ion concentrations, or we could call it the salt content in a solution, to the EC. So when one goes up the other will also go up.

The EC of most solutions used tend to range between 0.0-1.6, all this depends on the stage of growth your plants are at. The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) refers to the amount of nutrient solutions; salts or solids that have been dissolved in either water or any form of liquid. The measurement used is parts per million (ppm) coming from another unit measuring mg/L milligrams per liter.

Most of the nutrient solutions that you will see in a hydroponic system would measure between 0 and 1,000 ppm. Also, this all depends on the stage of growth of your plants. So just for a quick reference, seawater would usually measure 35,000 ppm depending on the region.

Molarity is also referred to as (mmol), which indicates the amount of moles-of-solute that is found per liter of any given solution. Again, this is just another method you could use to measure the concentration of the nutrient solution that you mostly use. The moles will be calculated as a fraction of the actual mass of your solution over the atomic mass of the molecule.

Yes, science techniques that you could use, which can seem a little confusing at first but it is something you will grasp. If you are the type of grower who likes dosing plants the old fashioned way with the use of your hands, then you need to have a nutrient monitoring device nearby. It is to ensure your solution is being monitored continuously.

With fresh reservoir water, fill it up but ensure to leave about 5-10% room so that you could add more water if your solution is too concentrated.  Most nutrient manufacturers will suggest the required dose rate. Ensure you do not mix the separate parts that are in the diluted form. Once the recommended dose has been added it is time to take action.

If the solution strength is within the acceptable range, then you are good to go. If the reading is too high, then you will need to add some water to your reservoir, while you slowly observe the meter. Once you have reached the desired range, your solution is ready for use.  

Dutch Hydroponic System

If you are looking for a simple hydroponic system, then Dutch hydroponic system is the one to look into. Aquaponics is a little bit more difficult, but it seems to be a favorite for most individuals. There is a variation of media techniques to be used; the Dutch buckets can break the media bed system into much smaller components. As a result, this approach will offer you several benefits.

Each bucket will be set up separately; it will allow the growers to space out larger crops, like eggplants and tomatoes, without the waste of any media. Additionally, separate buckets can be used in pest management. It is because the infected bucket can be easily removed from the system without sacrificing the entire bed. 

The following are the steps to take

1.    The first step is cutting PVC pipe to 8 feet or just about the length of the table you will be using. Ensure to leave some room at the end cap and the elbow. To ensure this fits well on the table. 

2.    Take your Dutch buckets and place them on the table, then decide on the appropriate spacing mark. It will be the placement of the drains for each bucket. 

3.    The next thing is drilling a one-inch hole on the marks you have just made.

4.    Use a PVC and primer to cement in attaching the elbow and end cap. You need to ensure the elbow is facing down and the hole that is in the PVC is facing upward.

5.    You will now need to drill holes on either side of your PVC so that you can attach zip ties that will hold the PVC in place. Alternatively, you could use a 1.5inch conduit instead of the zip ties.

6.    Next is running the 1/2 tubing in the middle line over your buckets and further fastening it in place with the use of the clamps and clips. Ensure to leave a few feet at the end to help reach the pump in the reservoir.

7.    Use a 1/8 inch drill that will help in producing holes through your ply tubing on both sides of the clamp. This is where the drip emitters will go. 

8.    Go ahead and cut the end of the irrigation line so that you can add a release valve, which will be used in flashing the system and if you need to drain the reservoir. Next, you need to fasten it with a pipe clamp.

9.    Now you need 16 strips of 5-inch that will be used for the ¼ inch tubing which will be attached to the drip emitters. It helps in centering the irrigation that will run over your plants.

10.    The end of the tuning should be connected to the pump then fastened with a pipe clamp. Next is placing the pump in your reservoir. 

11.    The final task is testing your new hydroponic system, you will need to ensure each drip emitter is working well and no leaks are present. Once everything checks out go ahead and plant your crops in the media, you can perlite or hydroton. Your Dutch hydroponic system is ready to go.

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