The term hydroponics is a Latin word meaning water working. Indoor gardening and in particular hydroponics has become quite popular in recent years. Hydroponics is not only practiced in developed countries but third world countries as well.
Your success in hydroponics will depend on the grow box. Who said anything about purchasing a hydroponic grow box? This post will guide you on how to build a hydroponic grow box at the comfort of your home with readily available materials.
It is no brainer to assume that some people don’t know what hydroponics is. Well, literally. If you were keen on your science classes, you must have come across the term hydroponics. So what is it?
Hydroponics is the art of growing plants without soil. The first time I learned what hydroponics was, I reacted the same way you did. How can plants grow without soil? Let us roll back to third-grade basic science. What are the basic requirements for growing plants? Air, water, light, and nutrients!
There is no soil in the necessary requirements, although over 80% of the plants grow in it. So, yes! Plants can g without soil in a system known as hydroponics.
Before learning how to build a hydroponic grow box, you should know that the absence of soil means that an alternative way of availing the minerals to the plants should be used. The alternative is dissolving the minerals in the water, and there are over 100 organic and inorganic hydroponic fertilizers in the market today. To get high yields, you must get the perfect nutrient balance.
The tern macro means major. Therefore, macro nutrient is a synonym for major nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur are the six macro nutrients for all plants.
You can purchase the nutrients separately. It is, however, recommended that you purchase already mixed nutrients. The following is a perfect balance. 15-15-15 that is 15% Nitrogen, 15% phosphorous and 15% potassium or 20-10-5 for 20% nitrogen, 10% Phosphorous and 5% potassium.
The requirement may differ given different plant growth stages, but it should be easy to adjust since we have brands with the exact nutrients required during the three phases of plant growth: germination, vegetative and flowering.
If the nutrient doesn’t fall under the macro nutrient, then it’s a micro nutrient. Examples include zinc, iron, chlorine, manganese, and copper, to name a few. All micro nutrients need not dissolve in the nutrients solution, but one or two have to be included for maximum yields.
The most asked question when it comes to hydroponics is, why grow plants in water whereas in the soil they will do just fine? The answer, to the question, is rather simple and straight forward; there are more advantages to growing plants through hydroponics than the soil. The only thing that soil beats hydroponics in is that it helps provide the roots of the plants with a firm grip.
One of the main reasons why hydroponics is a better option is the fact that it is relatively more comfortable to provide the plants with all the required nutrients.
All you have to do is dissolve the nutrients in the hydroponic system, and the plants will absorb it. The same is not valid for soil. Most of the nutrients are leached away what the water is too much. The problem is there is no direct and reliable way of determining whether the nutrients are leached or not.
Why do you want to learn how to build a hydroponic grow box? It is easy to control plants grown in a hydroponic system. In a small and controlled area, it is easy to administer pesticides as well as monitor the progress of the plants.
The same is also true when growing plants on soil, but you get deprived of a chance to monitor the growth of the roots. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that plants with healthy roots will guarantee you high yields.
Depending on the geographical location and climate, plants grown on soil should be watered at least once every 3 days. With hydroponics, you won’t be required to water the plants and no water is lost through evapotranspiration
Why buy a hydroponic grow box yet you can make one at the comfort of your home? How do you go about it?
The first thing that should be done before you can start off making the grow box is deciding on where to locate it. This can either be indoors or outdoors. Take the measurements of the area as this will be useful in the next step.
Things get pretty challenging when it comes to choosing a water reservoir. What is an ideal reservoir? This can be just any container that is large enough to provide adequate space to grow plants. The measurements you took will prove helpful here.
Most people prefer using fish tanks, but a few adjustments need to be made. If transparent, the reservoir should be painted with dark paint to prevent outside light from penetrating since this will encourage the growth of algae.
Get a Styrofoam and cut holes on it. The number of holes you cut will depend on the number of plants you wish to grow. The bigger the reservoir, the more the holes and plants to be planted! Plants should be spaced right for maximum light absorption.
Choose the best pump. Ideally, these should be pumps specifically designed for hydroponics. Connect the pump with an airline. This is necessary so as to provide oxygen to the plants. Why oxygen yet plants use carbon dioxide in the presence of light to make food? Plants respire at night and use oxygen. Therefore, an adequate and consistent supply of oxygen should be maintained.
Dissolve nutrients in the water reservoir. Place the Styrofoam in the reservoir and fill the pots with a grow medium. Connect the system with the pump and airline and run the system. You have built a hydroponic grow box.
There is no arguing over the fact that when you grow plants through hydroponics, you are guaranteed of high yields. This post has walked you through a step by step guide on how to build a hydroponic grow box. It is up to you to make your gardening adventure a success.