Hydroponic Gardening Kits And Supplies – Where To Start

March 18, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Thinking of hydroponics kits as of something too difficult some people are reluctant to try it. As a matter of fact, it is not always true. With hydroponics everything actually depends on the gardener. He is the master, who can make the process either as simple or as complicated as he wants. A beginner can succeed in it, or an experienced gardener can be faced with serious difficulties. The clue is in the system, either built or bought by the gardener. Anyway, there is no the least reason to hesitate. And the final result is really a worthy tribute.

Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil, using a hydroponic nutrient solution instead.

Though there are various methods to hydroponics, we will discuss the easiest and the most frequently used ones. The key elements of hydroponics are given below.

SYSTEM TYPES

Depending on the way of delivering nutrient solution to the plants roots passive and active systems types are defined in the hydroponics.

Passive systems are the simplest and, therefore, recommended for the beginners. This type implies that the nutrient solution gets to the plant through a wick or through the growing medium (rocks, gravel, vermiculite, etc.). This easy method has, however, a weak-point: the solution cannot circulate, which requires additional care and attendance of the gardener.

Wick System is a vivid example of a passive system.

Active systems suggest the circulation of the nutrient solution with the help of the pumping equipment. Being pumped into the system, the solution nourishes the roots and then drains down back into the reservoirs due to the gravity, and it is later reused. Such systems may need more efforts to initiate their work, but they do not require significant maintenance.

Ebb and Flow, Aeroponics, Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and Top Feed belong to the active systems.

NUTRIENT SOLUTIONS

Nutrient solution is another vitally important element of hydroponics. The first thing to do here is to take as much tap water as required by the type of your system. To get rid of chlorine just let the water stay in the buckets for 24 hours.

The next step you should take is to dissolve nutrients in the water. They come either in liquid or in powdered forms, the latter one being usually less expensive. Different mixes of the nutrients are always available online or in the garden supply stores. It is recommended to strictly follow the instructions not to exceed the amount of the nutrient needed.

Prior to using nutrient solution be sure to check its pH level, which can be neutral (7), acidic (0-6), or alkaline (8-14). pH level depends on many things as the chemical composition of the water in your tap, its temperature, light, etc. The optimal pH for the majority of plants is about 5,5- 6,5. To check it you can use testing kits available in the majority of garden shops or with the help of the electrical tester.

Relying on the testing done you may need to adjust pH of the solution. To do it you can use pH adjusters, some of which lower pH level, while others increase it. On the other hand, some gardeners prefer to use baking soda (one tablespoon per three gallons of the solution) to lower pH level of too acidic mixture, or white vinegar if it is too alkaline (one tablespoon per four gallons). Though this process needs some practice to be successful, it is still an effective alternative way of adjusting solutions, which works well for many gardeners.

LIGHT

To achieve proper growth rates plants require sufficient lighting. Natural sunlight is ideal, but not always possible to get in the necessary amount; thus, artificial lighting is a common practice in hydroponics. Grow lights or artificial horticultural lights are usually present in almost any hydroponic system. However, they can be quite pricy, so it is better to shop around before making the final decision which one to purchase.

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