Growing plants indoors used to mean hauling in bags of potting soil and stacks of clay pots. Now you can grow plants indoors more easily with hydroponics. This is the means of growing plants without soil, by giving them solutions with nutrients to help them grow.
The system of hydroponics that you set up has to be sufficient in nutrients to replace soil as the plants’ root systems. You will also need to give your plants ample light and air to grow. The simplest of hydroponic units is a container that is waterproof, filled with an aggregate or growing medium to support the roots. Seeds or seedlings are placed in the aggregate, and then you will pour a solution of nutrients over the aggregate material in order to give your plants food.
Many times, beginners have trouble with hydroponics. It’s understandable, since most people have only grown plants in soil. Many problems occur because they don’t keep the aggregate or growth medium rich enough in nutrients to feed the seeds or seedlings. Regardless of providing them with light and air, your plants will not grow without nutrients in the aggregate or solution.
What type of nutrient will you use? When you select one, remember that is should be the type of nutrient that is specifically designed for growing plants hydroponically. You can’t put fertilizer in the nutrient medium, since those are designed to supplement soil. Because of that, it may not have enough essential nutrients for hydroponic growing.
You will find hydroponic nutrients marketed commercially, and this makes it a bit easier for beginners to get growing. These nutrients are made for a wide array of plant types, growth stages and light conditions. It’s best to check the nutrient mixture to see which kind will work the best for the types of plants you want to grow.
Nutrients for hydroponic gardening come in various liquids and powders, so selecting the single best product is not all that easy. You will learn from more experienced growers that the best system is one that’s easy to use, not overly expensive and still effective with many varieties of crops. Of the one, two or three-part formulas, the two and three parts are usually better, since you’ll be able to custom blend the type of nutrient solution for your specific plants and their differing growth stages.
While you work with hydroponic nutrients, it’s a good idea if you can learn about mixing your own nutrients in varying combinations and concentrations, to tailor each for the specific needs of your plants. Choose a general hydroponic gardening guide or talk with a more experienced grower, to learn the specifics about making your own nutrient solutions.
The solutions you need may be different for the plants you are growing than the one-fits-all commercial solutions available. For this reason, it’s a good idea to learn exactly what your own seedlings will need, while they are young and then after they are nearing maturity. It sounds like a lot to learn, but once you get going, you’ll find indoor gardening to be relaxing and rewarding.