Have you thought about what hydroponic plants you would like to grow in your new garden?
This decision will point you to the type of unit that would be best for you.
At the bottom of this page we introduce four simple hydroponics systems. But
first, here are some guidelines to get you thinking about your future garden:
Once you have a little experience under your belt, and have the room for it, by all means try your hand at vining crops. Read all about training and pruning vines here.
The most ideal hydroponic plants do NOT include: corn, zucchini, summer squash, melons.
Sure they can be grown in a hydroponic garden, but they are space hogs, and just not practical. They will take over your whole unit.
Your resources are better spent on crops more suited to the compact systems. Think small for now--- bush or patio strains of beans, tomatoes and cucumbers.
If you later get into a greenhouse, you'll have the room to train all those beautiful vining crops all the way to the ceiling (no lights to stay under). You could experiment with any crops under the sun, even corn if you'd like.
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Here's one major advantage of the hydroponic method...
It keeps your crop plan realistic, manageable, and highly productive.
Have you ever had a traditional, soil-based vegetable garden? This is probably how it went:
The first warm days of spring hit, and you get garden fever.
Off you go to the local nursery or home improvement center on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Yikes! Everybody else has spring fever, too.
You fight over the choicest vegetable seedlings (baby plants), and snag a flat each of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and squash.
Then you pass the
seed rack and all those
beautiful seed packets get you pumped up. In your cart goes several of
them, too. Don't forget the heavy bags of manure, peat moss, sand and
You get it all home. Out comes the tiller (if you're lucky). Otherwise, the rake, shovel and hoe. After a day or two of back-breaking work, everything is planted.
A little droopy, mind you, but the plot looks beautiful. Ah, the aroma
of fresh tilled earth!
Now, here's the problem. Did you really need that many plants? Are you really going to use 10 tomatoes, 12 cukes, and 10 peppers a day? Not!
So what happens?
Soon, your beautiful soil-based vegetable garden has turned into a huge weed and bug infested plot, littered with rotted tomatoes and cucumber carcasses.
Am I right?
Now, with hydroponics... since productive space is at a premium, you're forced to think carefully about how much to plant of what.
How about just one tomato plant, one cuke, one or two peppers, lots of lettuces, spinach and onions?
No weeds, no bugs, no excess produce. You will find that with a hydroponic garden, you will plant a wider variety, fewer plants of each crop, and you will utilize it all. Hydroponic plants are much more practical and less wasteful.
What a difference hydroponics will make in your gardening experience! You'll just love it.
Later, we will go into more detail on the individual hydroponic plants varieties, and which ones work best with which units. Check out our Plants & Produce section for that!
Wondering if you can plant tomatoes in January? When to grow hydroponic vegetables answers that question nicely.
And there's some very useful information on climate requirements here.
Okay, so you now have an idea of the types of hydroponic plants you want and when
to plant them. But which hydroponics method is best suited to your needs?
We provide an introduction to the 4 best and simplest systems to get you started: But Which Unit?
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