Building an effective indoor farming technique at home
Ever wondered to grow herbs and simple vegetables at home but were not able to accomplish owing to the lack of space? Then farming with the help of hydroponics is the ultimate answer to quest our gardening thirst and to meet the ever-growing demand for fresh herbs and vegetables.
It is the art and the science of soilless gardening. It is the technique of growing healthy plants without the use of the traditional soil medium. Instead, it makes use of a mineral-rich water solution. It is based on the technique of offering the most important things for plant growth, such as water, sunlight and some nutrients. Through this method, it is found that the plants not just grow without soil, but they grow a lot better when their roots are in the nutrient medium instead.
Benefits of hydroponics system :
The technique of growing plants in a nutrient medium is becoming a popular choice among many agriculture enthusiasts as it is a sustainable approach for resource utilization compared with usual methods of growing. Its inherent benefits are,
- It supplies a constant flow of readily available nutrition to plants enabling it to grow 50% faster than in soil medium
- It is possible to harvest fresh produce from the hydroponic garden all through the year.
- The system is excellent for both the environment and the agriculture yield.
- Hydroponic gardening eliminates the need for pesticides and herbicides compared with traditional soil gardening.
- Indoor farming at home demands very less water and any water that is used in this hydroponic gardening system can be reused. The need for fresh water supply is therefore nil.
- Hydroponic farming is an excellent option for those who do not have sufficient arable land for farming. It is possible to grow plants hydroponically in a tiny balcony as well.
There are certain requirements for this specialized indoor gardening technique as it differs from traditional farming on the soil. The most important of them is the Nutrient solution
It is possible to make use of ready to use store-bought solution for hydroponic systems. The individual can also prepare their own special solutions depending on the requirement of chemical elements of that particular plant they want to grow. The primary nutrients that are essential for plant growth are nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, the secondary nutrients are Sulphur, calcium, and phosphorus. Micronutrients such as copper, iron, manganese, and zinc are required for the nutrition medium as well. The nutrition solution should be stored in a food grade container at room temperature and away from direct light. The solution should be mixed well before using. The plants will indicate if they are receiving too less or too much nutrition. If they are fed less, their leaves will appear yellow, and if they are fed more, the leaves will look curled or burnt.
Choosing the right type of plants to grow hydroponically:
It is possible to grow anything hydroponically and some plants thrive more in the system than others. Therefore, it is important to choose plants that adapt to the moisture and does not grow big and outnumber its set up. The plants that are best to grow hydroponically are tomato, lettuce, capsicum, leafy greens, cucumber, etc. Also, the hydroponic system should be set up depending on the size and sturdiness of the plants and the extent of their root development.
Plants with shallow roots do well in culture solutions such as green leafy vegetables. On the other hand, plants with deep roots such as heavy vegetables, beets, and cucumbers grow better on growth mediums such as sponges, foam, peat moss, coconut husk, etc.
Plants that flower and fruit need sunlight exposure whereas greens grown under the inexpensive fluorescent lights when placed above them.
Building the homemade hydroponics system:
Hydroponic farming methods are becoming extensively popular and the system of growing plants this way is readily available online and in stores. It is also possible to build a homemade hydroponic system in the following ways.
- Hydroponic raft:
The simple hydroponic raft is ideal for beginners and to grow simple plants. It is easy to build, does not cost much and will yield vegetables quickly than conventional gardening methods. Find a container that can act as a reservoir such as the fish tank or bucket. It should be painted black to avoid light to enter, as it promotes the growth of algae. Fill it water along with the nutrient medium, top the reservoir with a Styrofoam with specific spaces for growing small plants. Use an air pump to provide enough oxygen to the plants
- Ebb and flow system:
This system consists of a submersible pump connected with the timer, reservoir, and a plant tray. There are also hoses to move the water from the tank to the plant tray and back again. This method is also known as the flood and drain and functions continuously by filling the water in the plant tray and letting it drain back into the tank. The plant tray is positioned higher than the reservoir to ensure that water gets drained by gravity. The plants can be kept directly in the media tray or kept in independent pots.
A small corner of the garden or any unused space in the home can easily get converted into an aquaponics farm for growing vegetables. It creates a symbiotic environment by putting fist water in the system so as to transform as a fertilizer for crops. This is a closed system with very little scope for waster. There is also no need for pesticides and fertilizer use. The hydroponic systems can also be equipped with small controllers to assist in the farming technique. These sensors offer all vital information about the growth and health of the plants.
This technique of indoor farming at home is capable of growing the healthiest food possible in large quantities and in the smallest available space and in the most sustainable way. It accomplishes all the goals set by organic farming and helps people to grow food in places where traditional agriculture techniques are simply not possible.