Hydroponic Gardens: Go-to Guide
At Ellington Properties, we create beautiful homes that do not compromise on space and functionality. Our apartments come with balconies and have become an integral part of our design and development. Making them spacious was key to help in providing residents with spaces to move and breathe. Our townhouses and villas include big terraces that suit different activities, such as hydroponic gardening, gathering and even BBQ.
Many people who live in apartments struggle with growing plants in their balconies because of the mess and the bugs. However, you don’t need soil, you can use a hydroponic garden.
WHAT IS A HYDROPONIC GARDEN?
A hydroponic garden allows you to grow herbs, vegetables, and greens without the need for soil, by using nutrient-rich water to sustain the plants. With this smaller water-based system, you will be able to focus all your resources on growing your plants and less on problems of upkeep, such as pest and weed control.
Hydroponic gardens are easy for new gardeners and are a fun DIY project. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you’ll enjoy this fascinating variety in this clean growing medium of cultivating plants.
HOW IT WORKS
The nutrient solution is poured into the water. The plants are given artificial support because there is no soil; by putting them in growing media and net containers. The nutrient solution is then distributed to the plant’s roots directly, which can be accomplished by different methods, such as a pump or dripper.
There are many benefits to choosing a hydroponic system in an apartment, rather than a soil based garden. Firstly, they do not require much space, which is convenient for residents with tighter apartments and spaces. Secondly, they reduce the risk of pests and thus, eliminates the need for pesticides. Lastly, but most importantly, they need less water, which makes them not only efficient, but also eco-friendly.
HOW TO BUILD A HYDROPONIC GARDEN
1- Choosing the type of Hydroponic System
The first step in the process of building a hydroponic system, is choosing the type. There are six different types, which are: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Wick System, Ebb and Flow, Drip, N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technology), and Aeroponic systems. One of the simplest types of hydroponic systems is DWC, where the roots are suspended in a nutrient solution. However, a pump and channel are used by the nutrient film technique (NFT) to deliver a thin, steady stream of nutrient solution to the roots. This type of hydroponic system is more complex and requires more maintenance.
2- Choose the plants you want to grow
For hydroponic gardening, herbs work well because they are smaller and because when cooking, it is good to have fresh herbs nearby. For hydroponic gardens, lightweight, small-root plants such as loose-leaf lettuce, spinach, and kale are a good option.
You can grow larger plants like tomatoes, strawberries, and celery in a hydroponic garden, depending on the scale and robustness of your growing area. However, root vegetables are not a good match, such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.
3- Get the necessary materials
There are several places you can purchase your materials from, such as gardening shops, ACE hardware, Greener Crop, Beyond Hydroponics, H2O Hydroponics and more. If you’re not looking for something that you will have to personally build, you can purchase readymade systems online, as well as browse different options and designs.
As for building systems from scratch, you would need to get the appropriate materials and products, based on the type of hydroponic garden you’ve chosen to create. For example, the essentials for a Deep Water Culture (DWC) system are: a storage container or bucket, net pots, an air pump with air stone, hard water liquid nutrients (a & b), pH meter, pH down, measuring beaker, pipettes, hole saw, and a drill.
Depending on what system you need, you will have to purchase additional materials. For example, if you wanted to build a more complicated system like the nutrient film technique (NFT), you will need to have a water pump for your nutrients and a PVC pipe.
4- Maintain your Hydroponic Garden
Just like normal plants, ones grown in a Hydroponic Garden require maintenance to grow. Check your parts to make sure they’re secure, while periodically changing your nutrients.
Another vital part of a hydroponic system’s growth is maintaining pH levels, which should be slightly acidic. The way to do that is by adding the pH down, and using filtered water, not just tap.