A hydroponic vegetable garden means it is grown from a water-based solution instead of soil. One of the reasons why most people choose to invest in hydroponic gardening is that in liquid, nutrients are easier to be absorbed by the plant roots compared to regular soil. Hydroponics is quite difficult to setup but because of its many advantages, it is becoming a bit popular among gardeners.
Pros of Hydroponic Vegetable Gardens.
Many people and gardeners agree that hydroponics dramatically increases the mature rate of your plants and help you to produce even more crops compared to if you chose to plant in soil with the same plants. Hydroponics also gives plants a healthier boost and your crops might be bigger than those planted in soil. This is because the nutrients they get from the water solution are direct and the roots don’t have to work too hard to get or convert them into liquid.
Because hydroponic systems are set up in enclosed environments, you don’t have to worry about evaporation – therefore, it actually saves you more water compared to a traditional soil-watering system. This, in turn, is also beneficial to the environment due to less soil runoff and waste reduction.
Cons of Hydroponic Vegetable Gardens.
The cost of building and operation of a hydroponic vegetable garden is not for the common folk because it’s pricier than the normal soil-watering system. Also, because you have to monitor things like nutrient and pH levels of the water, it’s kind of daunting task for inexperienced gardeners and growers or for those who are too busy with their day jobs.
Also, if you are not too familiar with the mechanics of a hydroponic system’s machinery, it can take its toll on your plants especially if there is a pump failure.
Hydroponic System Setups.
There really isn’t just one type of hydroponic garden system – there are a lot of them, depending on your needs and the technology, space or resources available.
Aeroponics – Just as the name says, aeroponics makes use of plants hanging in the air while being sprayed with a solution from the machine, keeping the moisture constant and even. The AeroGarden is a great example of a gardening system that uses aeroponics.
DWC – Deepwater Culture or DWC is the easiest so far of all the hydroponic methods. The roots are simply soaked onto the nutrient solution and it works like an aquarium pumping the nutrients to the roots. Just make sure that light doesn’t get onto your system to prevent algae from growing and ruining your vegetable garden. DWC is also a no-drip system.
Wicking – This is perhaps a system of hydroponics that you have already seen somewhere. It makes use of wicks that transfer the nutrients from the reservoir to the growing medium and transfers it to the roots of the plant. Alternatively, the wick material may also be excluded and prepare a medium, such as vermiculite or perlite, that can easily transfer nutrients to the plant roots.
Drip System – In this hydroponic system, the nutrient solution is slowly fed to the medium. The medium must be a slow-draining one, such as peat moss, coconut coir or Rockwool. The only disadvantage to the drip system is the clogging, so most hydroponic growers don’t use this method.
NFT – Nutrient Film Technique is a system setup that makes use of gravitational force to let the nutrient solution flow to the roots of the plants.
Ebb and Flow – In this system, it temporarily floods the plant area with the nutrient solution then goes back to the water reservoir. This process is automated and ensures constant nutrient cycle to the plants, especially for plants that quickly dry.