How to start a hydroponic garden
While there are some who profess that hydroponic gardening is the future of farming, if you want to see what it’s all about, you don’t need to wait for the future to arrive. In-home hydroponic gardening systems are available now. These systems allow you to grow food indoors without soil.
Hydroponic garden systems should include everything you need to get started. We like AeroGarden Bounty Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden for its ease of use and variety of included herbs. If you’d like to learn more about hydroponic gardening and the systems used in the process, keep reading.
What to know before you buy a hydroponic garden system
What is hydroponic gardening?
In order to grow, a plant needs moisture, air, sunlight, proper temperature and nutrients. It doesn’t need soil. As a matter of fact, soil can actually inhibit plant growth, because it makes it harder for plants to get air and nourishment. Hydroponic gardening is a soilless system for growing plants that allows you to have an indoor garden all year round.
How much room you need for a hydroponic garden
One of the best parts about purchasing a hydroponic garden system is it doesn’t take up a lot of space. While it’s definitely possible to have a greenhouse environment with rows of plants, compact hydroponic systems fit on a countertop and are less than two feet long.
What can be grown in a hydroponic garden
Believe it or not, virtually anything that can be grown in soil can be grown in a hydroponic garden, though that’s not to say it will be easy. Garden vegetables that grow above the soil and don’t require an extensive root system for support are the best. However, if you’re determined, it’s possible to grow items such as pumpkins and eggplants in a hydroponic garden. There are even people who grow root vegetables in hydroponic gardens, but these are not the best crops for beginners.
What to look for in a quality hydroponic garden system
Hydroponic gardens are available in a variety of designs. You can have a small, countertop system for herbs and leafy green vegetables, a bucket system for larger plants that will need to be grown on the floor, or anything in between. The type of plants you want to grow and the amount of space you have available dictate the type of design that works best for your situation.
All plants need light. If your hydroponic garden is indoors, it will need to be located near a window to provide adequate light. If this isn’t possible, you need to purchase either a hydroponic garden system that includes a grow light or purchase a grow light separately.
If you overwater a plant, it can’t get the oxygen it needs to breathe. For this reason, it’s essential to have a quality aeration system in your hydroponic garden. This system consists of a pump, tubing and an air stone, which releases tiny bubbles into the water. This not only oxygenates the water, it also circulates the nutrients in the water so they don’t settle to the bottom. If noise is a factor, check the decibel rating of the pump to make sure it’s not too loud for your home environment.
Not all hydroponic gardens include nutrients. If the one you’re considering does, it makes starting out a little easier; if it doesn’t, you need to purchase that item separately. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
While hydroponic gardening gives a plant’s roots everything they need in a much more direct and efficient manner, roots also serve to stabilize a plant. Because of this, it’s necessary to have some type of grow medium, such as clay pebbles or rock wool, in your hydroponic garden.
How much you can expect to spend on a hydroponic garden system
If you’re interested in starting out with a more affordable option, you can purchase a small hydroponic garden system for less than $50. For the best-looking, most advanced and compact systems, you may spend $300 or more.
Hydroponic garden system FAQ
Do hydroponic garden systems come with seeds or plants?
A. While high-end hydroponic gardening systems include everything you need to grow plants, not all systems actually include plants. When purchasing a hydroponic system, read the description to learn exactly what’s included so you aren’t disappointed when it arrives.
How often do I need to change the water in my hydroponic system?
A. One of the most important aspects of hydroponic gardening is making sure you have clean, pH-balanced water. While the frequency varies from system to system, in general, you should be changing the water every two weeks.
This is my first attempt at a hydroponic garden. What should I grow?
A. Ultimately, you want to grow food you enjoy eating. However, if you’re just starting out, leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach are among the easiest to grow. Additionally, herbs such as dill, mint and basil are good confidence-building crops.
What’s the best hydroponic garden system to buy?
Top hydroponic garden system
What you need to know: This is an attractive, easy-to-operate option that allows you to grow an entire herb garden on your countertop.
What you’ll love: The set has everything you need, including seeds for eight different herbs, plant food, a trellis and a light. This unit is WiFi-enabled and Alexa compatible.
What you should consider: This model is best for the serious individual who is ready to spend a little more on a hydroponic garden.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top hydroponic garden system for the money
What you need to know: If you’re a beginner, this smaller countertop option is an affordable way to enter the world of hydroponic gardening.
What you’ll love: While the seeds are not included, this affordable, compact and comprehensive kit provides all the tools you need to grow a small indoor garden. The system comes with a money-back, hassle-free guarantee.
What you should consider: The instructions are closer to diagrams and can be difficult to interpret.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A good option for the mildly curious gardener who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.
What you’ll love: This deep water system is easy to use and it produces impressive results. The bucket drain and visible water level indicator are convenient features.
What you should consider: This system has less aesthetic appeal than other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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