Hydroponic gardening is the technique of growing plants without using soil in a media that is hydrophilic. Indoor gardening with hydroponic methods provides the additional benefits of variety of the plants you can grow, the ability to produce year-round, and the reduction in the amount of work involved in preparation, weeding, and tending an indoor garden. While growing plants indoors, there is no need to worry about outdoor temperatures and pests that damage plants.
To set up an indoor hydroponic gardening, you first need to decide on the location where you wish to grow the plants. For a small scale garden, you can use old fish tanks, unused barrels or trays. Make sure that the indoor location you choose gets maximum sunlight or make arrangements for enough artificial lights. Once the location is decided, you need to shortlist the plants you wish to grow. Certain edible foods grow well in a hydroponic garden. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable, responding very well to this environment. Also pepper, lettuce, and spinach plants grow well with hydroponic gardening. European salad cucumbers also fare well in a hydroponic setting. They are self-pollinating and produce female flowers at the bottom of each leaf. Some European varieties take less time to grow, have a mild taste and measure up to 12 inches when harvested. Certain plants like rose, cactus, and orchids can be grown indoors with hydroponics for aesthetical purpose.
For indoor hydroponic gardening, wick or NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) hydroponic system is one of the easiest systems as it is easy to set it up or maintain it. All you need to do is cut a hole in the bottom of the pot and insert the wick. Plants are to be placed in a tray which is kept on top of the pot. The wicks because of their capillary action provide nutrients to plants. Another effective hydroponic system to grow plants indoors is Ebb and Flow. In this system, the growing medium is placed directly into a pan filled with water and nutrients. The pan just needs to be filled every few days and your system will run smoothly on its own. The plant’s roots will be able to spread out throughout the pan and receive a great deal of oxygen from the water.
There are certain factors you need to take care of while growing hydroponics plants indoors:
- Make sure plants get enough natural or artificial light (through LED and HPS lights) so that they can make their own food by the process of photosynthesis.
- Most house plants tolerate normal temperature fluctuations. Extreme low or high temperatures may cause plant failures, stop growth, or cause spindly appearance and foliage damage or drop.
- Remember that over- watering the plants is as harmful as under-watering them so do not provide excessive water to your hydroponic plants.
- Indoor hydroponic plants are highly susceptible to fungal and rot infestation because of humid and moist atmosphere. So take special care that the growing area is always clean and dry.