A indoor hydroponics growing system is a setup that doesn’t require soil to grow plants. With this technique, you’d either introduce minerals, moisture, or other elements other than gardening soil, to plant your vegetables.
Owning a hydroponic garden indoors may seem quite complicated because you probably think you don’t have all the resources and experience to start. Of course, many people set up sophisticated planting systems. But you could also remake your functional growing system and even make it look as attractive as you want.
If you don’t want to stress, you could settle for a quality indoor hydroponic system. Or, you could build your DIY garden in a few steps. Both options allow you to choose between a small, inexpensive hydroponic system and a large, expensive high-tech setup.
What's In This Guide?
What Is Hydroponics?
“Hydroponics” refers to a technique of planting crops without soil. This kind of gardening is not limited only to large commercial organizations. Anyone could own a hydroponic system indoors, as long as they understand a few basics about how it works.
Benefits Of Indoor Hydroponics Growing Systems
You should grow your plants hydroponically for many different reasons. But more importantly, most people prefer using this system to increase yield and growth in plants. If you successfully plan your hydroponic growing system, your plants should get enough light, water, and minerals to grow strong and healthy. Therefore, plants use all their energy to grow taller instead of developing roots to find nutrients within the soil.
You may also prefer the hydroponic system because it doesn’t involve dirt. Planting with soil indoors can become very messy, particularly in your kitchen.
Additionally, hydroponic systems are awesome because they hardly breed weeds. And although your organic plants may still invite some pests, it is incomparable to regular garden soils.
Types Of Hydroponic Systems And How To Choose A Suitable One
Hydroponic systems are of six major types, and all of these types use nutrient and water-based solutions.
- Water culture.
This method is the most affordable form of hydroponic planting. Place a basket over a container filled with your preferred nutrient solution. Then, put your plants inside the basket and allow the roots to hand towards the solution. Since you’re submerging the roots, you will need to provide enough aeration with air stones, air pumps, or a falling water system that produces air bubbles.
- Nutrient film technique (NFT).
The nutrient film method is a simple setup that works mainly for small vegetables like lettuce and green seedlings. To set up this system, you’d need to install a shallow stream of nutrient solution that slopes downwards. While the water runs gently, the roots absorb the nutrients gradually.
- Aeroponic systems.
In an aeroponic system, the roots hang within a growing chamber. Then, oxygen fills the space for the roots to absorb the minerals without a growing medium. An aeroponic planting system can be automatic or manual. But in both cases, the roots are sprayed with aeroponic misters from time to time to keep them moisturized.
- Ebb and flow.
Also known as the ‘flood and drain’ method, this technique uses a timer and a water pump. Water and nutrients flood the root system to soak it. Then the excess water drains through a tube. After some time, the pump goes off, and the water flows into a reservoir, which holds the water until the next cycle begins. This system provides alternating supplies of oxygen and air, and water and nutrients.
- Drip method.
This method is relatively straightforward, and as its name implies, the plants grow in a growing media, like gravel or perlite. Then, a nutrient solution is pumped through tubes from a reservoir to drip towards the roots. When the roots are soaked enough, the liquid drips back into the container to flow into the storage container. The drip method is ideal for larger garden plants to keep the roots well hydrated all the time.
This system is probably the easiest to use and maintain. Plants grow within a growing medium, such as perlite or vermiculite, directly above a reservoir that holds the nutrient solution. Then a wicking string connects the solution with the soil to absorb water gradually. As the water moves into the roots, its level drops, and the roots get enough nutrient solution. This technique required no pumps or automation- just the wicking mechanism and growing medium.
How To Set Up A Hydroponics System
Irrespective of the hydroponic system you are choosing, below are some fundamental supplies you’ll need altogether.
Of course, you need plants for a hydroponic system. When choosing the plants to grow, consider how big it will grow so that you would provide enough room for roots to breathe. Your planting system should also be strong enough to support your plants’ structures.
As a beginner, it’s best to start with healthy seedlings instead of seeds. If you decide to start with seeds, clean the roots thoroughly before installation to avoid diseases.
Your plants will need a support system to hold them up. It could be a wire mesh or a basket to hold the roots up while they hang. You will then need to place a container, like a big bucket that the roots will drop into.
A reservoir will store the nutrient solution and water for your plants. Depending on the hydroponic system you have, the reservoir will either be within the same space or below the support system.
Using a growing medium depends on the system you choose. Growing media include perlite, vermiculite, gravel, etc., that are wrapped around your plants’ roots. If you are planting from seeds, it is excellent to use hydroponic sponges.
Almost every hydroponic system requires a water pump, except for the wicking system. And for specific uses, like the ebb and flow system, you should get a water pump with a timer.
Tubes are needed to carry water from the reservoir to the roots and back. When you want to buy a tubing, make sure its diameter can hold the water pressure, and it is long and durable enough to serve your planting purposes.
Nutrient solutions are needed to keep your plants growing. You should choose a high-quality nutrient solution for the specific kind of plant you are growing.
Plants need about 8-12 hours of sunlight daily to survive. So, if you don’t have access to direct sunlight for your plants, it’s best to use grow lights to provide the energy your plants need.
A hydroponic system.
If you don’t plan to start installing your plants’ hydroponics from scratch, you could get a ready-made high-tech hydroponic system and start planting.