Basic Concepts Behind Home Hydroponic Systems
If you're new to hydroponics, it would be best to learn some of the basic concepts before rushing in and building or buying your very own home hydroponic systems. This article will try to give you the necessary information on the basic concepts that hydroponics works with, without getting too technical.
There's much to learn young hydroponics Padawan about the boat you just jumped in and it's best if we start at the base of it all. If you're ever planning on getting home hydroponic systems to grow your plants in, you will want to take heed of these concepts that I'm about to detail in the following article.
The Basic Concepts Behind Home Hydroponic Systems
- Instead of soil, we will be using water and a nutrient solution to grow the plant in
- A hydroponic system needs to find a balance between feeding and drowning plants
- A hydroponic system generally refers to every aspect involved in plant growth, ranging from the container to the growth media or the lighting system. In other contexts, a home hydroponic system can refer strictly to the method you're using to grow the plants with: ebb and flow, water culture, NFT, aeroponics and so forth.
The Basic Concepts Behind Nutrition in Home Hydroponic Systems
- Your plants need several nutrients, which are divided into two groups, primary and secondary. The primary group contains three elements, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, whereas the secondary group contains over 20 elements, the most important being Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc and Sodium.
- Too much of the same nutrient can develop a toxicity in your home hydroponic system's solution.
- Too little of the same nutrient can develop a deficiency in your home hydroponic system.
- Some nutrients lock each other out, so by developing a toxicity in one nutrient, you automatically cause a deficiency in another. This is often problematic in finding the cause of a deficiency (i.e. You get a lot of Magnesium in your nutrient tank, but you still have a deficiency because it is blocked by a Nitrogen toxicity).
- pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of a solution and plants require a stable pH that balances out these two features. If the pH levels in your nutrient tank go off the mark, your plant will suffer, it will stop growing and it might even die.
The Basic Concepts Behind Lighting in Home Hydroponic Systems
- In order to grow at their maximum potential, each plant requires a certain amount of light. Plants are divided into three categories, from low and medium to high light plants. High light plants require up to 18 hours of light per day, whereas low light plants can do with around 10 hours.
- Plants use different temperatures from the color spectrum during their life. Most notably, they use blue light when growing and red or orange light when flowering. Your hydroponic system should have adequate lights to deal with these phases in a plant's life, if you want to grow it to its maximum potential.
- One of the best blue lighting sources for home hydroponic systems is a metal halide lamp.
- One of the best red lighting sources for home hydroponic systems is a high pressure sodium lamp.
The Basic Concepts Behind Growth Media in Home Hydroponic Systems
- Growth media must be nutrient free, so it doesn't interfere with the solution that you use in your nutrient tank (i.e. doesn't cause toxicity or deficiency with one or more nutrients).
- Growth media cannot contain any pH modifiers and it must have neutral pH (pH level 7).
- Growth media must retain water and air, but it must also drain quickly enough to be usable in flood systems such as the ebb and flow, or continuous drip.