Growing greenery hydroponically at home
People are often interested in how to provide themselves with fresh, vitamin plants in winter? Growing a variety of greens using hydroponics at home - you will provide your table with vitamins almost all year round. This technology is especially interesting for those plant lovers who do not have a familiar piece of land. This simple and exciting activity will give you the opportunity to save money earmarked for buying greenery, and at the same time enjoy communicating with plants.
What is the hydroponic method of growing greenery
The word hydroponics means that this technology is based on water. With its help, green crops develop not in ordinary soil, but in water of a special composition, which contains all the nutrients necessary for the life of plants. This method of growing allows you to forget about weeds, watering and digging beds, about various pests, who are trying to feast on our plants.
The solution used for growing plants contains all the necessary nutrients, which, in terms of their chemical composition, are the same as those found in the soil in the garden.
Where to start, installation diagram
First of all, you need to purchase the necessary equipment and plastic cups or pots, holes 3-5 cm in diameter are made in their bottom, they are necessary for sowing seeds.
The prepared container is placed in a high pallet, and a compressor from the aquarium is attached to it. It is necessary to saturate the water with air and constantly stir the nutrient mixture so that nutrients do not settle to the bottom, but move between the plant roots. The cups or pots must be installed in the slots of a suitable diameter in the foam sheet.
If this simple installation is assembled correctly, then after a short time you can cut off the first fresh greens.
Briefly, the sequence of growing greens in hydroponics:
- Finding the right one for hydroponics culture;
- Assembling the installation and pour an inert filler into the cups - expanded clay, perlite, etc. (installation diagram is presented below);
- We plant the seeds;
- We select fertilizers for the preparation of a nutritional mixture, taking into account the needs of the selected culture;
- We attach to the installation compressor;
- Complete and seeded pots immersed in a nutrient solution.
The installation is assembled, and the seeds are sown, it remains to control the level of the nutrient solution and cut the greens in time, this will accelerate the development of new leaves. For the rapid development of green crops, it is desirable organize illumination using special phytolamps.
Due to the availability of nutrients, plants can concentrate their energies on development.
These factors make it possible to grow an adult plant in a short time, and since the nutritional composition is optimal, the products receive all the necessary elements that are often unavailable in ordinary soil. Besides, grown herbs are completely safe, after all, in a specially formulated solution there are no parasites, pests and diseases.
How to grow plants hydroponically at home
In addition to the nutrient composition, a special substrate is needed - a structure made of porous material capable of serving as an accumulator of the nutrient composition.
But there are methods for growing plants in hydroponics, which do not require a substrate and an aqueous solution:
- The first way. It consists in the fact that the pots where the plant roots are located are fixed above the nutrient solution so that the root is immersed only to a certain depth, the rest is placed above the water surface. When the liquid evaporates, it is topped up with water to the desired level. This method is ideal for plants that require a lot of oxygen for the roots (with a branched root system).
- Second way. For it, double pots are used, a nutrient solution is poured into one of them, a larger one. The smaller of the pots, filled with substrate, contains the root system of the plants. In the bottom and walls of the smaller pot, holes must be made through which the solution will penetrate. Make sure that the roots of the plant are not completely immersed in the liquid, but only 2/3 of their length.
- Third way. This method is called submersible hydroponics. It is convenient to use when growing greens in large volumes. It is necessary to prepare a large container (bath) and fill it with the nutrient solution. A foam platform floating on the surface is lowered into the solution. Holes are cut in the foam, into which pots with a substrate and greens planted in it are lowered.
This hydroponic system works like this - a compressor aerator is mounted on the bottom of the bath - it is necessary for mixing the solution and saturating it with oxygen. It is necessary to change the nutrient solution periodically, since after 3-4 days the concentration of nutrients in it decreases, and part of the liquid evaporates.
Preparation of the solution
A nutrient solution is essential for any type of plant. Its task is to provide the growing crop with nutrients that are necessary for the formation of the crop. Now there are many different recipes for an aqueous solution for making a home with your own hands.
The easiest option is to purchase a ready-made solution at a flower shop. But remember that each garden and green crop needs its own solution with a certain nutrient content.
For this reason, consult an experienced person before buying! In addition, carefully read the instructions on the packaging, which will allow you to buy exactly the drug that is best suited for your culture.
Seeds must be sown in a pot or on a tray, on a special substrate, for rapid germination, you need to maintain a temperature of 22 degrees and the substrate in a moist state. To make it easier to transplant seedlings into a hydroponic plant in the future, you need to use a substrate that is easily washed off from the root system. A composition containing 25% of the volume of vermiculite and 78% of perlite is well suited for this purpose. This mixture allows you to maintain the moisture required for the seeds.
A substrate made from peat moss works well. You cannot use ordinary soil - it is very difficult to wash it off the roots. After that, you need to wait until the seedling has 2 true leaves. After that, the plant is carefully removed from the substrate. If you feel resistance, then the effort is not worth it, you need to take a simple spoon and carefully pick out the sprout with the substrate. After that, the roots are washed in a bucket or under running water until the substrate is completely removed. Then the seedling is transplanted into a hydroponic plant, making sure that the roots are dipped into the solution.
There are peat moss pellets or compressed coconut fibers on sale.
The hydroponic method of growing greens is a good alternative to the soil method of growing greens. It has many advantages, for example - lack of physical labor, the ability to get a crop in an ordinary apartment, the absence of pests.
How to grow greens hydroponically at home
A rare hostess did not dream of having fresh herbs always at hand. And if indoor flowers are a common occurrence, then dill and lettuce on the windowsill are not so often found in an ordinary apartment. Nevertheless, there are technologies that allow you to easily grow not only beautiful, but also useful plants. This article will focus on hydroponics, a way to grow greens at home.
Fresh greens at any time of the year
Hydroponics is an old, albeit not well-known, method of growing plants without soil. The name itself speaks of the specifics of the method: translated from Greek it means “working solution”.
Did you know? One of the Seven Wonders, the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon is the first known use of hydroponics. When grown hydroponically, the roots of the plant are in a homogeneous solid substrate of organic or artificial origin. The greens draws all the nutrients from the solution, where the container with the substrate is immersed. For each plant species, there is a separate solution with the necessary set of nutrients.
What you need to grow greens
To grow dill and other plants hydroponically, all the components of the technology should be prepared. It consists of two elements.
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The hydroponic plant includes tanks for planting plants and a system for feeding a nutrient solution. There are many types of such installations, adapted for industrial or individual use. Equipment for hydroponic cultivation can be purchased or assembled by hand. If you decide to make the design yourself, you will need a double container # 00, a water tank, a tube, a pump for an aquarium and a timer that will control the entire working system. These details will be enough to establish the cultivation of greenery on the balcony, you will also need to maintain the optimal temperature and lighting.
Did you know? The development of the idea of hydroponics was aeroponics, where the roots of plants are in the air and from time to time are pollinated with a substrate. No water is supplied directly to the roots. If there is no desire or opportunity to assemble a hydroponic plant for growing greenery with your own hands, you can buy it by ordering it online. The principle of operation of factory systems is the same, except that the purchased one will look more compact and easier to use.
Solution and substrate
When the grow setup is ready, all that remains is to take care of the solution and substrate. The potting substrate is used to support the roots. He himself is absolutely sterile, that is, it does not contain any nutrients. It is important that the substrate is not exposed to moisture and chemicals dissolved in the water. The solution is usually purchased from gardening stores. This is a ready-made liquid that contains all the necessary trace elements for the growth and development of a certain type of greenery. Since each plant requires an individual nutrient medium, the composition of the solution for different species will differ.
Getting ready for landing
Before planting, you need to determine the location where the hydroponic plant will be located. As a rule, this is a window sill or a balcony. In addition to nutrition # 00, plants need sufficient lighting and a constant temperature that is comfortable for growth. These factors need to be considered.
Choice of substrate
As mentioned above, substrates are divided into organic and artificial. The main property of any of them is resistance to the constant influence of water and chemical elements. They also should not emit any substances, since the nutrient medium of the plants is strictly calculated in advance. Here are some of the most common substrates:
- expanded clay - these are pieces of clay, sintered under the influence of a temperature of 1200 ° C. It contains no minerals, but expanded clay can lower the pH of the solution. This type of substrate is suitable for reusable use, it is enough just to rinse it from the remains of the solution and clean it from the roots. Before the first use, expanded clay is also washed under running water to avoid the ingress of impurities
mineral wool Is one of the cheapest and most effective hydroponic substrates. However, it also has disadvantages. Working with mineral wool requires caution, as it contains microparticles that are irritating to the skin. It should be feared that this substance gets into the eyes and respiratory tract. It is also a non-biodegradable substrate, and proper disposal of mineral wool can be difficult.
coconut substrate ... It contains coir and ground coconut shell, so it is completely safe for the environment. After use, it can even be poured onto the beds as fertilizer. As a support for plants in hydroponics, it is considered one of the best, because it is able to accumulate minerals and nourish the plant with them for a long time. It also retains water and gives oxygen access to the roots.
vermiculite and perlite. These two substrates are recommended to be used together, as they have complementary properties. Vermiculite makes the soil mixture loose and absorbs a lot of water. Perlite complements it, this volcanic substrate is also excellent at retaining moisture and does not interact with chemical fertilizers.
Important! The substrate must conduct well not only water, but also air. Breathing is necessary for the roots to function.
Typically, hydroponics requires primary seed germination. Seeds are germinated in soil or its analogue # 00, watering with a pre-prepared solution. When one or two true leaves are formed in the seedlings, this means that the root system is already sufficiently developed. Such a plant will transfer planting to the litter without loss. For transplantation, the grown seedling is taken out of the pot along with the ground and the roots are gently washed. Then, holding the plant, cover the straightened root system with a substrate. It is necessary to plant it to such a depth that in the future the roots do not touch the moisture solution and nutrients rise up the pores of the filler in sufficient quantities. Important! Immediately after transplanting, plain water is poured into the solution container. Only after a week is it replaced with a solution when the plant adapts. Some modern hydroponic systems make it possible to do without replanting and sow seeds directly into the plant. But not all equipment manufacturers offer such opportunities.
Preparation of the solution
The solution is prepared according to the manufacturer's recommendations, observing the exact dosage. For growing lettuce and other greens in hydroponics at home, take a concentration of 1.25 above average. The solution consists of a complex fertilizer and calcium nitrate. You can use a medical syringe to accurately dose the fertilizer. The required amount is diluted in 1 liter of water. Calcium nitrate is diluted at 25% for # 00 soft water. These are the two basic elements for a conventional mortar.
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Features of greenery care in hydroponics
The main challenge and concern for hydroponic system owners is maintaining the environment for growth. In addition, the installation itself requires maintenance. Here are the basic requirements:
- the nutrient solution should be completely replaced every three months. This will help to avoid changes in the concentration of minerals under the influence of external factors.
- foreign objects must not be allowed to enter the solution. This also applies to dead plant parts - they need to be removed in a timely manner.
- the optimum water temperature should be maintained # 00. If the unit is placed on a cold windowsill, it is recommended to build a stand or pallet for it.
Hydroponics is a reliable, low-effort, home-growing method of greenery that has proven its worth among hobby gardeners.
1. Green onions
Topping my "hit parade", of course, green onions. Probably, at least once in his life, everyone grew it on the windowsill, even if only in childhood - out of curiosity. This is an ideal plant for a home garden: fast growing, unpretentious, useful.
As planting material you can use both onion sets (large fraction - samples), and ordinary onion-turnip. I tried both options from sevka (or small turnip), the yield, of course, is less - the bulb is depleted faster. But the feather - for my taste - is softer and more tender. In addition, the small onion takes up less space when planting. A large bulb produces more greenery, its feather is usually larger, and it takes longer to harvest.
Small bulbs can also be used as planting material. Photo by the author
If you don't have enough of your own turnip onions to use it for forcing, you can specially buy it in the autumn of samples - in supermarkets and specialized country shops they sell it at the end of the season with good discounts. I would not recommend purchasing such planting material for a turnip, but for distillation - just right.
You can plant onions for distillation in small containers with water or nutrient solution (so that the onion does not fall into the water, but only touches it) or into the ground. I personally like the second option more: the bulbs on the water often begin to rot, exuding a specific aroma with ground ones, I have never had such an incident.
In the soil for planting, I certainly add a hydrogel soaked in a solution of Gumi (this biological product strengthens plants, additionally nourishes them, and increases resistance to diseases). In room conditions, the soil substrate dries out quickly, and the hydrogel prevents the bulbs from suffering from moisture deficiency.
You can find Gumi preparations and hydrogel for planting in our catalog, which combines offers from various garden online stores. View a selection of these products:
To always be with the harvest, it is best to plant an onion regularly - every 10-14 days... Then, by the time the crop is fully harvested from the first "bed", the greens will ripen on the next - and so on until spring.
I use small plastic boxes for planting. I pour expanded clay at the bottom (there are no holes for draining excess moisture in the boxes, so drainage is necessary), on top - soil with hydrogel up to about half of the box. Having slightly compacted the mixture, I plant the bulbs in it close to each other, without burying them in the soil. I water it abundantly - that's all.
A box with green onions. Photo by the author
Since I plant usually already sprouted bulbs, the harvest does not have to wait long. I do not carry out any specific procedures (pruning, soaking, etc.), which are often recommended to be performed when forcing onions on a feather, - I do not see a special need, and there is always not enough time. But if you, friends, have such an experience, and you see the benefits of such processing, be sure to share your opinion in the comments - the recommendations of practitioners are always invaluable!
Hydroponics at home - greens
Did you know that with a one-time effort to create hydroponics, you can grow greens at home all year round? If you grow greens hydroponically in your home only for family needs, then the installation itself will take up very little space. It takes very little money to build a hydroponic plant for growing greenery. And the table greens itself for growth requires only food, heat (room temperature) and a light source.
For many, even experienced gardeners, growing greenery using the hydroponic method is incomprehensible. The question itself arises, how does this greenery grow from the soil, after all, not in water alone? And they also believe that such parsley is inferior to garden parsley in the amount of vitamins and microelements, they say, where do they get it from the water? But in fact, growing greens using the hydroponic method has a number of significant advantages over dill and parsley grown in the garden. If the greens grow from a hydroponic plant, then there is no need to worry about pests and plant diseases. Also, there is no need for hilling and the introduction of minerals into the soil. Regarding the presence of all nutrients in hydroponic greens, vitamins and microminerals will be present in it in the usual volume, if all the rules are followed. Due to the fact that plants will grow in a virtually ideal environment, which simply cannot exist in nature, the greens will turn out to be much juicier and healthier. And you will get the harvest earlier and in greater volume. Greens grown in this way will not contain harmful substances, because they usually enter the plant from the soil. And in this case, the plant will contain only those compounds that you introduced yourself. Now let's find out a little more about the very technology of growing vegetable garden greens in hydroponics.
In fact, the roots of the plant are not only in the water in the hydroponic plant. For active growth of the root system, it is necessary to introduce an artificial substrate into the chamber with water. They can serve as vermiculite, expanded clay of the smallest fraction, coarse washed sand or even mineral wool. For normal growth and nutrition of plants, it is necessary to add a nutrient mixture to the water, which is usually made from water-soluble mineral and organic fertilizers. We will not offer you expensive hydroponic installations. A simple device is enough to satisfy your gastronomic needs. The key point in this process is the circulation of water. To provide it, we need a small pump, two pieces of plastic tubing and two containers. From the first, liquid will be constantly pumped into the second container, which is higher. And so that the water does not overflow, we offer a very simple solution. We bend one end of the pipe with the letter U so that the arc does not reach five centimeters to the edges of the upper container. One of the ends should be longer and go down into the lower container, and the other must be placed at the very bottom of the container. The water is drained here according to the siphon principle. As soon as the water level in the upper tank reaches the arc of the tube, the air lock will be squeezed out of the U and the liquid will drain downward. The pump will then pump the upper reservoir again and the process will repeat. Moreover, the liquid will drain much faster than pumped in. We recommend pouring a mixture of mineral wool and vermiculite into the upper container. And in it already directly plant the plants.
In such a simple way, you can provide your family with fresh herbs throughout the year!
A variety of plants can be grown hydroponically, including onions and strawberries.
Lighting greenery at home
Lighting for greenery can be either natural (in summer it is likely that there will be enough lighting on the windowsill or balcony), or artificial. You don't need a lot of light to grow greenery. Fluorescent phytolamps, ECL with a blue spectrum or LED will be an excellent choice. For the operation of fluorescent and ECL lamps, you need a lamp, but the LED design is already a lamp in itself. Lighting mode: daylight hours should be 12-16 hours a day, and at the stage of seed germination - 24 hours a day.
Today, many manufacturers of hydroponic equipment compete with each other, positioning one or another installation with different configurations and different levels of automation of the solution supply. We will limit ourselves to the offer make such a device yourself.
This will require two containers., the smaller of which serves as a pot, subsequently filled with a substrate. To ensure unimpeded access of water and air, the walls and bottom of this container are additionally processed: with a hot nail, a knitting needle or even a drill, many small holes are made in them. A plant is directly planted in it.
The nutrient solution is poured into a larger container. Requirements for the qualities of the outer container are as follows:
- its walls should be opaque
- the material from which it is made is chemically inert, that is, it does not react with fillers: solution and substrate.
The pot with the substrate should be immersed in the solution by 1-2 cm. It is impossible to completely place the roots in the solution, only 2/3 of the length. This will ensure sufficient wetting of the roots of the plant, but will prevent rotting.
Install the smaller container so that the distance to the bottom of the larger one is 5-7 cm. An aquarium air compressor is placed on the bottom of the outer container, which provides aeration of the medium and roots.
By the same principle, they arrange a kind of bed, for example, for growing lettuce. In this case, you will need:
- bulky plastic rectangular opaque container
- a sheet of plastic or foam with holes for the cups where the seeds are planted. The best options are small-mesh cassettes with already perforated walls.
- an air compressor and, if necessary, an aquarium spray stone (if the container is large). High-quality oxygenation of the roots is extremely important, its lack will have a detrimental effect on the plant. To avoid this, an aquarium spray is used, which provides stable air access to each plant.
Caring for green onions hydroponically is not particularly difficult and includes:
- Regular hydration of the root system. The hydroponic plant for growing onions on a feather provides two methods of irrigation - regular flooding, in which the root system is dipped into the nutrient mixture for a certain time, and drip irrigation, which provides for uniform moisture of the substrate.
- Aeration. During the entire growing season, onion roots are saturated with oxygen every day. When using industrial hydroponic plants, this procedure is performed automatically. At home, you can use an aquarium compressor to aerate the roots.
At the stage of full maturity, the length of the feather is 25-30 cm