Are you looking for a survival gardening method that will allow your plants and crops to grow up to fifty percent faster than any normal garden?
What’s more, what if this gardening method could produce a larger yield of crops in addition to growing them faster too?
And, as the icing on the cake, what if this gardening method is less vulnerable to pests and disease?
The gardening method that is being described to you is called hydroponic gardening.
A hydroponic garden is simply a garden where the plants are grown in water – or any other soilless solution, for that matter. It allows your plants to grow faster and at a higher yield in contrast to methods that involve soil.
Here is a step-by-step process for how you can easily set up a hydroponic garden system:
Step #1 – Build Your Table
Your table needs to hold the water for the garden.
To give you an idea of how big of a table you need, an eight-by-four-foot hydroponic table will hold approximately twenty gallons of water. This is a good size for a beginner.
Step #2 – Build a Floating Platform
The purpose of the floating platform is to stop the roots of the plants from rotting. The platform enables them to float in the water.
You’ll need an eight-by-four-foot sheet of Styrofoam that is anywhere from 1-2 inches thick to serve as your floating platform.
Step #3 – Cut Holes in Your Platform
Next, you’ll need to cut holes in your platform. Each hole should have a circumference of around 2-3 inches (you can use the bottoms of your planting pots as references). The plant pots need to fit into the holes but shouldn’t extend very far beneath the floating platform.
Step #4 – Install an Emitter in the Table
The “emitter” allows water to drip out of your garden slowly. This way, the water will not remain stagnant and you can add more water to replace it.
The best emitter to get for a twenty-gallon hydroponic garden is one that can drip out water at a rate of at least one gallon per hour.
You’ll need to punch a hole in the bottom of your flood table for your emitter and then install the emitter into the hole. Use hot glue to seal the gaps.
Step #5 – Elevate Your Flood Table
Now that your flood table is complete, you will need to elevate it. This can either be done using stands, stools, logs, or buckets.
Also, have a bucket on hand underneath the emitter to catch the water.
Step #6 – Choose a Suitable Location for Your Garden
Your hydroponic garden will need to be outdoors and in a sunny location. The more sun it can receive, the better.
Step #7 – Fill Up the Table
Next, you can fill up the table with water. You’ll want to fill it up about halfway, so the twenty-gallon table in our example will need around ten gallons.
Step #8 – Fertilize the Water
Usually with gardening, you need to fertilize the soil to get the crops and plants to grow. In this case, however, you will need to do things a little bit differently by fertilizing the water instead.
As an alternative to fertilizer, you can also order or buy plant food that is designed specifically for hydroponic gardening. This plant food will be rich in magnesium and calcium. Most gardening centers or plant supply stores in your area should have it; if not, you can order it online.
Step #9 – Choose Your Plants
Not all plants grow well in a hydroponic system, and this is admittedly one of the limitations of the method.
The best plants to use in a hydroponic system are leafy greens with narrow roots.
Examples of plants that fit these criteria include but are not at all limited to:
Step #10 – Create Your Potting Mixture
Next, it’s time to create the mixture that you’ll be using for your plants in the pots. Mix eight parts of perlite with one to two parts of coco fiber. Add three or four parts of coco fiber if you live in a dry, hot climate. You can use peat moss as an alternative to coco fiber if you so choose.
Proceed to pour the mixture into the pots. Speaking of pots, you’ll want four-inch ones with holes on the bottom to allow the plants to get the water.
Each pot should be filled up at least one-third of the way with the mixture.
Step #12 – Start Planting
Next, you can start to plant your crops according to the given directions for each one. Just make sure that each plant is snug in its pot and that the roots only extend a little bit out of the holes at the bottom.
Step #13 – Place the Pots in the Table
Now place the floating platform over the water in the table, and then place each pot through a hole in the platform.
The roots of each plant should be submerged in the water by only a fraction of an inch. This way, they’ll get enough water to survive without being soaked.
Congratulations! Your hydroponic garden is now complete. Just ensure that the garden receives plenty of sunlight, and use your emitter to rotate water out so it doesn’t get stagnant.