Growing your own fruit and vegetables at home may be something you’ve considered before, but if you’ve hesitated because of the space the plants will take up or the mess it will make in your home, the good news is that neither of these things need to stop you. Whether you have no floor space to spare, can’t grow outdoors, or simply don’t consider yourself green-fingered, it’s never been easier to grow your own crops at home.
What is Hydroponic Growing?
Hydroponic growing is a method of growing plants in nutrient enriched water – just water and nutrients. There’s no soil involved; instead, nutrition is added directly to the water, to make up for what the plants would normally receive from the soil. Many plants will root and grow in something as simple as a glass jar, but you can make your hydroponic systemas big or as little as you want.
What can I grow?
You can grow a massive variety of vegetables hydroponically so it really depends on what your favorites are.
Here’s a list of ten common fruit and veggies to get you started:
Probably the most common vegetable to be hydroponically grown, it’s not unusual to find people placing the head of a used lettuce into a glass or jar filled with water and leaving it to regrow. It really is that simple! You can harvest the lettuce as it grows, meaning you can have crispy lettuce leaves to add to your salads or sandwiches without affecting later harvests.
As with many leafy vegetables, spinach also grows well in hydroponic systems. It is a cool plant, meaning it does not require much light and likes cool to warm temperatures so storing it near a window is the best option to ensure your spinach flourishes. You can harvest spinach all at once, or tear off some leaves as and when you need it.
Whether you think of the tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, you can definitely grow it without soil. Many types of tomato take well to hydroponic systems, including traditional and cherry tomatoes. Whichever variety you grow, tomatoes require a lot of light. The good news is that, as they are a vine and can be trained to grow upwards, they only require a small amount of ground space.
Given enough space and support, cucumbers will grow abundantly in a hydroponic system – which is no surprise given that it is a water loving fruit. Cucumber vines grow vertically, so it’s important to ensure they have some sort of structure or support to hold them up.
Similar to tomatoes, peppers require lots of light and warm conditions. There are a few varieties or pepper that take well to hydroponic growing, but some of the best are Jalapeno, Habanero, Nairobi and Fellini.
Celery is a great way to snack healthy, as well as being a great addition to soups, stir fries, and stews. The fastest way to grow celery at home is to use the base of the last bunch you had from the grocery store. Simply place the celery on a plate of room temperature water until you see new growth from the roots, and then you can transplant it into your hydro system – even if that just means placing it into a tall glass which can support the celery as it grows.
Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, thriving in cool conditions and not requiring much light. They are usually harvest within a month, meaning you can have multiple harvests in a year. That being said, if radishes are kept constantly and persistently soaked, rot can become an issue, so make sure it’s the roots that are kept in water, rather than the radish itself.
When it comes to spring onions, you can use the ends of a shop-bought onion and place it in a glass to allow for regrowth, or you can start them from bulbs. The bulbs and roots will sit down in the water, whilst the leafy green stems will rise upward: this makes it possible to grow a lot in a small amount of space.
Kale is another leaf that is easy to grow in hydroponic system; in fact, it has been farmed hydroponically for years. The crop grows relatively quickly, and will happily regrow if you only harvest a couple of leaves at a time.
As strawberries enjoy wet conditions, they actually thrive in a hydroponic system; they provide bigger fruits than when grown in soil and can provide harvest all year round. Using a hydroponic system also means that strawberry plantcontainers can be stacked vertically, saving you floor space.
Hydroponic growing is becoming more popular due to the fact that in can be done from anywhere and doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. It’s a great way to get the satisfaction of growing your own crops, without needing a large gardening space.
We at the Nick Greens Grow Team understand that not everyone has the space to grow their own crops, but the joy of hydroponics is the simplicity of the process. Want to learn more about growing plants in water systems? Stay up-to-date with our weekly blog articles, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to learn more.