Individuals are now avoiding crowded places due to COVID-19. Many people try to make fewer trips to supermarkets and grocery stores. One suggestion that experts gave amid this pandemic is for families to grow their food inside their homes. An example of this is through hydroponics.
What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is simply growing plants, particularly healthy fruits and vegetables, without having to use soil. These plants rely on both nutrients and water for their growth. This technique has been the go-to approach of commercial greenhouses to produce edible plants throughout the year.
What’s good about this is that plants grow in this medium faster and better. It also requires less space, so you don’t have to worry about setting one up in your small condo or cramped apartment. Lastly, the growing process is pretty straightforward because you can control several factors, like water quality, lighting, and air circulation in this technique.
How Do You Start?
Starting hydroponics will rely on three essential factors: nutrients, carbon dioxide, and sunlight. These are crucial when creating your system.
- Air Circulation
As mentioned above, hydroponics can be placed anywhere. If you are planning to do this inside your room, ensure that your system still receives ample carbon dioxide. The easiest way to go about this is to make sure that the inside operates on constant airflow. To do this, you may invest in air circulation equipment, such as an electric fan, to improve the airflow.
This factor is vital to the growth of the plant. Poor air circulation combined with high humidity levels may only lead to microorganisms’ growth and fungal problems.
- Growing Media
Keep in mind that water alone will not be able to drive and sustain plant growth. Several macronutrients, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and calcium, and some micronutrients are vital as well. Traditional planting requires soil that serves as a rich source of the said nutrients. However, you don’t have to worry about that when it comes to hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a better alternative system since it ensures that every essential nutrient is found in a single medium. In this set-up, you don’t use soil. Instead, you maximize a growing media to deliver nutrients in the water while you keep the roots oxygenated.
You don’t have to make your own growing media. Instead, there are readily-made ones that you can purchase. You’ll find different forms – either organic or synthetic or dry and liquid.
In traditional planting, plants rely heavily on photosynthesis to generate their food. They won’t face any problem as long as there is a steady amount of light. Once they receive light, the plant can convert carbon dioxide, water, and minerals to energy-rich organic compounds, particularly oxygen.
As mentioned, you can set up your system inside your room. The only question is, how will the plants receive ample amounts of sunlight? With hydroponics, you don’t have to worry about this too much since you can replace sunlight with LED lights. This way, it will be easier and more manageable to control the amount of light indoors.
The perfect lighting for this type of planting approach is a high-intensity discharge light fixture. These include metal halide bulbs or high-pressure sodium. Lastly, it’s better if you also incorporate a timer with your lighting set-up to manage your lighting during the selected times of the day.
Pros And Cons Of Hydroponics
- Faster growth
- Better growth rate
- More efficient gardening
- Needs less space and water
- Constant monitoring
- High chances of plant diseases
- Complex set-up
The Emergence Of Hydroponics
With COVID-19 limiting our purchase movement, it is suggested to shift to this new age of gardening. At the same time, you’ll also be able to control what types of food to eat, especially if you are nursing mental health problems amid the global pandemic.
“Food plays a significant role in our physical health, as well as our mental and emotional health. When you are struggling with depression, it can be overwhelming to think about eating the right foods. However, some of these small changes in your diet may help to decrease your symptoms and have a positive effect on your daily life,” shares Jodi Clarke, MS, LPC/MHSP.
So, aside from mastering the ins and outs of hydroponics, make sure to be responsible for your daily menu. This will help you manage your overall health to prepare you to combat COVID-19.