What Kind Of Plants Can I Grow Using Hydroponics?
Hydroponic systems are unique and allow you to grow plants indoors easily in all seasons. These systems grow crops without soil and reap higher yields. While you can plant different types of crops, some crops like vegetables do better than ones with deep roots, vines, and corn. Note that the system, space available, and level of experience should be major key factors while choosing your plants. So let’s discuss the best plants to grow in your hydroponic space.
Favorable temp: cool. pH: 6.0 – 7.0
Lettuce is one of the most common vegetables grown in hydroponic systems. It is the perfect ingredient for your salad sandwich and burgers in your kitchen. They require minimum effort, grow fast, and have a high yield. Lettuce is easy to care for and can be grown in different systems such as the NFT, Ebb & Flow, and Aeroponics. It’s especially a good crop for beginners and grows to maturity within 30days or less.
Favorable temp: cool to warm. pH: 5.5 – 6.5
Kale is also a great option especially if you have a small hydroponic system. It makes nutritious, delicious, and delectable salads and dishes. It is a better option for people looking to stay healthy with proven health benefits. Kale has been grown in hydroponic systems for a long time and you can expect them to grow and thrive well in your system too. It is easy to maintain and requires only moderate temperatures.
Favorable temp: cool to warm. pH: 6.0 – 7.0
Spinach is one of the favorite vegetables among vegetarians, chefs, and juicing fanatics. Planting in your hydroponics allows you to enjoy it raw or cooked since it’s all organic. Spinach takes about 30 days to mature and then you can enjoy it for about 12 weeks of continuous harvesting under good growing and climate conditions. They take less space thus, you can plant more spinach in a small hydroponic system.
Favorable temp: hot. pH: 5.5 – 6.5
Tomatoes also do well in the hydroponic system, they are light, easy to grow, and make delicious dishes. They are fun for hobbyists and commercial growers but are mostly found in mature gardens that require extra care. You can have a few spaced plants depending on the size of your system. Make sure you space them enough when they are young to avoid overcrowding when they’re bigger.
Favorable temp: cool. pH: 6.0 – 7.0
Radishes make amazing salads and soup by adding a good flavoring to your meals. They are easy to grow and maintain in a hydroponic system. You can start from seeds and it takes about 3 to 8 days for the shoots to start popping up. All you need is to control the temperatures, light, and water in the system.
Favorable temp: hot. pH: 5.5 – 6.0
Cucumbers also do well indoors and in commercial greenhouses under the right conditions, they grow rapidly with high yields. They require enough light and temperatures so you’ll need to regulate that. You can choose from a variety of types and sizes including thick-skinned American slicers, smooth-skinned Lebanese cucumbers, long thin-skinned seedless European cucumbers. All types thrive in hydroponic systems so you won’t have any trouble growing them.
Favorable temp: warm. pH: 6.0
Beans are one of the most low-maintenance and productive vegetables ever grown in hydroponic systems. You can choose the type you prefer including lima beans, green beans, pole beans, and pinto beans. Some beans like the pole beans need support, other than that, beans are easy to grow and maintain. It takes 3 to 8 days for the seeds to germinate and about 6 to 8 weeks for harvesting and continue until 3 to 4 months.
Favorable temp: warm to hot. pH: 6.0
Chives help spice up your meals and are better growing them in your hydroponic garden than sourcing from your local store. Under the right conditions, it takes 6 to 8 weeks to mature. You can harvest regularly with 3 to 4 weeks’ room to fully regrow. Note that chives require a longer light period or 12 to 14 hours of light every day for better results.
Favorable temp: warm. pH: 5.5 – 6.5
Peppermint and spearmints also do well in hydroponic systems. They have a refreshing and strong aroma that adds flavor to smoothies, juices, food, soup, tea, and coffee. Mints grow fast and increase rapidly so you’ll have a lot to work with after a few weeks.
Favorable temp: warm. pH: 6.0
When it comes to fruits, strawberries are in fact one of the most common fruits in most households. They are delicious and make amazing jams, smoothies, fruit salad, and frozen desserts. Instead of running to the store every time you need them, why not grow them in your hydroponic system? They take about a month to start producing healthy fruits, if grown in the right conditions you’ll enjoy your fruits for up to a year of consistent fruit harvest.
Favorable temp: warm. pH: 4.5 – 6.0
Blueberries take longer than strawberries but also produce delicious fruits. You can also use them to make delicious treats especially when hosting family and friends. Note that when considering blueberries, you’ll be able to harvest in the second year. Mostly they are grown in NFT systems and are better transplanted instead of planting from seeds.
Favorable temp: warm to hot. pH: 5.5 – 6.0
Peppers require the same growing conditions as tomatoes and take about two to three months to reach maturity. You need to provide them with ample warmth and consistent light for a better outcome. You can plant them from seeds or buy seedlings and transplant them to your hydroponic system. The best varieties for hydroponic systems include Fellini for sweet peppers, Habanero for hot peppers; Nairobi, Mazuka, and Cubico.
What Can’t Be Grown In Hydroponics?
Some plants thrive best in soil. Such plants require more space due to height or deep roots otherwise, they would have low yields and poor rowing conditions. Therefore, you should avoid plants like:
Root crops like potatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, arrow roots, and turnips perform best in traditional soil farming. These plants require to be immersed into nutrient-rich solutions to thrive. In hydroponic systems, they might have limited space, especially the small setups thus making them the best fit for soil farming.
Larger plants like melons, squash, and pumpkins are harder to grow especially since they require large space with a firm base to support the weight. The effort isn’t worth it, especially for experimental growers. This type of plant requires a special type of setting that can overwhelm beginner or commercial growers. You should also avoid large fruits, nut trees, shrub-type plants, and corn, the stress isn’t worth it.
Benefits Of Growing Plants Hydroponically
- You know where your food came from.
- You can avoid using any pesticides.
- Hydroponic plants generally grow faster than those grown in soil.
- The yields are often greater than those grown in soil.
- You don’t need a garden space—or much space at all—to grow plants.
- Hydroponic plants generally attract fewer pests and diseases.
- There are no weeds to pull.
- Hydroponic gardening saves water.
Tips for Growing Plants Indoors Hydroponically
All plants require light to grow but not necessarily direct sunlight. In the case of vegetables and fruits that have a flowering stage, you’ll need to provide ample sunlight that lasts at least six hours a day or invest in artificial light. There are some ideal lights found in your local store or on Amazon. Make sure your plants get the right amount for them to grow healthily and produce high yields.
Understanding the optimum pH level of the water for specific plants will save you a lot of headaches. Your plants require vitamins, nutrients, carbohydrates, and other things to help them thrive. Before planting, you need to check the pH levels requirements for your plant and match it accordingly. That way your plant never lacks any nutrients.
Most plants require temperatures ranging between 60-80 degrees to thrive. You’ll need to control the temperatures in your hydroponic garden. If you’re using grow lamps or radiators, check the generated heat not to exceed or increase temperatures during winter seasons. This only takes a few minutes so you don’t need to feel overwhelmed.
So, Is Growing Food with Hydroponics Cheaper?
It mainly depends on a few factors such as the space available, production volume, availability of supplies, and so on. There is no correct or wrong answer. However, if you have limited space and maybe need produce to feed your family, a hydroponic system is much cheaper. Note that you can also grow your crops for commercial use but the cost of production rises significantly.
On the other hand, if you’re going for a commercial harvest, the traditional way might be cheaper due to less cost of labor and equipment maintenance. So you’ll need to research the type of plants you’re looking to grow and consider all the options before choosing the system that works best for you.