Hydroponics can be one of the most rewarding ways to garden, but if you rush into it you may find yourself frustrated with slow growing or diseased plants.
It’s important to take it slow and do your research before implementing your hydroponic setup, as one rookie mistake might take down your whole crop.
Here are 7 common oversights to avoid.
Skipping the study
Don’t take on this mission alone – there are so many resources available for the modern day hydroponic grower. This method is both an art and a science, and trusting your instincts may leave you with some sad looking plants and heading back to the drawing board.
Treat your hydroponic setup like your laboratory, and that means maintaining cleanliness. You may be used to getting your hands dirty in your garden, but poor sanitation can encourage pests and spread bacteria, pathogens and plant disease. Make sure you clean your tools and containers, dispose of plant waste properly, and keep the surrounding area dry.
Not investing in high quality nutrients
Hydroponic plants can experience astonishing growth in a short amount of time – but only if you fuel them correctly. When you’re growing plants without soil, it’s crucial you invest in high-quality, tried-and-tested nutritional formulas. Not all nutrient solutions are created equal, and you get what you pay for with cheap products.
Hydroponics take a little investment, so don’t skimp where it counts.
Many people leave ventilation as an afterthought, but don’t underestimate the importance of air flow for your plants. When it comes to warm and humid environments, there is a significant risk of mould growth. Adding a fan to your garden is a worthwhile investment, and if you’re growing indoors it’s recommended you use venting to circulate fresh air.
The intensity, cycle, spectrum and placement of your lights need to be thoroughly thought through. Many hydroponic growers slip up with this step, and with so many options available on the market it’s easy to get confused.
If you’re growing your plants indoors, this will be one of your most important investments in order for your plants to experience vigorous growth. Some species will thrive in low light conditions, while others may need to spend most of their lives under a lamp. Again, it’s all about undertaking adequate research for each plants you plan to grow.
Remember that more is not always better. Plants require down time in the dark, just like you do. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to hydroponics.
Harvesting too early
It might be tempting to sample your newly home-grown produce, but do this too early and certain plants will never reach their full potential. Patience may very well be one of the most important virtues a grower can learn.
Neglecting pH levels
If your solution is too alkaline or too acidic, your plants will have nutrient deficiencies, and this is the most common cause of plant death.
pH is the most valuable measurement you need to understand for your hydroponic setup, so invest in a high-quality pH meter and make sure you’re checking it daily. As all your plants may share a solution, it’s crucial you take quick action before your entire crop is in trouble.