If you're a beginner who wants to grow plants indoors year-round, learn how to buy the right hydroponic gardening supplies.
Step 1: Understand what hydroponics is Know what hydroponics is: a method of cultivating plants in liquid nutrients without using soil. Consider starting out with an inexpensive hydroponic gardening kit.
TIP: Hydroponic gardening kits and supplies are available at gardening centers as well as hydroponic specialty stores.
Step 2: Learn about hydroponic systems Learn about hydroponic systems. Ebb and flow delivers nutrients via a pump. With the wick system, plant roots absorb nutrients via dangling ropes.
TIP: Because the wick system requires no pump, it's easier to maintain. Ebb and flow, however, can produce a heartier yield.
Step 3: Use porous materials Use porous materials like peat, sand, gravel, rock wool, or vermiculite in an ebb and flow system. These materials deliver liquid nutrients to the roots.
Step 4: Get a premixed nutrient solution Get a premixed nutrient solution at a garden supply store. You'll typically use 2 to 3 teaspoons of nutrients per gallon of water.
Step 5: Get a pH testing kit Get a pH testing kit to measure a nutrient solution's hydrogen content. If pH levels are too high or too low, plants won't be able to absorb nutrients.
TIP: Get a water pH test kit at any pool or aquarium store.
Step 6: Consider buying artificial lighting Consider buying artificial lighting such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights for flowering plants, or Metal Halide (MH) lights for leafy vegetables. Now start hydroponic gardening with confidence.
FACT: In 1938, early hydroponics experiments occurred on Wake Island, a Pan-Am Airways refueling stop -- hydroponic vegetables fed the airline's crew.