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Home Explore the Science of Hydroponics Hydroponics cultivation : crops Keep Your Food Safe From Deadly Pesticides and Herbicides by Growing Hydroponic Vegetables at Home

Keep Your Food Safe From Deadly Pesticides and Herbicides by Growing Hydroponic Vegetables at Home PDF Print E-mail
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Hydroponics is a great, fun and clean way to grow plants indoors by supplying water, nutrients, and oxygen to their roots. In your indoor Hydroponic garden you must be the sole creator of all aspects of the plants environment.

Hydroponics is a great, fun and clean way to grow plants indoors by supplying water, nutrients, and oxygen to their roots. Hydroponic growing is perfect for fruit bearing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce and herbs. By synthetically controlling every aspect of the garden, almost any kind of plant imaginable can be grown using hydroponics! The majority of hydroponic gardeners plant crops similar to what they would grow in a soil garden. If it can be grown in a pot with soil it can also be grown by using hydroponics with a soilless medium. In your indoor Hydroponic garden you must be the sole creator of all aspects of the plants environment

A plant doesn't require soil to grow. There is no soil in a hydroponics garden, so the plants need to be anchored some how. There are many items which can be used to support plants, these are called soilless mediums. Clay pebbles and Rockwool are the most popular medium. These soilless mediums work best because they are pH neutral and provide plenty of support for plants. They retain moisture, and allow for good air circulation.

pH is one of the most disregarded aspects of gardening, pH is very important in hydroponics gardening. pH is measured on a scale of 1-14 with 7 being "neutral". Anything lower than 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline (bases).

All plants require a certain pH level in order to produce optimum results. The pH level will vary from plant to plant, but in general the majority prefer a slightly acidic level (between 6.0 – 6.5), though most plants can still tolerate an environment with a pH of between 5.0 and 7.5. The preferred method of checking and adjusting pH levels is to use a pH meter. pH adjustments can be made by simply adding a small amount of pH up or pH down solution to your reservoir.

Starting your garden out by planting seeds can be one of the most enjoyable parts of gardening. Seedlings don't require as an intense amount of light as does a more mature plant. You will want to use a florescent light about 2" above the top of your seedlings. Too much intense light and heat will burn them up and kill them. You will need a propagation tray and humidity dome. Use these to keep your medium and seeds in the perfect environment.

The preferred method for growing vegetables, flowers and herbs year round is with HID lighting, it stands for High Intensity Discharge Lighting, which is a special type of lighting that is much more intense than any other grow lights.

Decide what size of light to use
First you need to figure out the square footage of your indoor garden. To do this you will need to measure the space.

Finding the footage of your grow space: (Width x Length = Square Feet).

Example: if you want your indoor garden to be in your closet which is 3'x4', you will find this room to be 12sq. ft. (You will also want the height of your room to be at least 4' above the canopy of your plants.) For most grow operations an 8-10 foot ceiling will work fine. This will allow you to keep your lamp at least a minimum of 18" above the top of your plants. (HID lights get hot and can burn the tops of your plants.)

Next you will need to know how many watts/square foot of light your plants will require. For Example, tomatoes need to attain around 40-50 watts per square foot for optimal growth. You then would take 50 watts x 12sq. ft. = 600 watts. This means that you will need a 600watt light to maintain your plants optimal growth in this particular garden. (Plants wattage needs x Square Feet = HID light requirement.).

There are 6 basic types of hydroponics systems:

  1. Drip
  2. Wick
  3. Ebb and Flow
  4. Water Culture
  5. N.F.T
  6. Aeroponic

A basic Drip system may be the most common of all the hydroponics systems. Drip systems are very easy to use and maintain. An inexpensive submersible pump is used to pump up the nutrient solution onto the soilless medium and onto the plants root system. The nutrient solution then drips back into the reservoir continually repeating this cycle allowing oxygen to be pushed into the solution naturally as it rises and falls. A Drip system can be built as easy as using a new clean 5 gallon bucket, and purchasing a custom made net to hold your medium, and a small submersible pump. The 5 gallon bucket allows for a lot of space for roots to grow.

A premixed nutrient solution is the best way of knowing that your plants get a well balanced diet. There are many brands and types of good hydroponics nutrients on the market. You can be sure that these premixed solutions contain all of the necessary trace elements. Hydroponics nutrient solutions quality is identified by three different numbers such as 15-10-15. These numbers stand for the percentages by weight of the three most primary nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Most plants prefer to be between 55-80 degrees F. with the average tempatures at around 72 degrees F. When the lights are on they are a great source of heat as well as light. If temperatures should become too high, exhaust blowers will work well to reduce the temperature. Exhaust blower fans can be easily linked to a thermostat controller to ensure that your room never reaches the high temperatures that can have a negative effect on plants and growth rates. Intake and exhaust fans are rated by there volume of air movement in cubic feet per minute. You will need to know how many cubic feet your grow room has, to do this you measure the length x width x height of your grow space. For a space 3'x4'x10' you will have 120 cubic feet of air space.

Article provided courtesy of Rory Larkey, webmaster of
http://www.informedabout.com/. For more information about hydroponics: go to http://www.informedabout.com/hydroponics/

Article distributed by http://www.HydroponicSearch.com – The Hydroponics Search Engine & Community Site.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 February 2007 )
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