Updated: Jul 17
As much as COVID bore us out of our minds by forcing us to spend 99% of our time at home, it gives us a chance to wind down and find a new hobby to beautify our surroundings. Looking over the same four walls of your bedroom or living room must be getting boring after so many months working from home. But do not fret! If you are looking for a new exciting project to do at home, easy planting can be the one for you. Why not spice up your home a little with eco-friendly sustainable home improvements by adding some plants around the house? It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or small living quarters. I present to you the art of hydroponic planting.
Hydroponics is a soil-less way to plant. The technique uses water as a medium for the plants to grow. To plant plants that customarily grow on soil with a water medium, you require an extra medium to support their root system. These mediums can be something like Rockwool or coconut fiber. If you would like to be 100% eco-friendly, use coconut fiber. In all honesty, they take much less time to prepare, plus they are biodegradable and whereas Rockwool is not.
Hydroponics is sustainable because it does not ruin the habitat of many animals to create farmlands. Additionally, it does not harm soil by excessive farming and exploitation. The planting process also requires less material and maintenance compared to traditional farming methods. You do not need to water it as often as soil-planted plants. It only requires you to check if your plant still has an ample water supply once in a while. As long there is water in their container, your plants will remain happy!
The plants can grow in minimum space. So even if you do not have much room for creating an entire field of crops, you can start one batch of your favorite vegetables that fits your fancy. It is always fascinating to watch what we sow grow into something we can eat. Plus, they look much more fascinating in comparison to our usual plants-in-pots. To sum it up, hydroponics is cheap, easy, and slows down climate change.
What you will need:
Container with a lid
2 cm thick wicks, approximately 20 cm each long (1 wick per net pot)
Your choice of vegetable seeds
Rockwool or coconut fiber as mediums
The Simplest Way to Start a Hydroponic Garden:
You will need a 30cm-deep plastic container and a hardcover that is a tad bigger than your container to cover your base container. It can simply be the lid of the container you are using.
Fill half of the container with water, preferably if the water is one or two centimeters below the depth of the net pots.
Create holes as big as the diameter of your net pot on the lid and space them out evenly. This way, when your plants grow bigger, they would not bump into each other.
Then, fold your wicks into two before inserting them one by one into the net pot until the tip of your wicks is touching the water.
Add either Rockwool or coconut fiber inside the net pot. Then, voila, you can add your seeds to the planting mediums!
Next, keep your plants under a plant light during wintertime or if you live where light is scarce. Sunlight works best if you live in a tropical country like me.
Now, this next step involves waiting. When your seeds start sprouting and growing more leaves, you may add nutrients into the water to help them flourish. The reason we need to wait is so the nutrients will not burn our plants. Young plants are still prone to burning when coming in contact with nutrients, so please be careful with it and not overdo it. If you do, they may die out early since we do not want that. I add 20 milliliters of nutrients for every 2 liters of water.
Plant Suggestion for Hydroponics
I successfully grow Bok Choy or Chinese White Cabbage and Spinach at home. So if they are your cup of tea, you may try your hands on those!
I am currently experimenting with red lollo lettuce. I bought an organic one from the market and purposely left some leaves after stripping most of them for my salad. Then, I let the base sit on top of a Rockwool for a few days. Surprisingly, it is now regenerating more leaves!
If you feel like finding out more ways to plant hydroponically, you can check out The Spruce’s article. The article gives you an approximate budget for each method and all the equipment you may need for planting. Happy planting, folks! And please do not forget to check your plants’ water level.