Growing your plants with a hydroponic system is a very efficient way of growing high quality produce, although, as with everything else, a little knowledge and experience is required. With a hydroponic setup, plants do not grow in soil – they are placed in a soilless medium, such as clay pellets, that serve to stabilise and support the plant. Aside from this, the nutrients (food) for the plant are given directly to the roots via a nutrient solution. Watering your plants in your hydroponic setup, whether at home or in a greenhouse business, is therefore a very important issue. Here’s a small list of what you should consider when it comes to this.
There’s no easy answer
Nobody can give you a straightforward answer, like ‘once every hour,’ or ‘spray for five minutes every other hour’. There are simply too many variables that make the watering requirements different in each and every case. Environmental factors such as air temperature, water temperature, humidity, wind factor, and the type and size of the plants all figure into the equation as well.
However, the rule of thumb is this: water the plant often enough for the plant to receive all its nutrients. Not too often, because the roots might drown, but make sure it happens often enough so the roots don’t dry out, either. Growers can only gauge and decide on a schedule after some observation. Following is a further guide:
What the roots need
As mentioned, roots need to be watered regularly to prevent them from drying out. Growers may be tempted to water too much because the more they water the roots, the more nutrients a plant may receive. Be careful, however – the roots can take in only a certain amount of nutrients per unit of time – depending on the genetics of the plant – so overwatering can be damaging as well. Furthermore, exposing your plants to too much watering may deprive the roots of much-needed oxygen. Keep in mind, though, that the roots need to stay wet and moist and cannot be allowed to dry out.
The ideal system
Healthy roots have a beautiful white appearance and show signs of strength; roots that are turning a yellowish or brownish colour show signs of over- or under-watering. The goal is to keep the roots as healthy as possible, and this will require regular observation.
Most growers begin with a regime of watering for about twenty to thirty minutes, then leaving the roots without water for anywhere between an hour and two-and-a-half hours. They adjust the schedule according to their findings.
Watering your plants the correct way – as often as possible but not too often – and with the correct nutrient solution is essential for proper and healthy growth in your hydroponic setup. The question ‘how often do I water my plants?’ will always receive an ambiguous answer, but don’t let that stop you; all it takes is a little bit of experience – and carefully-chosen HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES, of course – and you will soon discover for yourself the happy medium perfect for your setup.
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