There’s nothing quite like watching a small seedling turn into a thriving plant, and eventually a nutritious vegetable that ends up on your plate.
But maybe you have not-so-green-fingers and everything you plant faces a grim end. Or perhaps you don’t have a garden or space to plant the vegetable garden you’ve always dreamed of.
Creating an indoor hydroponic garden is the answer to all your gardening woes. It’s simple, requires very little maintenance and you don’t need outside space or even plenty of inside space.
Pretty incredible, right? If this sounds like a whole lot of fun (which it is), keep reading to find out how to get started with hydroponic gardening.
The Best Plants for Indoor Gardening
Growing plants and fresh vegetables without soil is pretty amazing. However, the only drawback is that you can’t grow every type of plant just using water. It’s best to a void vining plants such as squash and bushy plants that require a lot of space.
Go for plants that have a shallow root system and high reproduction rate.
Here are some of the best plants for a flourishing hydroponic garden:
- Lettuce – the best plants for beginners it requires little maintenance
- Strawberries – these can be grown in any season and work great in an ebb and flow system
- Spinach – a fantastic benefit of this plant is that it uses little water
- Bell Peppers – deep water culture and ebb and flow systems will give you crispy, fresh peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes – start with cuttings as these grow better, but a great choice to diversify your garden
- Herbs – the perfect starter option, choose your favorite herbs and get growing
There are tons more plants and veggies that work well in hydroponics, and once you become an expert you can try to cultivate anything and everything!
Gear to Get You Indoor Hydroponic Garden Started
As hydroponic gardens use water, you’ll need to find something to hold the water. A good beginner container is a black storage bin, around 10 gallons big. You want to ensure it has no holes and if it does then fill them up with 100% silicone caulking.
Next, you need a pump that sits beside the bin, pumping air into the water through tubing and air stones in order to aerate the roots. Of course, the pump will only come in when you use methods such as the ‘ebb and flow’ system.
You’ll need a medium to grow your plants in – these can be air stones, expanded clay pebbles, rock wool cubes, or grow stones. Pop it in a netted pot or a black tubing around a quarter-inch thick.
Air stones work very well to oxygenate the water through tiny little bubbles. This boosts root growth and also works to prevent algae and bacteria.
Artificial light is the most essential part of your hydroponic garden. You may need to shell out a bit of money but it is well worth the expense when you see your plants flourish and you eat fresh vegetables from your garden. Ensure that you get strong enough lights to support full-grown plants.
Nutrients and pH are Important
It’s vital to add nutrients to your water as plants would usually soak up nutrients from the soil. There are many products and liquid organic fertilizer options available online that are specifically for hydroponic gardens.
For plants to thrive the water pH level should be between 5.7 to 6.3. Usually, tap water sits around a level of 7.0. You’ll need to check the pH levels and likely acidify the water.
In general, using filtered water is much better as tap water contains fluoride and other minerals that plants aren’t fond of.
For a flourishing garden, make sure to clean and refill your water reservoir every two weeks, adding nutrients each time.
Different Methods of Hydroponic Indoor Gardening
There are simple methods of hydroponics and more complex systems. It all depends on how much effort you’d like to put into creating the garden and what plants you want to grow.
Buying a Smart Garden
Of course, the quickest and easiest way to get growing is to simply buy a ready-made set up. You can have a look at Grobo for some inspiration, such as their new indoor smart garden.
It’s a simple and easy to use setup that is compact and functional. It comes with everything you need, so the only thing to do is pick your seeds.
Generally, these small indoor gardens are best for growing herbs and microgreens. But once you’ve mastered it, you can try your hand with lettuce and tomatoes, too.
The Wick System for Beginners
This is the simplest DIY method but is a little limiting in the plants that can grow in this environment. This system works best for peppers, herbs, and microgreens. Use this system to get started learning about hydroponic gardening. Once you’ve mastered it, you can move onto more complex systems and a wider range of plants.
You won’t need a pump for this system but you will need a ‘wick’ – cotton or nylon cord.
You simply need to set up your nutrient-rich water reservoir beneath the tray that your plants and growing medium sit on. Drill holes into the tray (if it doesn’t already have some), so that you can connect two wicks to feed into the bottom of the growing tray. These will hang down into your reservoir, soaking water and feeding it to your plants.
For this system, it’s best to use a growing medium that doesn’t drain quickly such as vermiculite or perlite.
You can either use natural light or artificial light. If you’re using artificial light, be sure to set it 24 inches away from the plants if it is an incandescent bulb as these bulbs generate a lot of heat. If you use LED or fluorescent lights they can be placed 6 to 12 inches above the plants.
Start Planning Your Hydroponic Garden
Whether you choose to make your own indoor hydroponic garden or buy one, you can have your seeds planted and growing by tomorrow! Think about the veggies you’d like to grow and start out with a simple wick system to begin learning the basics of hydroponics.
Before you go, check out our site for more awesome tips and tricks to add color to your life and home!
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