What do you need to set up a hydroponic growing system? If you’ve never tried growing anything hydroponically, here is a guide to what you’ll need to get started. No matter what type of plants you intend to grow, there are some essential hydroponic supplies you’ll require:
Pump and timer
A typical hydroponic system uses a pump to deliver the nutrient solution to the roots of the plants. The pump is normally submerged in a reservoir which contains the nutrient solution (although non-submersible pumps are also available) and delivers this solution in a steady shallow stream around the irrigation system installed to feed the plants. This process is normally timed, so you’ll also need a timer to control the pumping process.
Tank or reservoir
This is used to store the nutrient solution which is circulated to the root system of the plants. Make sure the size of the reservoir is sufficient to cope with the volume of plants you intend to grow, and it’s also best to source a covered reservoir to reduce loss from evaporation or the ingress of contaminants.
Grow trays (channels)
These channels or trays are where the roots of the plants dangle down into the nutrient solution which is pumped along the grow trays (channels) in order to supply the root systems with the essential nutrients required for good growth. Grow trays are available in various materials and lengths from HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES, and around 12-15 metres is recommended as a maximum length. They also need to be installed with an appropriate slope to allow the nutrient solution to drain back into the reservoir.
Providing sufficient light for the plants to grow is essential. Adequate lighting allows for optimal photosynthesis to occur and stimulate plant growth. Specialist growing lights should be installed rather than relying on regular fluorescent lighting.
As mentioned before, a timer is normally required to control the operation of the pump. You will most likely also need a timer to control the lighting and heating, depending on the growing environment. These timers are key to maintaining optimal growing conditions for the plants and result in better growth and increased crop yields. In general, digital timers are recommended as they are low cost, extremely accurate, and easy to use.
This is the material which the plants actually grow in. The growing medium provides support for the plant stem and various hydroponic systems use different growing mediums. Various materials such as rockwool, perlite, sand and others are better suited to certain types of plants and systems depending on the moisture levels required. Choose your growing medium based on the crop you want to cultivate, the growing environment, and the actual hydroponic system you plan to install.
The nutrient solution used in hydroponic cultivation basically serves the same purpose as fertilizer in conventional horticulture. Instead of the pant having to search for essential nutrients in the surrounding soil – these essential nutrients are delivered directly to the root system of the plants in a liquid form.
Testing kit for pH levels
Certain plants can be more sensitive to pH levels than others. Weekly testing of pH levels in the solution used is recommended and this can be done by using a special pH testing kit to ensure the correct balance in the mixture.