Ten Common Mistakes Made in Hydroponic Gardens

It might be a lot easier to grow your own greens in Hydroponic gardens, but they can also be tricky to handle. The very fact that plants grow in a superficial environment created by the indoor hydroponic growing systems, even a small mistake can damage the entire crop. There are several elements in different hydroponic systems that require thorough understanding and proper care for them to run smoothly.

So, if you have a hydroponic garden and you want it to be a success, here are ten common mistakes that you should avoid at any cost:

Not knowing your system well

One of the most common hydroponic mistakes people tend to make is not doing thorough research about hydroponic systems. These are delicate systems that require a deep understanding of how things work. Knowing the type of crops or greens you want to grow, and the kind of hydroponic system that is best suited for that particular crop is crucial. Furthermore, you should have clear knowledge about how much light, air, temperature, and space will be needed according to the crop you choose. Setting up a hydroponic system without having proper knowledge or understanding of it can lead to crop failure.

Spending money on the wrong essentials

Many times, people try to save money by buying cheaper options rather than investing in the right hydroponics equipment. Poor quality equipment can adversely affect your crop and it can ruin the entire system if not replaced in time. A faulty air filter, a small bulb that doesn’t provide adequate light, or insufficient fertiliser supply can stunt the growth of your plants. And you will eventually end up spending more if this happens. We don’t suggest that you go overboard with expensive equipment. But we suggest you start small, and once you have the expertise of handling hydroponic systems, you invest in them further.

Insufficient or improper pH

The ideal range of pH for every plant is between 5.5 and 6.5. If this level is maintained, it results in an adequate amount of nutrient absorption into the roots. A pH level too high or too low can damage the crops. Elements like water, fertilisers and the growth of the plants can affect the pH levels. So, it is extremely important to keep a constant check on that. You can either use simple litmus strips, an electronic meter, or a liquid testing kit to keep a check on the pH levels.

Not keeping the system clean and tidy

An unclean system is dangerous for the growth of plants as bacteria can grow quickly in a stagnant system killing the plants all at once. Remove any dead or dropped plant matter daily, flush your system once a week and wash and sanitise the surfaces regularly for best results. While cleaning, choose cleaning agents like bleach, vinegar, and food-grade hydrogen peroxide carefully. Use these cleaning agents away from the plants and preferably in-between harvests. Also, rinse any chemical-based cleaning agent thoroughly as it can affect the pH levels.

Hydroponic Gardens

Choosing the wrong items for your systems

A fertiliser that you use for soil-based gardening might not work for hydroponic systems. Similarly, any other equipment you buy should be based on the kind of system you have and the plants you grow. So, choosing the equipment that suits your system is essential. Keep yourself updated with the kind of equipment that is available in the market. System upgrades happen regularly and thus better equipment keeps flooding the market. Having a thorough knowledge of what’s best suited for your system can make a huge difference.

Using too much fertilisation

It is a myth that more fertilisation equals a better crop. Anything in excess is bad, and the same is true for plant growth. Overfertilisation may cause nutrient burn damaging the roots and turning the tip of the leaves brown or wilted. If that happens, the leaves are unable to absorb the light to keep the rest of the plant healthy. If you notice the leaves turning brown, remove that part to save the plant. Also, remember to flush the excess nutrients out as they will continue to damage the plant. Learn to balance the right amount of fertilisation by reading and taking advice from experts.

Not inspecting the garden frequently enough

All gardens require frequent checking of how the plants are doing. And your hydroponic garden is no exception. Make sure that you inspect your system frequently so that you are able to spot any damage or irregularity in the system before it becomes too big to handle. Check any unwanted growth, the pH levels, the amount of light reaching the plants, and the temperature of the system. If there are any other areas that need attention, rectify them immediately.

Over-watering the system

Over-watering is not just an issue in soil-based gardening but in hydroponic systems as well. All plants need the right amount of water and oxygen to grow well, and if the system is supplied with more than it requires, it can be harmful to the crop. Over-watering happens if the reservoir level is too high and the growing medium gets over-saturated. It can also happen if the roots get submerged along with the medium. This damages the root of the plants, directly impacting their overall growth. Ensure that the water levels are appropriate at all times.

Unmonitored air and circulation system

Any controlled environment requires thorough checking of all elements as even a slight deviation from the perfect setting can be harmful. Air circulation, correct ventilation, and exhaust systems are extremely important in a hydroponic garden. Dry air can increase evaporation, a high level of humidity can cause over-watering, and if the air is too moist, it can lead to mites and gnats settling on the plants. A well-ventilated system with a proper exhaust will keep all these things at bay.

Not knowing when to harvest

Once your crop has grown, it is extremely important to know the right time to harvest it. This is the most crucial aspect of getting the desired product. If the crops are harvested too early, they will not produce enough, and if you leave it for too long, it can affect the taste of the produce. One way of knowing when to harvest is by observing the pistils. While it may vary depending on the crops, experts recommend that the ideal time to harvest is when 70 per cent of the pistils have turned brown. You can also follow the flowering time or monitor the colour of the trichomes. Unfortunately, the ideal time depends on what you want out of your crop. So, experience and expertise might be the key here.

Growing a hydroponic garden is a skill that you will develop with time. But the above-mentioned hydroponic mistakes should be avoided at any cost.

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