Indoor hydroponic vegetable gardening, what is it? What is Hydroponics? How easy is it? Benefits? I am a big fan of indoor hydroponic vegetable gardening and will answer all these questions and more based on my years of experience.
Hydroponic is the art and science of growing plants in water with nutrients. Hydroponic vegetable gardening is taking that great technology and using it to grow vegetables.
And it is very easy to do! This series is for vegetable gardens. I will keep it very basic, cheap and easy. The great thing about hydroponic gardening is its ease and flexibility.
Please read all the hydroponic and aquaponic posts when you finish reading this to understand all aspects.
Hydroponic vegetable gardening
Plants don’t actually need soil!
If you are an old soil gardener like myself you may find the concept of not needing soil weird.
Soil is just a medium to deliver the nutrients that a plant needs. However, if you can deliver nutrients in a different method then the soil becomes just a way to hold the plant in place. With hydroponics, you have other options to hold the main stem of the plant in place.
Soil, not a very effective way to deliver nutrients
The thing I always found the hardest in my soil gardens was figuring out how much to water and how much (and what kind) of fertilizer to use.
There are so many different ways and opinions on how best to fertilize plants. I found the whole thing overwhelming and time-consuming. Those are not problems with hydroponic vegetable gardening.
Another problem with soil is that it is not an effective way to deliver nutrients to roots.
A plant needs to work to reach and find nutrients. Ideally, you want the nutrients evenly distributed throughout the soil but that is not always possible.
Roots need to work through the soil to find what they need. If your soil is too dense or the nutrients are not easy to access the plant will suffer.
What plants need to grow in a Hydroponic garden
All plants need:
Soil is just a medium to deliver these things. It holds no special powers to make plants grow.
Benefits of indoor hydroponic vegetable gardens
With hydroponic growing the roots have consistent and easy access to all the nutrients they need.
When hydroponic gardening you can easily test the exact nutrient level of what your plant is receiving. Because of this, it is easy to instantly change to levels of nutrients. Keep an eye on your plants. Then simply change the nutrient solution if you find that your plants need something different. There is no guessing.
Some other benefits of hydroponic growing include
- NO weeding!
- less prone to disease,
- much fewer pest issues.
On average, hydroponic vegetable gardening will grow vegetables 30% bigger than soil gardening.
Why? Because the roots are easily getting what the plant needs.
So less work, more flexibility, and more productivity. That’s why I knew hydroponic gardening was for me!
Getting started with hydroponic vegetable gardening.
Which kind of hydroponic system works best?
There are 3 main hydroponic systems used in commercial growing that will work nicely in a scaled-down home planter. I often mix and match systems to fit a specific purpose. So don’t worry, flexibility is my favorite part of growing this way.
The three methods that I find work best on a small scale are:
- The Kratky method (non circulating),
- the NFS systems ( Nutrient film systems)
- Dutch buckets.
What do they all have in common?
What they all have in common is that each allows for a method of delivering nutrients, warmth, and air to your plant’s roots. Each type of system has its benefits and is best for certain types of plants.
Noncircular methods, Kratky method
The best known of the noncircular methods is the Kratky method. These are best for small plants like any kind of greens. This method is also best for vegetables that have a quick growing time to harvest.
Dutch buckets are wonderful for large plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.
NFT or NFS
These are a good choice for lots of things. Greens, herbs, peppers, broccoli all work well. This system is really only limited by the size of the root system that will fit inside of the tube or waterway that you choose to use.
There is also a great subcategory of hydroponic called Aquaponics. Aquaponics is a way to naturally produce a nutrient solution to feed your plants. The basic idea is that you can use fish tank water to feed your plants and in return, the plants will clean the water for the fish. Fish water can be used in any of the types of hydroponic systems.
I am such a fan of using aquaponic for indoor hydroponic vegetable gardening that I wrote a book. It goes into great detail and gives step by step how to. Please get your copy on Amazon.
I hope that you try indoor hydroponic gardening. Let me know how your garden does. Leave comments or questions. Thanks
For an easy way to get started please visit “2 DIY easy hydroponic gardens”