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Introduction to hydroponics

Introduction to Hydroponics

 Alternative gardening techniques have recently taken off in the garden industry and for good reason. Aquaponics and hydroponics have become extremely popular and are a fun new way to provide food for you and your family. Not only are these techniques efficient but they are pretty low maintenance. This post is meant to teach you how hydroponic systems work, provide pros and cons and give some examples of a few systems that are on the market today. I’ll be covering aquaponics in the next month as well. I hope you enjoy 🙂

“Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.  It was introduced in the 1920s as a means of commercial plant production.

Hydroponic growing may not be for everyone. There are a variety of systems available today so do your research when deciding on a system. Most gardeners use hydro systems indoors like in a greenhouse or even in a garage/shed. But smaller systems can be placed outside. Some hydro systems come as complete kits and are designed for only a few plants or hundreds. There are many kits you can purchase and lots of DIY ideas.

The video below shows how to make your own small DIY hydro system.

With in-expensive materials and an overall small system, DIY is a great way for trial and error.

Introduction to hydroponicsIf you prefer to purchase your first hydro system I recommend something like this Garden-Of-Ease complete hydroponic system – Pictured on left. This system runs about $60. It’s smart to start slowly and with only a few plants so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Once you have the hang of it you can move to a more generous amount of plants.

Introduction to hydroponicsAnother great small system to start with is the Current Culture Solo6 system. Unlike the system above this one has 6 holes and a sleeker look. The housing is durable and all-around a much better quality than the lesser version above. It is a bit more expensive ranging around $400 but you can expand the system by attaching more modules of the same brand. It’s pretty cool! Contact us if you are interested in Current Culture products.

Once you feel comfortable with the smaller system research some larger ones. If you have a greenhouse or a specified area for growing measure the space so you can accurately find the right size hydro system to fill the growing area.

Introduction to hydroponicsSunglo carries Current culture products. They offer a good variety of sizes and are great for tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc., etc. Pictured on left – A Sunglo owner purchased the mid size Current Culture UC4XXL13 system to start in his 15×20 – 2100G model. This system has 4 large modules that nicely accommodate larger plants. The model #UC4XXL13 gives away a few things. The tells how many plant modules are included and the 13 tells how many gallons each module holds. Under Current hydro kits are complete systems including Introduction to hydroponics all of the PVC piping/tubing and a high quality air pump. And a year warranty gives you peace of mind. There are endless  possibilities of what you can grow but this customer chose to start with tomatoes. I myself would choose tomatoes as well! What kind of food would you grow? It’s a hard question to answer! As you can see from the pictures hydroponic growing has it’s upsides! The foliage is a rich green, abundant and lush. Compared to my tomato plant (pictured below right) that I grew almost exactly the same time as his. Introduction to hydroponicsThe difference in height is vast and his foliage puts mine to shame! The Current Culture UC4XXL13 system runs about $1000. Now think about how much food you could grow with that! You Introduction to hydroponicscould make your money back in food in a few short years. It is wise to do research not only on systems but on the plants you want to grow; what kind of nutrients they will Introduction to hydroponicsneed, how much light and even the germination time. Sunglo can help with a lot of these things. We offer full packages that include a greenhouse and the perfect size hydro system to fit. We also carry lighting and controls for your greenhouse. The full line of Current Culture nutrients is available as well. So look no further! We’ve got you covered! Garden stores that carry hydro products usually carry matching nutrients made by the same brand. Like how we carry Current Culture hydro systems and nutrient products.  Besides buying the starts or seeds there is really no other cost – These medium systems range only 50-100 watts.

Every decision we make in life has its pros and cons. So here are a few things to consider when deciding on your alternative gardening method:

PROS:

  • Weeds can’t grow
  • Most plant diseases are eliminated
  • Pests are less of a concern so pesticide usage goes down as well
  • Hydroponically grown food has been known to be more nutritional and taste better
  • Less water waste
  • Nutrients are more controlled therefore plants are more abundant & lush
  • Plants grow faster and have bigger yields
  • Plants can be placed closer together so less space is used comparatively to soil gardening

CONS:

  • There are limited varieties of plants that can be hydroponically grown
  • Setup and system costs can be very expensive
  • Hydroponics requires more technical knowledge and training than soil cultivation
  • If the watering system fails, plants will dry out and die rapidly

Current Culture has a great YouTube channel that features how-to and informational videos that are very useful. The video below shows how the Current Culture System is assembled.

 1 Current Culture UC6 System (pictured below on right) would fit great into a 10×10 – Sunglo Introduction to hydroponics1200C model (pictured on left) with room for a Introduction to hydroponicswater reservoir and a few potted or hanging plants. The current culture system and the Sunglo greenhouse can both expand. So once you have mastered hydroponic growing and you want to add to your plant collection you are able to extend your Sunglo greenhouse and purchase more modules to advance your hydro system. There are no limits!

Please call or e-mail Sunglo at 800-647-0606 or info@sunglogreenhouses.com for more information on Current Culture products or to receive a free hydro greenhouse estimate!