If you want to start your own hydroponic farm, you have come to the right place. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to hydroponic farming with some advice from the folks at UK-based hydroponics supplier Progrow. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to get started with your hydroponic farm.
The Basics of Hydroponic Farming
At the most basic level, hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, plants are placed in nutrient-rich water where they receive essential nutrients such as carbon dioxide and oxygen by using specialized equipment. A range of different techniques can be used to grow plants with hydroponics – some more complex than others.
If you want to start a hydroponic farm, the first thing you’ll need is a good quality growing medium. This can be either Rockwool or clay pellets, depending on what type of system you decide to build. Rockwool provides more oxygen for the roots and is better suited for a nutrient film technique (NFT) system. Clay pellets, meanwhile, help to hold the roots in place and are better suited for an ebb-and-flow system.
Choosing Your System
You’ll need a hydroponic system to grow your plants with, whether it’s ebb-and-flow or NFT. Both systems work well in hydroponics, so choose whichever design you’re drawn to. This basic hydroponic system includes a container, support stand, and flood tray (or pump and tubing). If you wish, other required items like growing chambers and fans can be added to the basic system.
Choosing Your Crops
Next, choose your crops carefully – some plants will grow better indoors than others. For example, tomatoes and cucumbers can be grown hydroponically, while fruit such as strawberries and raspberries will also do well. An ebb-and-flow system is the best choice for leafy greens like lettuce and basil, while root vegetables like carrots and potatoes will grow more easily in an NFT system.
Making Your Hydroponic Farm Run
Before you get started, make sure your plants are healthy and disease-free. Then, invest in some high-quality nutrients, which will help keep them strong and prevent diseases like root rot. Start with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) before adding calcium into the mix.
Next, organize your hydroponic farm, so it’s convenient to use. Make sure growing chambers are easy to access, and flood trays don’t take too long to fill up. Connect a pump or tubing system to flood trays, which will help oxygenate the water as it enters the chamber.
Mistakes to Avoid
When you first start, it can be easy to make mistakes. The most common mistakes include not enough or too much water flow, incorrect pH levels, and insufficient nutrient delivery. Use a hydroponic solution that’s been optimized for plants, along with an accurate meter, so you know what your pH level is at all times.
Another mistake can occur when you’re germinating seeds in a growing chamber. Seeds need a certain degree of heat, humidity, and darkness to sprout successfully – if they get too much or too little of these things, the seedlings won’t develop properly.
Final Thoughts on Hydroponics
Before you get started, it’s important to understand that hydroponics is a science – and like all sciences, experiments don’t always go as planned. Even the best hydroponic farmers can lose their crops due to diseases or other problems, but with the right equipment and techniques, you’ll be well on your way to a successful hydroponic farm.