Hydroponics is a much more efficient way to grow plants than soil. If you follow the recommendations in this article, you can get even better yields.
1. Give your plants enough light
The source of plant growth is light. In general, the more light a plant receives, the better and faster it will grow.
If you are using indoor hydroponics set the timer so that the plants get at least 8 hours of light. This is because artificial light does not provide enough energy for plants, so you need to increase the light duration.
But you do not want to keep the light on for the plants all 24 hours. They need about 6 hours of darkness to rest.
The best place to put your indoor hydroponic system is in a place with at least four hours of direct sunlight. Sunlight along with artificial light will increase the yield significantly.
If you are using outdoor hydroponics, set it up in a sunny spot. The plants should get about 8 hours of direct sunlight.
However, if you live in a hot climate or the summer is very hot, then hydroponics should be slightly shaded. The point is that the hydroponic system can overheat and the plants may suffer. Install a shading net over the system to diffuse sunlight during the hottest times of the year.
2. Use only efficient hydroponics
The type of hydroponics directly determines the yield. There are many variations of these systems and not all of them are equally effective. Moreover, there are some that can have lower yields than the soil.
Also, a lot depends on the manufacturer. Two hydroponics systems of the same type but from different manufacturers will give different yields.
Here are guidelines to follow when choosing hydroponics if you want to get good results:
- The hydroponic system must be large enough. The smaller the tank and the smaller the space the plants grow in, the smaller the yield will be.
- The plant roots must have constant access to both oxygen and nutrient solution.
- The hydroponic system should have air stones and water filtration.
- The hydroponic system should have a powerful light or the possibility of placing it in a sunny place (in front of a window, for example).
3. Keep your plants clean
One of the conditions for a bountiful harvest is the health of the plants. A healthy plant will grow noticeably faster and be larger in size.
To keep your hydroponic plants healthy, continually inspect them. As soon as you see a dead leaf or stem, cut it off right away.
If for some reason one plant has died, remove it from the system immediately so that the rot does not spread. Also, be sure to change the water.
Keep an eye on the root system at all times. The roots must be healthy and white. As soon as you see signs of rot cut off the rotten parts immediately or remove the plant completely.
Change the water in the hydroponic system every two weeks. When changing the water, clean all dirt from the system and clean it with an aqueous hydrogen peroxide solution.
4. Provide the right temperature for your plants
By the right temperature I mean the temperature that will allow the plants to thrive and bear a lot of fruit.
In general, most plants need a warm environment. This means the water in the hydroponic system and the surrounding air should be 64-73°F (18-23°C). This is usually the normal indoor temperature.
However, if the temperature is lower, the plants may grow slowly or stop growing altogether. At the same time, if the temperature is higher than recommended, they might get temperature stress and die.
For this reason, always keep an eye on the temperature around hydroponics. If necessary, install a heater or turn on the air conditioner.
As for an outdoor hydroponic system, things are a bit more complicated. It can usually get quite cold at night and hydroponic plants can suffer from this. To remedy the situation, place outdoor hydroponics in greenhouses and equip them with water heating. °F
5. Adjust the pH level
The pH of the solution in the hydroponics tank plays a huge role in yield. If you want to get good results, you need to take care that it is correct. Otherwise, your plants will grow slowly and suffer from chlorosis.
Usually, the pH of tap water is different in different parts of the world. You need to measure the pH of your water before you put nutrients in it. To do this, buy a pH meter at a hydroponics store. You will also need to calibrate this device.
Next, determine what pH your plants need. A common range is from 5.5 to 7.5 pH. But each crop needs a specific pH.
Herbs, for example, grow best at a pH of 6.5. To find out what pH your crops need, see the charts below.
Then use special solutions that can both lower and raise the pH. Such solutions are available in hydroponic stores.
|Plant||Optimal pH||Optimal EC|
6. Make sure the solution is nutritious
Solution is a key element in increasing yields. It is the solution that makes it quick and easy for the plant to get the nutrition to grow. At the same time, it is much slower in the soil.
However, there is a condition here. Different plants need different concentrations of fertilizer in the water. Monitoring the fertilizer in the solution can be done by measuring the electrical conductivity.
There are special measuring devices for this purpose. You can buy a multipurpose device at the hydroponic store which can measure both the electric conductivity (EC) and the pH of the solution.
Then you need to use the table above and find out what EC your specific crop needs. Add some nutrients to the water and measure the EC. This way you get to the EC level that you need.
It is best to use a liquid one-component fertilizer from a hydroponic store. It is very quick and easy to use. It has all the ingredients the plant needs. You can also buy a special fertilizer for a specific crop.
7. Provide enough oxygen to your plants
An oxygen-rich solution is a must if you want a good harvest. The more aerated the solution, the faster the plants will grow.
It is no coincidence that aeroponics is superior to hydroponics. It is because of the fine droplets of oxygenated solution that aeroponics is about 10% more efficient than hydroponics.
What you need to do is make sure that your system has air stones along with an air pump. If you don’t have them, be sure to install them. The smaller the bubbles the better.
Also, it is better if you prefer a hydroponic system that has air exchange in the root zone. The more access the roots have to air, the healthier they will be.
8. Use some substrate
If your hydroponic system allows, use a little substrate. The substrate has many advantages and together with hydroponic technology can give very good yields.
First, the substrate retains moisture in the root zone. This is very important when there is a power outage.
If the roots are left without water for a few hours the plant can suffer or die. In this case, good yields are out of the question. But if the roots are surrounded by a small amount of moist substrate, the plant will easily survive the adverse time.
Secondly, the substrate can provide organic nutrition for the plant. This will have a positive effect on both the growth rate and the size of the plant.
All you have to do is germinate the plant in an organic substrate that retains moisture but is light and nutritious. These requirements are best met by coconut coir, for example.
Next, you have to put the plant in the hydroponic system together with the substrate. The roots will begin to grow further into the hydroponics but their base will always remain in the substrate and benefit from it.