What is Hydroponics?

What exactly is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is an umbrella term that can be used to describe different types of soilless growing. With hydro meaning water, some consider hydroponics only to be growing plants directly in water but in actuality there are several different types and styles of hydroponics. All of which include a soilless setup and a nutrient solution added to water and administered directly to the plants.
Essentially hydroponics just means that in these types of setups plants directly absorb nutrients through water instead of soil. A sturdy medium such as coco coir or perlite can still be used to support the roots, and promote filtration of water and oxygen throughout.
How is it done?
As mentioned, there are a multitude of ways you could create a hydroponic system to be able to grow different plants, or vegetables indoors and in small spaces. One popular method is deep water culture, in which plants are grown directly in a reservoir of water with a consistent supply of nutrients & oxygen being fed to the roots.
The key to growing plants in a hydroponic environment is all about the access to water & a nutrient solution. The root of your plant is meant to come in direct contact with the nutrients in order to optimally take them in. Hydroponics can be done with or without a growing medium (as mentioned above!) depending on how you choose to set up your garden.
Another key element to consider is access to light. This can be done either naturally or artificially with the use of LED lights designed for growing, but the plants must receive an ample amount to ensure proper absorption of the nutrients they are receiving. It’s also worth noting that monitoring and maintaining ideal pH levels is important when growing in a hydroponic environment, as that also affects the plant’s ability to take in nutrients.
What are some of the benefits & disadvantages?
There are a number of great benefits to this type of greenhouse setup, whether you’re looking for something small in your house or for a more industrial alternative for ample growing. Hydroponics allows you to grow fresh plants and produce anywhere, even in climates that aren’t ideal. There are lots of things that can be done to make the most out of limited space, for example you can create an indoor grow room in your home if you don’t have a backyard.
Hydroponic systems are also great because you are able to control everything within the environment, including the pH and the temperature so you can ensure growing conditions are consistently perfect.
Creating these ideal conditions, and improved access to nutrients allow your plants to grow faster and create more fruitful harvests. You also are less likely to deal with unwanted elements such as pests and weeds, since your plants are in an isolated environment.
As with anything, there are a few downsides to consider before planning your new hobby (although the positives definitely outweigh them if you ask us!). Getting started in hydroponics does require some type of upfront investment to get you going, both in time and finances. The nice thing though is that you can make your system as complex or simple as your budget allows, and as you develop the hobby you can continue to invest in necessary tools after the initial purchase.
You’ll also need to be mindful of the additional water and hydro costs, especially if you have a larger setup with multiple plants and accessories like LED lights and fans. Also, if you do experience some type of pest or weeds have been introduced, it’s easy for it to spread quickly due to containment.
What can you grow with hydroponics?
There are a number of different plant types that do well in a hydroponic environment. One of the more well known, and more popular due to recent legalization is cannabis! Cannabis plants thrive with the use of hydroponic nutrients, and in manufactured conditions with ample light and warm airflow.
Other easy to grow plants are leafy greens, such as lettuce and kale, along with a multitude of herbs like basil and parsley. Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and green beans have been well loved by hydroponic growers for years. There are also a few fruits such as strawberries that do really well.
Not all plants, flowers and crops are successful with hydroponics, mostly due to space limitations and the way the plants grow. Some also require pollination, which isn’t possible in an indoor setup. It’s best to thoroughly research your plant of choice before growing it, or try a small test sample.
How do you get started?
This is where we come in! Initially, you’ll need to decide what you want to grow, and what type of hydroponic setup would work best for you and your environment. You’ll need a designated space in your home (or wherever you’re choosing to setup your grow) that is well ventilated, and it isn’t too dry or too damp. If you’re using natural light it obviously has to be well lit, or if using artificial light you need access to an outlet.
It’s recommended that you invest in a few basic tools and items to get you started. These can include an artificial light (if going that route), pH meter, some type of reservoir or grow pot for the plants to grow in, a nutrient based solution, and obviously some type of seed or clipping to grow from.
We are more than happy to work with you to help establish a hydroponic setup that works for you and get you started growing. We also have many great grow tent packages available, which are an all in one hydroponic kit containing what you need to get started.
Please feel free to reach out to us at info@treeoflifecannabis.caor (905) 509-8420 with any questions, or support when ordering any of the items mentioned. Visit treeoflifecannabis.ca to view our full selection of hydroponic supplies for cannabis plants, and beyond!