These days hydroponic gardening, a soilless mode of cultivation, is becoming extremely popular and reaping huge returns on investments by growers. Growing and yielding vegetables and other commercial crops in all seasons is another reason for its fame. Cabbage, a member of the brassica family, can also be grown hydroponically and can fetch you great harvest all year-round without much of trouble.
You just have to select a right location with good light and then choose and set up a hydroponic system that suits your budget. Then you can start with your indoor vegetable gardening by purchasing right quality seeds and then germinating them, transplanting them into hydroponic garden, watch them grow, and probably in 60-90 days, you’ll start harvesting a great yield of fresh and nutrient-rich cabbage.
However, this is slight difficult unless you have fixed the problems which growers usually encounter while growing cabbages hydroponically.
- Physical Factors like Light, Humidity, Temperature, and pH — Cabbage needs good amount of light to thrive but remember they are scorched or grow pale under too much heat. Cabbages begin to crack if environment get too hot or dry indoors. If you are growing outdoors, then place your plants where you can give them shade from the mid-day sun, and if you are growing indoors, then place the grow lights of appropriate intensity and well above the plants. Cabbages grow well in pH 6.5 to 7, so don’t forget to monitor the pH balance of the grow medium. Drain the entire water every three weeks.
- Nitrogen Content— Along with calcium and magnesium, cabbage needs plenty of nitrogen for growth. Make sure that your hydroponic nutrient is a good mix of all these along with some amino acid and mineral content so that your crop does not suffer nutrient deficiency.
- Transplant Shock— Cabbage is vulnerable to transplant shock but with caution, cabbage seeds can be germinated indoors for faster development. Germinating in individual compartments lets you to transplant these to hydroponic media without any shock.
- Pathogens and Pests— In indoor vegetable hydroponic gardening, aphids can most likely attack cabbage crops. You can control them by using insecticidal soaps or insecticides like Diazinon or Sevin. A layer of aluminum foil underneath plants points light to base of leaves making them an unsuitable habitat for aphids. In moist environment of hydroponic gardening, slugs and snails prevail, so promote a dry environment to discourage them. You can also effectively remove them by laying handpicked traps and snail baits.
Plants grow well with proper nurturing and care. This applies especially for indoor plants because they are not growing in their natural habitat. Indoor gardening not only requires proper set-up and precision but also plant care. Fundamental elements like light, clean air, water, food etc are to be provided in proper amounts to ensure healthy growth of indoor plants and hydroponic gardening.
Plants make their own food and this process is called as photosynthesis. As the name denotes, this process is dependent on light (photo=light, synthesis=to make). Indoor plants grown in your indoor hydroponic garden should be provided with ample amount of light to simulate the outdoor growing environment. However, make sure you do not go for harsh light sources as they tend to damage plant roots. In case of greenhouses or hydroponic gardening, you can choose from a variety of lighting options like HPS bulbs or metal halides bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps also work great in case of indoor plants like cactus and aloe. Provision of proper light is important in plant care.
Water and other physical factors:
Provide enough water to your indoor plants, however, do not over water them. Though there is no guide for the amount of water required by each plant, experience can act as your best teacher. Similarly in case of factors like temperature, pH of soil or nutrient media in case of hydroponic gardening, humidity etc. it will differ from plant to plant. To provide appropriate humid conditions, you can spray the leaves with water from time to time or place plants in a tray of wet pebbles.
Plant care and feeding in terms of nutrients to promote their growth helps plant grow healthily. In case of indoor gardening, plants have to be fertilized once in fourteen days. Go for fertilizers with proper N: P: K (Nitrogen: Phosphorus: Potassium) ratio. If you wish to avoid using chemical fertilizers, you can go with organic and completely natural options like green manure, compost, kelp etc. Other than these macro-elements, you use supplements for plant feeding. Supplementary diet will provide micro-nutrients like calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron to your plants.
Pest infestation and diseases:
Indoor plants too are liable to get attacked by pests and diseases. Make sure that the surrounding where the plants are grown is clean and dry to avoid fungus or rot infestation. You can make use of pesticides in case they attack your plants; however remember that prevention is always a better option than cure.
Pruning of indoor plants:
Many people think that pruning is not that essential and can be avoided. But it is a misconception. Pruning is not required just to get desired shape and size, but also to grow healthy indoor plants. If plants are not pruned properly, they grow up to be tilted and off balance. This is a problem for indoor plants as there is no space for them to spread. So make sure you prune the plants regularly with the help of clean and sterilized equipment.
If you diligently follow all the aforementioned guidelines and provide gentle care to your indoor plants, you will definitely get to see healthy plants and improve your yields significantly.
Hydroponics is essentially a branch of agriculture where you grow plants without soil. In place of soil you can use a nutrient solution which is prepared by dissolving nutrients in water. The nutrient solution gives your plants the nutrients that otherwise would be derived from soil. Etymologically, ‘hydroponics’ comes from the Greek words ‘hydro’ – water, and ‘ponos’ – work. Hydroponics is a technique of plant cultivation that primarily uses water as a base; or in other words, it is a soil-less cultivation process. In the absence of soil to source nutrients from, hydroponics uses methods like the nutrient film technique (NFT) to gather plant nutrition. Hydroponics does not mean your plants are left completely at the mercy of water. There are, of course, different types of growing media that you can use in place of soil, and tested hydroponics nutrients developed by companies who have years of proven success in developing these formulations. You can use hydroponic growing media like perlite, gravel, sand, coir among other materials in place of soil, depending on the crop you choose to grow hydroponically.
Hydroponics has countless benefits to offer to its growers. With the population soaring and arable land becoming more and more scarce and costly, this revolutionary technology is becoming increasingly popular. Plants can be grown in greenhouses, multilevel buildings, basement or rooftops. Rooftop gardening using hydroponics system is also becoming prevalent in bigger cities where the cost of procuring land is very high.
As the process of growing plants using hydroponics is easy and convenient, it is increasingly becoming easier to become an amateur grower. You grow more plants in the same surface area as compared to what you could grow using soil-based cultivation techniques. This is an eco- friendly technique which will help save water and you can even recycle it to save this priceless and limited resource. You can use hydroponic growing media like perlite, gravel, sand, coir among other materials in place of soil, depending on the crop you choose.
The yield from hydroponics is much higher – almost 30-35% more and the quality of food much better. With food shortage crises plaguing the world, hydroponics could be a plausible solution to the impending food scarcity. Since hydroponics takes up less space, it won’t interfere with existing green cover by decreasing forest space that might be converted to agricultural zones.
Moreover, hydroponics is not climate dependent and is most effective when the plants are grown indoors. Just because it’s winter, you need not let go of the opportunity to grow the tomatoes you love so much, lovingly sun-drying them later to use in warm offerings of food. You no longer have to spend time worrying about the right season and the right weather to grow your crops in. Hydroponic gardening liberates you from all those hitherto unavoidable natural weather conditions that prevented you from growing your choicest crops throughout the year.
This kind of gardening is best achieved if you grow your crops in an indoor grow room or a climate-controlled greenhouse. Using systems that deliver precise artificial light to your hydroponics garden and temperature mechanisms, you can simulate the heat and light conditions that plants might naturally grow in. Hydroponic gardening is fun because it gives you a great amount of control on what you grow and where you grow it. So jump on the hydroponics bandwagon as soon as you can!
In summer, excessive heat can dehydrate your plants, especially true for plants which are grown in places with very high day temperatures. Dehydration leads to stress and nutritional deficiency in plants. In summers we all wish that outdoor gardening to become less stressful with minimum rounds of watering and nutrients supply to get rid of sweat and hot weather. But, with the help of good hydroponic products specifically manufactured for summer you can grow plants without any exertion.
One simple way to avoid excessive summer heat is by growing plants indoor and ensuring that plants get adequate light, by using various lighting solutions and technologies available on the market. Nutrition depends on the growing medium you use, as each growing medium has different amounts of trace nutrients and micronutrients. Inexperienced growers and professional growers can simply use ready-to-use nutrient solutions available in any hydroponic store which have been scientifically tested on specific growing mediums such as coco, soil, and rockwool.
It’s very important to understand that the nutrient formulas you use during summer season should be engineered in such a way that it contains all the hydroponics nutrients and co-factors your plants need for earlier growth.
Exact nutrients needed for summer: The correct nutrients needed in an ideal nutrient solution are – nitrogen (ammonia and urea), phosphate, soluble potassium, sulfur, iron, manganese and zinc. Iron, manganese and zinc should be water soluble as they are secondary nutrients needed in less percentage. These nutrients are derived from ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, urea, potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, iron oxide, iron sulfate, manganese oxide, manganese sulfate, zinc oxide and zinc sulfate. Because of this perfect blend you don’t have to spend time for gardening in hot air and humidity. It gives a perfect beginning to your plants to fight against pests and diseases at the later stage.
More on Hydroponics
Hydroponics Gardening – Benefits
Hydroponics growing is the technique where water or other growing media besides soil is used to grow plants. With basic gardening knowledge you can easily start simple hydroponics gardening. Hydroponics can be bit expensive initially but once you have established a good hydroponics system the maintenance is much cheaper compared to traditional pot-growing method. Listed below are benefits that hydroponics offers to its growers:
- Space: The best feature of growing hydroponic plants is that you can grow a large variety of plants in a limited area. Because water and nutrients that plants need to survive are directly given to the plants, they don’t spread out in search of food to survive for a long time. Hydroponics is a smart choice for gardeners, especially for dwellers who have limited space or have no backyard. Hydroponics is not only beneficial for non-commercial growers but also for commercial growers because huge fields or land is not required to grow a large quantity of crops. Hydroponics also helps save fuel and transportation cost as fruits and vegetables can be grown near the market area.
- Pests and Weeds: Hydroponics uses germ-free growing medium unlike soil, it eliminates the risk of weeds, pests and insects. Therefore the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides is also reduced. This makes hydroponics with the help of efficient hydroponics system more economical and eco-friendly.
- Nutrients and water: Hydroponics promotes reuse of precious natural resources, mainly water. You can easily recycle the water which you have already used and drained once. Hydroponics typically requires 10% of water you actually use in traditional farming thereby reducing water consumption. Also, all essential nutrients are directly provided to the plants in correct ratio, therefore the waste of nutrients is reduced. This makes hydroponics gardening very cost-effective.
- Growth: Hydroponic plants and fruits are healthier and bigger because nutrients are directly provided to the roots. Hydroponically grown plants don’t have to struggle and waste energy to find food as they are directly supplied important nutrients. Hydroponic plants grow 50% faster than soil-grown plants. Without worrying about the season and weather conditions you can successfully grow hydroponic plants with the help of good lighting tools and hydroponics system. You can have a wonderful hydroponics garden all year-round!
- More benefits: This automated plant-growing method has many benefits. You can go for a vacation without worrying about watering and nutrient supply to your plants. With hydroponics you can grow different types of plants with different growing needs. You can build your own hydroponics system with materials lying in your store room to help reduce the total establishing cost. General Hydroponics alone can solve the problem of food crises without causing any damage to the environment!
With space and cultivable land becoming a constraint, especially in urban and semi-urban areas, hydroponics, a soilless method of growing plants is fast gaining prominence. This convenient and simple eco-friendly technique for gardening uses water and nutrient solution in place of soil for your plants’ growth. Hydroponics helps you to:
- Increase yield
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Grow healthier and aromatic fruits, flowers and vegetables
In the world of hydroponics it is extremely important to select the correct equipment while setting up your hydroponic system. Also ensure that you take care of the following:
- Grow Lights: Grow lights stimulate photosynthesis and are the most important hydroponic equipment in your grow room. It is pertinent that you choose the grow lights based on the plants’ requirements.
- Pump: Basically there are two types of pumps available in the market – submersible and non-submersible. You should select depending on the kind of output you expect from the pump.
- Growing Medium: Hydroponic involves use of various kinds of growing medium like coco coir, rockwool, etal. To choose the correct growing medium for your plant is essential for the success of your garden. Aeroponics and NFT systems use air as a growing medium. With an exception of these two systems, all other major hydroponics system will require a growing medium. While selecting a growing medium, ensure that you check the moisture retention and air retention capacity of the medium.
- Quality Hydroponic Nutrients: The nutrients that are widely available in your neighborhood stores might not be the best choice for your hydroponic plants as it lacks some of the essential micro and macro nutrients required by your plant. Try and purchase nutrients that are meant to be used for hydroponic gardens.
- pH test kit: To have a healthy hydroponic garden, it is imperative that you maintain a proper pH balance. The best way to do this is to regularly check the pH balance of your nutrient solution.
Good hydroponics growers see their reservoir like a pastry chef might see a mixing bowl. In the reservoir, a hydroponics gardener should work to carefully to reach an optimum balance of nutrients, vitamins, fertilizers and other supplements to help achieve maximum plant growth. A key ingredient for many reservoirs is kelp based fertilizer. It has several different kinds of nutrients and hormones that can help stimulate growth in a way that most other organic fertilizers cannot. But in order to get the most from your seaweed plant food, you have to give serious thought about what you will do to complement kelp’s plant growing properties. Here are a few ideas on how you can get the most out of this potent plant booster.
Humates – Humic and fulvic acid are an ideal addition to any nutrient solution, especially if you are using a kelp-based fertilizer. The materials in your nutrient solution are not going to be soaked up by your plant just because you put them in there. In order to truly maximize nutrient uptake, you need to do everything in your power to create a favorable environment for this. After doing the basic things that help ensure uptake, such as optimizing the pH balance and making sure that your nutrient solution is at an ideal temperature, you should take the extra step of adding humic and fulvic acid.
Guano – Guano and kelp are perhaps the most potent organic fertilizers available to hydroponic growers. Together, they make a very powerful combination. You should pay particular attention to what kind of bats your guano is derived from. Guano that comes from the kind of bats that prey on insects are very rich in the nutrient Nitrogen, which helps facilitate vegetative growth. Guano that comes from herbivorous bats is much more rich in phosphorus, which means it can better facilitate flowering and produce better tasting fruits and vegetables.
Beneficial Bacteria – Kelp based fertilizers, like all organic fertilizers, provide an ideal environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive. While it is certainly possible that these bacteria will form in your nutrient solution by themselves, they probably will not give the most benefit alone. The bacteria cultures that are built specifically for hydroponic systems contain much more effective strains than those that are typically found in nature. These “super strains” will help make nutrients more available, protect your plants form disease and encourage the germination of beneficial fungi much more effectively than average beneficial bacteria. While using bacteria, it is important to keep an air pump in your nutrient solution provide the cultures with oxygen and to cut down on the odors that bacteria can sometimes generate.
Bloom Booster – To give your plant that extra punch of organic nutrients, you should use a good bloom booster alongside your kelp fertilizer. These usually contain a variety of organic nutrients, such as alfalfa, fish base, and earthworm castings, and are designed specifically to help improve the taste and quality of produce.
If you really want to make the most of your hydroponic garden, you should think outside the box, or at least outside of just the basic nutrients and supplements. There are a lot of tools available to hydroponic growers that can help them experience the rapid growth, bigger yields, and healthier plants that they crave. But you won’t enjoy any of these benefits if you don’t educate yourself on some of the most potent organic means to give your plants all of the nutrients that they need.
Here are some of the most popular organic hydroponic supplements. They can either be found separately or combined in potent organic teas of fertilizer.
Seaweed Plant Food – Seaweed plant food is probably one of the most significant breakthroughs in hydro-organic growing. Kelp is technically not a plant; it is a kind of algae. But they are algae that have to endure some of the most brutal environments on the planet. Strong tides and cold waters constantly threaten to destroy this fast growing organism, yet still it thrives, even growing more rapidly than virtually any land based plant.
It is able to achieve these feats thanks to a natural special formulation of hormones and vitamins that make it capable of enduring even the roughest of environments and still grow massively. Hydroponics companies have harnessed these impressive powers of kelp and included it in their products.
Bat Guano – Guano is one of the oldest organic fertilizers used. And it is still used today in combination with other hydroponics fertilizers to help plants grow to their full potential. The main advantage of this kind of fertilizer, particularly guano, is that it comes from fruit eating bats, and it has an extremely high amount of phosphorus. This nutrient, especially when it is applied in high amounts close to the flowering stage of development, can result in bigger blooms and more flavorful yields. For this reason, guano is typically used in organic teas that are designed as organic bloom boosters.
Alfalfa Meal – The three macronutrients that are most essential to plant development are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, usually expressed as NPK. While a steady supply of all three is important throughout your plants development, nitrogen has the most profound impact on your plants growth during the vegetative stage, as is one of the most potent sources of organic nitrogen, alfalfa. When combined with other organic fertilizers, alfalfa meal can help give your plants the boost they need during the vegetative stage to help them grow bigger and more lush.
Fish Extract – When people start thinking about what to provide their hydroponics plants, they usually overlook the importance of amino acids. These are the building blocks of your plants and can help their development greatly. Besides offering tons of these essential amino acids, fish extract also acts as a natural chelator, helping your plant soak up a lot of the nutrients in your nutrient solution.
It is important to remember to always experiment with different nutrients, supplements, and other hydroponics products. Only by trying different hydroponics products and seeing how well your plant grows will you be able to truly find the products, nutrients, and supplements that will be best for your garden.
A sad truth is that the majority of hydroponic gardens never reach their full potential. With hydroponics, you have the ability to achieve much faster growth and much larger harvests than what is possible in soil gardens. But you will only enjoy these benefits if you really pay attention to your garden’s development and educate yourself on the variety of plant growth enhancers that are available to you.
Here are plant growth enhancers that every hydroponics grower should be aware of:
Growth enhancing Bacteria – One of the most essential plant growth enhancers that you should use is a hydroponics product that contains beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria, when introduced to your reservoir, can quickly colonize in your root system, helping them become thicker and larger. In addition, bacteria affects your nutrient solution, particularly the nitrogen.The majority of the nitrogen in your nutrient solution is actually useless in its natural state. Before it can be soaked up by your roots, it must first be fixed into a nutrient that is actually useful to your plant. Bacteria assist with this process, creating tremendously beneficial bacteria at a very brisk pace.
Helpful Fungi – Most hydroponic growers actually work hard to decrease the instances of fungal growth in their hydroponic garden, usually by controlling humidity and other factors. If you discover that your plants have a lot of harmful fungi growing on them, you might even have to use a lot of fungicide to help your plants recover.
However, there is a whole category of fungi that act as plant growth enhancers, most notably trichoderma. These organisms work symbiotically with hydroponically plants roots, increasing their size and improving their effectiveness in soaking up nutrients. In addition trichoderma can actually decrease your odds of having to deal with fungi that can harm your plant, like rust.
Humic and Fulvic Acid – One of the simplest and the most cost effective means of increasing overall nutrient uptake, and therefore improving yield and growth, is using humic and fulvic acid. These humates, especially when added together, can make your nutrient solution tremendously more effective and fruitful.
As a side bonus, humates can actually interact with other supplements that you use, increasing their effectiveness. Most notably, these plant growth enhancers help along your beneficial bacteria, giving them extra resources to grow, thrive, and multiply.
B Vitamins – Just like humans, hydroponically grown plants can benefit greatly from a regular intake of vitamins. In particular, one of the most beneficial vitamins that plants can receive is a vitamin like B1 and B12. The primary way that these help is by fighting off stress. Stress, usually caused by less than ideal conditions in your grow room, can severely harm your plants ability to soak up nutrients and stunt growth. These products fight off this stress and help encourage much more rapid growth.
They also assist greatly by increasing your plants overall metabolism.This makes them more capable to using the nutrients you place in yourhydroponics reservoir