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We love reading about all the coolest hydroponic trends around the country; so we decided to start our own Top 5 Coolest Hydroponic Project Trends in 2016.
These are our first set of trends pulled from Twitter so that you can retweet any that you find as a favorite hydroponic trend.
Check out our Top 5 Coolest Hydroponic Trends in 2016.
What is a hydroponics system?
In order to have a better understanding of what is a hydroponics system and how are they used, it is good to first understand what hydroponically grown means in general. Hydroponically grown growing refers to the growing of plants without the use of any soil to support the plant growth. In recent times, hydroponic farming has become quite popular considering it is used to so many different types of plants indoors, in urban areas without much space for farming and in areas where the climate is not best suited for growing plants.
Why grow plants in a hydroponic system? There are many reasons to grow plants hydroponically versus a soil based farming including:
1. Space Savings
2. Water Savings
3. No Weeding
4. Less Pests & Disease
5. Quicker Growth
What can you grow hydroponically? Flowers, herbs, fruits and almost every type of vegetable can be grown using a hydroponics system.
Unfortunately, environmental degradation has also been blamed for the scarcity of essential resources such as water and minerals critical for the plant growing process in many traditional farming area of the world. As a result, the increasing food demand caused by our population increases particularly regarding food security is a serious threat that has forced some farmers to resort to rethink the use of more industrial sized hydroponics systems to produce mass edible vegetation. Many US universities are beginning to support their campus cafeterias from their own campus hydroponic farms – maintained by their own students.
What are the advantages of growing plants in hydroponics system?
-It is a cost effective method of plant growth compared to traditional methods
-Easily scalable because it is easy to expand
-Flexible and scalable
So what types of hydroponic systems are there?
The most common types of systems fall into four classifications, including:
-Ebb and flow systems
-Continuous-flow solution culture systems
-Deep water culture hydroponic systems (these are the most common and can be made from items found in your local hardware store or as a simple kit – we like these DWC hydroponic systems for sale online to start with)
EBB AND FLOW
This is nutrient rich water that contains clay granules, Hydroton or other minerals that aid in plant growth. Usually, plants are put in a tray filled with granules. Once this is done, a pump that is placed below the tray is connected to it and at regular intervals; a nutrient rich solution is pumped and filled in the tray. Plants then have access to the solution when the tray is submerged. Once the tray is full, the extra nutrient solution is send into a reservoir for storage. Ebb and flow hydroponic systems work in continuous patterns by ensuring nutrients and water are reused.
In this process, an environment saturated with aerosol of nutrient solution or water mist is used to grow plants. The growing process takes place in a chamber where the plant roots are suspended in the air.
Here, plant roots come into contact with a water solution and a shallow flow nutrient. NFT commonly known as nutrient film technique is an excellent way to ensure results through impressive yields as plants are allowed plenty of exposure not only to nutrients but water and oxygen.
DEEP WATER CULTURE
This is one of the popular hydroponic systems where roots are suspended in a water solution that has plenty of nutrients. A netted pot is used to hold the plants in place and allow roots to be exposed to the solution. An air pump and porous stones are responsible for providing the oxygen.
Anyone interested in trying out hydroponic systems needs not worry because success is guaranteed so long as the entire process is strictly followed. The important things a grower must provide include clean water, nutrients as well watch out for plant diseases and pests. The reason many people are opting for hydroponic systems is because they yield better results than traditional gardening methods AND hydroponic systems can be used indoors with grow lights and grow tents.
Should I buy or build a hydroponics system?
Interested in trying to buy or build your own hydroponics system? We recommend starting with a deep water culture bucket hydroponic system, which can be purchased for as little as $30 from parts purchased at your local hardware store (including Lowes, ACE Hardware and Home Depot)- or check out our hydroponic systems for sale online – many are available for FREE shipping.
Homemade Hydroponic System for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide
Many people think that making a homemade hydroponic system is difficult to make on their own, and it needs extensive knowledge about equipment and gardening. Here is a quick and simple step-by-step guide for hydroponic newbies that helps you get going on the right foot.[After reading this, check out our own pictures and experience from last season trying our own homemade hydroponic system n the “How To Make A Homemade Hydroponic System Cheap” blog post]
Determining the Plant to Be Grown
It is first essential to know the plant that you are going to grow in your hydroponic system. It is important to determine the type of plant and assess if you are going to grow them in a single system or scatter them using multiple systems. After deciding the type of plant that you will grow, decide the number of plant that you will grow for each type. You may want to have at least six to ten plant types per system, but this depends largely on the area for your hydroponic system.
Estimate the size of the area where you will grow these plants. For example, a combination of 66 cabbages and silver beet can be grown in five pipes four inches round and three meters long by two meters wide. The whole unit in this instance is six meters. Measure and make a mark for the holes in each pipe. Leave about an inch for the spaces in between holes. Holes are generally four inches in diameter, and this corresponds to the measurement of the pot, which is also four inches. For the first month of your hydroponic system, utilize a shade cloth to prevent direct sunlight, especially in summer seasons where sun emits a significant amount of radiation that may damage the sprout.
Create your own hydroponic solution that is a combination of fertilizer and water. The strength and the PH should be accurately determined to make it ideal. The strength should be in an average of 24 CF, and the PH should be around 5.5 to 6.5 test using a paper PH strip. The CF can be measured using a CF meter. Make sure these levels are not just estimated.
Growing and Harvesting
Rinse the seedlings carefully to remove debris and dirt before putting them in the hydroponic medium. Make sure you don’t scrub the seeds because it may damage the roots. Never use chlorinated water to rinse the seeds because it may affect its growth. It is important to control the chemical balance of the hydroponic solution by checking it every day.
Make sure that you add a significant amount of water every day to keep the solution balanced since water mostly evaporates. Keep pest and bugs away as your plant grow. The full growth of your plant may take about four to six months. After harvesting, never forget to top rinse the entire hydroponic system and flush it with peroxide to destroy bacteria and mold.
Hydroponics Systems for Beginners: Where is a Good place to Start for Building or Buying your First Hydroponic Garden?
A great place to start building your hydroponic system is right at your backyard. This is a good place to start because you can easily access your garden whenever you need to. A good area is wide grassy backyard not frequented by pets. The location that is ideal is an area that is not covered with large trees and is not blotted out of the sun.[Tip: Grow tents will help you grow inside all year long and all day long while keeping the bugs away]
There are many manufacturers that sell expensive hydroponic systems. A good place to start researching cheap and affordable hydroponic systems is right here in our deep water culture hydroponic system shop.
Thanks to readers like you, our blog has now become so popular that we started to shop online ourselves and handpick many products to include in our very own marketplace. A few years ago this was not possible, but today, there are so many products to compare if you decide to cheat a little bit and buy one of these great starter kits! We still would love to hear more about your experience! Check out our post “How to Make Homemade Hydroponic Systems Cheap” to see our own pictures and experience (we left out the pictures of the foam created because we added to much nutrient). Happy growing!
We surf online daily and like to find cool videos featuring hydroponics to share with our visitors. This video is from YouTube, Molly Gagliano, who recorded a 4th grader explaining their new hydroponic system in a class room. Way to go Molly and class! This is short and we wanted to help get your views up on YouTube!
Two very different schools benefit from hydroponics
We love reading the hydroponic news online and would like to share articles that our visitors may find of some interest – because we love these stories, we want to share the positive impact hydroponics has on the schools across the country.
The first article we love is from Ironwood, Michigan (with a population around 5,400) where local State Police donated hydroponic system equipment and grow lights to the local Ironwood schools. The school hopes to use the equipment to raise their own fruits and vegetables for snacks. Read Entire Article Here
The second article is from Stony Brook University where they report that in late August, a former shipping container made its way onto campus. This container will be the home to grow over 2000 heads of lettuce all grown in water and controlled through a smartphone app. Check out the picture of the container and read more from the sbpress.com Read Entire Article Here
We love the recent news out of Vermont!
Emily Donaldson is looking to grow both hydroponics and aquaponics education in the local Vermont schools; however needs some growth fuel! As the article states, “she turned her interests into a non-profit bringing ideas for sustainable development into schools. She calls it Cultivating Action. It started with the building of a hydroponic system in her old school.”
Read the complete article at: http://www.wcax.com/story/30179329/a-push-for-hydroponics-education-in-every-vt-high-school
Read more about Cultivating Action at: http://www.cultivatingaction.com/index.html who has a goal to “Place an aquaponics system in every public school in VT by the end of 2017”.
BEST HYDROPONICS GROW TIPS
Far too many hydroponics enthusiasts end up failing for making mistakes that can be easily avoided by educating yourself. As long as you observe the following tips below, you should have pretty much little to no issue when it comes to growing your plants in a hydroponic system. These tips aren’t just focused on hydroponically grown plants; they can be applied to pretty much any other method of growing plants as well.
#1 Check your pH levels often due to plant growth phases
Plants, similar to humans, have different stages of growth that requires them to have different requirements for optimal growth. The most fundamental aspect to understand about hydroponic gardening is the soil or nutrient enriched water’s pH level, which indicates how acidic it is. Different plants have different pH level requirements, but as a general rule of thumb, keeping your pH levels around 6 would be the most ideal. The easiest way to find your hydroponic system’s ph level is to use a ph level meter (buy it now). The most common methods of adjusting pH levels is to apply potassium hydroxide if you wish to raise the pH, or to apply phosphoric acid if you wish to lower it – kits are sold to make it very easy (buy it now). Food grade citric can also be used if you want to go the organic route.
#2 Test soil or water often to make sure you have the right amount of nutrients and don’t forget your water temperature
As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep the temperature of your plant’s water grown in a hydroponic system somewhere around 70 degrees, with a margin of 5 degrees. It’s common for water to change its temperature, and you don’t want your plant to end up withering because you failed to keep its water at the right temperature. It’s important for you to keep testing your hydroponic plant’s water and ensure that the temperature is right. If it’s far too low, you may want to consider adding a heater or a cooler if it you find it warm.
#3 Use a liquid nutrient solution to ensure adequate amounts of food
All plants have a specific requirement for nutritional intake that has to be met. Having a quality liquid nutrient solution in your arsenal of hydroponic plant maintenance equipment will go a long way in taking out all the guess work when it comes to mixing the right liquid nutrient solution. Having this solution ready at your disposal will certainly make your life so much more convenient, and it will allow your hydroponic plant to get the appropriate amount of food and nutrients that it requires. After all, liquid nutrient solutions are pretty much what hydroponics are all about (buy it now).
How to grow plants indoors.
Living in an urban environment, apartment or high rise condo makes it very limiting when it comes to gardening unless you learn hydroponics, and begin to grow indoors. With housing developments in city areas becoming increasingly smaller, most of us gardening enthusiasts end up feeling constrained in terms of our hobbies. However, none of that has to be the case any longer. Growing plants indoors has become as easy and as convenient as any other outdoor garden, especially if you have the appropriate knowledge and systems to do so. This guide will equip you with the fundamentals that you need to know about how to grow plants indoors.
#1 Starting seeds indoors
The absolute first step that you have to take for growing plants indoors is to start the seeds growing. For this process, you can pretty much use any container size. If you intend to get a multiple number of seeds going, it’s advisable for you to separate the seeds into separate rectangular containers that provide the plant with a sufficient amount of space for their roots. After all, you don’t want your plants to end up getting overcrowded. And for those who think this sounds like too much work, you can also purchase a seedling plant at the local nursery and remove all the soil from the root system.
#2 Transitioning outdoor plants to indoors
If you already have a plant or a few herbs that you want to shift indoors, it’s important for you to be aware about allowing your plant to make the transition smoothly. Doing otherwise would cause your plant to fall into a poor state of health, and it might not make it through the sudden transition. Typically, you’ll want to shift your plants early on during fall into an area that’s brightly let and cool in temperature, preferably your daylight garage or somewhere that’s enclosed and protected from the cold temperatures. After your plants have become accustomed to the change in temperature, you can pretty much place them anywhere you want that has a daytime temperature of around 67°F.
#3 Hydroponic water culture bucket systems
The most significant thing about hydroponic water culture bucket systems is that they allow you to grow your plants at literally any time of the year and the plants grow fast. These hydroponic bucket systems are designed specifically to be able to grow plants indoors, allowing them to be protected from harsh climates, bugs and poor weather. These hydroponic deep water culture buckets provide your plants with nutrients that you add to the water, the air from a pump and photosynthesis from the sunlight or your indoor LED grow lights. These hydroponic water bucket systems can easily be made in a DIY fashion from your local hardware store items or purchased in an easy to start hydroponic system kit. There are many indoor hydroponic garden kits on the market today and many available for under $40 – and some on sale!
How much nutrients to use in a hydroponics system?
There is no question that hydroponics is a good alternative to growing plants in an outdoor soil based garden. However, it takes more than basic knowledge to growing hydroponically. Items such as the appropriate amount and feeding of hydroponics nutrients should also be taken into consideration. If you are new to hydroponics, you may have be consumed with researching whether or not you are feeding the proper amount of nutrients to your deep water culture hydroponic system.
The point here is to keep the balance of nutrients as it is very important in the promotion of proper development and growth as your plants enter the various growth phases. The first thing you can do is either purchase a quick start nutrient kit and identify the type of nutrients that your plants are already receiving. Oxygen and carbon are among the essential hydroponics nutrients needed for vegetation; however, they are generally supplied naturally through water and air, and absorbed through the plant’s roots. Therefore, you no longer have to include them in your list of nutrients that you will be feeding to your plants since in a deep water culture hydroponic system, your oxygen is supplied by an air pump and you are growing the plants in a large water supply. This leaves the nutrients needed to feed your plants during the growth phases. Many company’s make liquid nutrients and plant food, however we recommend a liquid nutrient made for growing plants hydroponically (here is one we tried and like).
Familiarize Yourself with Hydroponics Nutrients
The basic hydroponics nutrients that should be included in your list include potassium sulphate, calcium nitrate, monopotassium phosphate, potassium nitrate, as well as magnesium sulphate. Sulfur and nitrogen are very important in the overall supply of proteins and amino acids. Phosphorus is very important in the overall growth and photosynthesis of plants. Magnesium and potassium serve as catalysts in the production of sugars and starch. Nitrogen and magnesium play a very important role in chlorophyll production. And of course, calcium contributes to the strength of the cell walls of the plants, boosting its overall growth. Or, simply purchase a starter kit and enjoy watching your plants grow — fast!
The amount of hydroponics nutrients that you will be feeding your water culture highly depends on the type of plant that you will be planting in a hydroponic system. While you can mix the nutrients on your own, the safest way to go is by purchasing pre-mixed nutrient solutions that are available in local garden shops or in our hydroponic nutrients for sale online.
The good thing about these nutrient solutions is that the amount of hydroponics nutrients are already pre-calculated in order to suit the needs of the plants that you are trying to grow. With expert advice from a local gardener, you do not have to worry about being a newbie in this field and there are many guides that you can read or simply purchase some liquid nutrients and read the label – it can be that easy.
Why grow plants hydroponically?
The 21st century has seen rapid urbanisation and the global population is now expected to grow to more than 8.3 billion by 2050. Currently, 800m hectares – 38% of the earth’s land surface – is farmed and we’ll soon need to give over another 100m hectares if we continue to use current agricultural methods. That’s not additional fertile land that actually exists though, so some are investigating the potential of vertical farming.
It has been suggested that a 30 storey 27,800,000 m2 vertical farm could be achieved within one New York City block. That farm could feed 50,000 people, providing 2,000 calories for every person each day. With results like that as a prospect, it’s easy to see why enthusiasts see vertical farms as the future.
Vertical farms are still very much at the conceptual stage. The idea is to cultivate crops on multiple levels within high-rise buildings in urban areas. It’s not an entirely new proposition, with architect Ken Yeang suggesting a vision of high-rise plant cultivation in mixed-use skyscrapers as early as the 1980s. Professor Dickson Despommier, the leading international advocate of vertical farms, describes them as “a global solution” to the world’s urban food needs.
Vertical farms do indeed have many advantages. They would enable us to produce crops all year round using 70% less water. We wouldn’t need to use agro-chemicals and could avoid the adverse environmental factors that affect yield and quality in more traditional farming. And if food were grown in urban areas in the first place, we could eliminate the financial and environmental costs of importing food into towns and cities. Read more here.
This story is sourced from http://theconversation.com/vertical-farms-offer-a-bright-future-for-hungry-cities-26934