If you live in an apartment in the city, chances are that you don’t have a lot of outdoor space beyond a balcony. For individuals that love gardening and plants, living in an apartment can be tough. There are a number of tips out there to help you get started with indoor gardening, but you might only have room for a few pots on your balcony. Plus, there’s no guarantee that they’ll get enough sunlight.
Luckily, there is a solution. More and more apartment dwellers are starting indoor hydroponic gardens.
What are hydroponic gardens?
Hydroponic gardening is a form of soilless growing. Rather than growing in traditional soil beds or containers, plants grow in a nutrient-rich solution.
There are a number of systems you can use to start a hydroponic garden. As long as you’re getting nutrients and water to the roots of your plants, you can use whatever system works best for you.
Almost every hydroponic system can be placed inside. Some of the systems even stack vertically, which means you can tuck them away in a closet!
You might be wondering if you should buy a system or build your own. If you’re a beginner, buying a system is recommended so that you can gain a better understanding of hydroponics. If you really want to build your own, you’ll want to do research from multiple sources. Building your own system can be very rewarding, but also very frustrating.
Popular systems include (but are not limited to):
This is one of the easiest methods. Plants are suspended in a reservoir so that their roots can reach the nutrient solution. An air pump will oxygenate the solution.
The roots of the plant remained exposed so that the nutrient solution can be misted onto them.
A drip system provides a slow feed of nutrients to the plants. This is an efficient way to grow plants, but some drip systems tend to clog.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits that come with a hydroponic garden.
– You can grow a garden anywhere
– You can grow all year long (if your garden is inside)
– You do not have to use soil
– There are nutrient solutions that allow you to have complete control over how many nutrients your plants receive
– Plants tend to grow 30-50% faster because their roots have direct access to nutrients
– You’ll experience fewer problems with infestations and diseases
– Gardening is a healthy hobby that helps you feel good
What type of plants can I grow?
You can grow almost any type of plant! There is a large variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs you can grow hydroponically. Fungi, however, do not grow well.
You can grow almost any type of indoor or outdoor flower. Peace lilies, hoya, flowering jasmine vines, and any flower popular within the florist trade are a great starting point.
There are a number of vegetables that do extremely well in hydroponic gardens. Beans, lettuce, beets, broccoli, spinach, and cabbage are among them. Vegetables that grow underneath soil can also be grown hydroponically but might need more care. Corn, zucchini, squash, and vining plants are best to avoid because they need a lot of room. It is possible to grow them if you really want to, but they’ll dominate your system.
Almost every type of herb can be grown hydroponically. Common choices include basil, catnip, cannabis, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
What equipment do I need?
Aside from whatever system you opt to use, the essentials that you need to start gardening include:
Grow lights stimulate photosynthesis so that your plants can grow indoors. You can find quality grow lights at Growace!
Nutrient solutions contain the elements that the plant would normally get from the soil. They usually come in a liquid or powdered form and can be purchased at a hydroponic supply store.
This is the medium that your plants will grow in. The best way to explore options for a medium is to talk to a hydroponic retailer. They will ask you questions about what system you’re planning on using and point you in the direction of the best medium.
Common mediums include Hydrocorn, Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, and sand.
pH test kit
You’ll need to regularly check the pH balance of your nutrient solution to make sure your garden is healthy.
Pump and timer
While these are typically included in a system kit if you buy one from a retailer, you’ll want to double check that you have them. A pump delivers the nutrient solution to your plants and the timer regulates how often your plants are watered.