In the world of gardening, there has been a recent revolution. With fewer resources and space to farm, people have been looking for exciting and efficient ways to keep plants growing healthy and fast. One of these new methods is hydroponics.
Hydroponics consists of growing plants without soil and only providing minerals and vitamins through water and sunlight. The system is highly efficient because it allows you to grow plants even if you don’t have enough resources for them.
Vertical hydroponics is one variation of this growing system. This article will take a closer look at this gardening method and how it compares to traditional gardening.
What is Vertical Hydroponics?
There are two types of hydroponics: horizontal and vertical. Vertical hydroponics is, from the two of them, the most efficient one because it can save 90 percent of water. This is because the vertical system allows the water to go from top to bottom, providing water to each row of plants.
How Does Vertical Hydroponics Work?
Vertical hydroponics uses vertical towers to farm. The towers have water systems that pump the water to the top of the tower. Then because of gravity, the water flows down, providing nutrients to every plant. Once at the bottom, the water gets reused in a constant loop that requires supervision.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Vertical Hydroponics Systems?
Hydroponics offers many benefits, from water efficiency to saving space. But it also presents certain disadvantages compared to more traditional methods.
Advantages of Vertical Hydroponics
- The most significant advantage of hydroponic systems is that you can grow plants anywhere. There’s no need for fertile soil.
- You can reuse the water, making it a lot more efficient than soil-based methods. You can save up to 20 percent more water.
- There is no need to use pesticides as long as you give the towers a sterile environment to grow.
- There will be no nutrient leaching, which will help you save some money.
- You’ll need 20 percent less space than with traditional methods.
- Hydroponics gives you total control over the nutrient balance.
- It requires less manual labor like tilling, cultivating, fumigation, and mulching.
- You can use hydroponic growing systems every day of the year. Weather and seasons won’t be a problem.
- This method usually results in high yields.
- The harvesting process is a lot less challenging than soil-based methods.
Disadvantages of Vertical Hydroponics
- Vertical hydroponics systems are more expensive than traditional methods.
- The hydroponic system requires more supervision.
- Any mistake you make can lead to disastrous consequences.
- There’s the risk of spreading waterborne diseases a lot faster because of the hydroponics system. If there is a waterborne disease in one plant, it will probably infect the rest in a matter of hours.
- The system will malfunction if there are power outages around your area.
- You’ll need to invest in water filter systems to give the plants the necessary nutrients to grow.
Can I Convert My Soil Plants to Vertical Hydroponics?
It is possible to transplant plants from soil to hydroponics, but it requires a delicate and lengthy process.
- Start by extracting the plants carefully. Ensure that you’ve taken them out with the roots unharmed.
- Clean the roots with water and a cloth. You have to retrieve all the soil from the roots for the conversion to work.
- Now, place the plants into the vertical tower.
Note: Remember that you cannot transplant all plants from soil to hydroponics.
What Grows Best with Vertical Hydroponic Growing Systems?
Although you can grow a wide variety of plants in vertical hydroponic systems, some plants grow easier.
- Lettuce and most leafy greens are perfect for hydroponic systems. They function well in hydroponics because they have shallow roots. Because of it, it is easier to place them and let them grow.
- Spinach grows fast in hydroponic systems because it needs fewer nutrients and less water. It only requires high levels of oxygen to thrive in almost any environment. For better results, you can start these plants outside the system and wait until they’ve sprouted. Then, you can move them into the towers and let them grow.
- Strawberries are seasonal, and everyone that’s tried to grow them knows that. But, vertical hydroponics do not care what time of the year it is. They work all year round. They are easy to plant and grow, and even harvest. They are the perfect plants to grow in a hydroponic system.
- Bell peppers are a bit more tricky, but they are incredible when they grow in hydroponic systems. All you need to do is provide them with at least 18 hours of light every day and enough water to help them grow healthy and fast.
- Herbs grow perfectly in hydroponic systems, but some succeed better than others. For instance, basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, and even rosemary can benefit from a hydroponic system.
Vertical Hydroponics DIY: How to Maintain and Clean a Vertical Hydroponics Growing System
It is essential to keep your vertical hydroponic system sanitized and clean for the plants to grow healthy and fast. However, you should not kill all the microbes living in the towers, as some are necessary for the nutrients.
Here are the steps you should follow:
- The first step is to sterilize the room you keep your hydroponics in. Remember that the cleaner your room, the less risk of plant diseases to spread.
- Proceed to sanitize your tools and every component of your system.
- It is essential to remove all water that you have used many times. Clean the towers and the irrigation systems before using them again. We recommend using a pressure washer for this step, but you can use a long-handled brush as well.
- To sterilize your components, you can use some bleach or peroxide. However, ensure you’ve removed the chemicals before using your towers again.
- Additionally, you will want to clear any roots or debris out from the filters. You can do it by using a bit of bleach.
Hydroponic systems are a revolutionary way to grow plants anywhere you want. Furthermore, vertical systems can help you reduce the amount of water and space you’ll need. Now, vertical hydroponics need more supervision, and they cost a lot more, but they provide excellent benefits for your crops.
Overall, vertical hydroponic systems are the best way to grow plants year-round and in small spaces. If you mount them correctly, they will provide benefits and advantages depending on your goals.