Basic tools required for hydroponics farming

Basic Tools Required For Hydroponic Farming

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, by suspending roots in a mineral nutrient water solution. There are many advantages of hydroponics over soil-less farming, viz; fast plant growth rate, high yield, occupies less space, less water consumption and keeps the environment healthy as there is no use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

Basic tools or equipments required for hydroponic farming

For setting up a hydroponic system, the important factors to consider include – what do you want to grow, budget, space available, how much you want to harvest and time-availability as required in maintaining the system.

So, accordingly one can select a type or arrangement and related basic tools:

  • Flood chamber/Reservoir: One must have a flood chamber or a reservoir, to hold the nutrient solution. The flood chamber should be opaque so that light will not damage the roots.

  • Nutrient Solution :The nutrient solution must include both the main macronutrients -nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, as well as the important micronutrients, which include small amounts of iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum, and chlorine. Beginners can buy pre-mixed solutions with a balance of all nutrients. More experienced hydroponic gardeners may prefer to mix their own nutrient solutions to provide plants with a customized balance of nutrients.

  • Electronic meters: Electronic meters accurately tell you what is the conductivity (ppm or EC), pH, or temperature of the nutrient solution – these are the three critical parameters essential to plant growth and health in any hydroponic system. pH testing kits are also there, even can use pH testing stripes which are easily available from local pharmacies. If using a small hydroponic system, then, Bluelab pens or hand held meters are ideal for accurate testing of the solution.

The result you obtain from these electronic meters helps you to set the right temperature and to make the right solution for plants to thrive.

  • Lighting: Most hydroponic systems are grown indoors under carefully controlled conditions that include lighting. In a greenhouse hydroponic system, plants may receive some natural light. But in many instances artificial lighting is required. Good artificial lights for hydroponic gardening are a mix of cool white fluorescent bulbs and plant grow lights, which provides the right amount of red and blue light waves. Reflectors, lights, ballasts, and climate control will add to the list.

  • Pump: Pumps are required to regulate the nutrient water supply to the roots of the plants.

For a bigger hydroponic system or a large scale soil-less farming, installing motors/pumps is a must. Automated systems controlled by timers and computers save the efforts.

  • Grow rooms: For large scale farming and high yields, plants are provided with different types of growing environment by constructing sophisticated growrooms.

  • Air: Photosynthesis is a chemical process by which plants use sunlight to turn CO2 into sugar. In a hydroponic environment, the air is generated by the fan and the filter system. These elements are present in the different types of the hydroponic system whether it’s the Wicks, Water Culture, and Drip, NFT or Ebb and Flow system.

  • Substrates: There are different mediums or growing support material appropriate for different growing techniques. Few to name on are clay aggregate, coir peat, perlite, sand, gravel, wood fibre, rice husk.

Author Note: The author has 20 years of corporate experience and is now a urban farmer, having hands on experience in hydroponic farming. The author feels if you an #urbanfarmer and want to explore #Hydroponics or planning to start one, it is advisable to connect with commercial hydroponic farm developers such as to outsource your complete farming / agronomist needs so as to save your Time, Energy and Money in running your agri business. It's always advisable to outsource all your farming needs and live a hassle-free life.

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