You’ve read all about hydroponic gardens. You’ve read about the nutrients, the different systems, the benefits of doing so—and now comes the time to actually get started. But where do you begin? If you want your journey in hydroponics to run smoothly, then you need to sort out a game plan and then stick to it. As always, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled some essential tips for starting your first hydroponic garden—from settling on the system that’s best for you to pacing yourself. These are the tips you need to help ensure a successful journey!
Select the Right System
The first step to mastering hydroponics is choosing the right system for you. Your first garden won’t succeed if you choose a system that’s too complex or that requires too much time for you. You have to think about what you’ll be able to handle when choosing this system. If you don’t have a lot of time to check in on pH and water levels, then a circulatory drip system may not be the choice for you.
We have a separate post on how to choose the right system, but it basically comes down to your budget, your experience, and your time. If you’re low on all those things, then you’re going to want a system that will work with you—the wick system is a great choice if that’s the case. When you’re first starting out, it’s imperative that you do your research on the type of system you choose. That way, you’ll be as prepared as possible when the growing begins!
Pay Attention to Growing Media
Part of what makes the system successful is the growing media within it. Now, the world of hydroponics is quite vast, and everyone has their own opinions on what works best. The key is to find what works best for you, which may mean playing a bit more with the different media you use.
For example, if you decided to go the wick system route, then you’ll have to use the medium that’s best suited for the system and for you. Coco Coir is a great option there. When you start getting a bit more confident in your hydroponic gardening skills and upgrade to some tougher systems, then you’ll want a medium that can handle it—Rockwool is a wonderful option there. Remember, everyone has their own opinions, so you’ll just have to do some testing to see which you prefer.
Figure Out a Schedule
When you have the system and the media sorted, then one of our biggest tips for starting your first hydroponic garden involves planning and scheduling. Any gardener—hydroponic or not—sticks to some sort of schedule when they first get started. Whether it’s a watering schedule, a weeding schedule, or a sunlight check—whatever it is, a schedule helps you stay on track for taking care of your garden.
For beginners, this schedule is essential. It’s going to take some getting used to; not only will you have to check water levels, but you’ll also have to check pH, water application, the nutrient solution, and more. Depending on the system and how confident you feel, you’ll check these things less than others. But you need to pay attention to this.
Also, when you keep a schedule, you’ll understand your plants better. It may sound odd, but when you check the water levels twice a day, you’ll gain more insight into the world of your plant. Maybe that root isn’t taking in enough water, or maybe that slow drip pump isn’t working as well as you expected. You want to learn about your garden and the plants and roots within them. This will help you reach success.
When trying anything new, it’s always a good idea to start with baby steps. A lot of people get excited about a new hobby, activity, or learning opportunity and try to take on too much too fast. But that’s the perfect way to get overwhelmed, make mistakes, and give up. We don’t want that to happen for you, so we highly recommend starting small. This comes to fruition in a variety of ways—it’s not just about the system that you use, but it’s also about the plants you choose, the number of items of choose to garden, and even the goals you set for yourself.
Set small, attainable goals to begin with, even if it’s just a goal about not letting a single plant die or keeping track of pH and water levels for a week. These little goals that you check off will turn into habits, and those habits will help your garden grow larger.
Pick the Right Plants
As we mentioned, you’ll want to start small, and part of that has to do with the plants that you choose to grow. Some are more difficult than others to maintain, so if you’re just starting out, then you’ll want to choose something that will work for you. We suggest starting with leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs (mint and basil do great), and strawberries.
When you choose plants with deeper roots (potatoes, carrots, etc.), you may not be as successful. Again, this is where starting small and simple comes into play!
Get a Good Supplier
Our final tip addresses where you’re getting your supplies from. You want to go to a trusted source for all things hydroponics. Even though you can build your own system at home, that doesn’t mean that you should choose materials from the back of your attic. Shop with companies that focus on hydroponics so that you know you’re getting good materials, good products, and long-lasting equipment. If you want to succeed, then you need to make sure that you’re getting your stuff from the best places possible.
With all of that said, turn to FloraFlex for all of your hydroponic gardening needs. We have all the hydroponic growing supplies you might need as you get your system up and running. From Rockwool to various nutrients and fertilizer, we want to make sure that you feel as confident as possible with your new setup. Not to mention—we’re here if you have any questions on our online chat!