Hydroponic Gardening – Common Problems Encountered By Beginners

It is not difficult to get your hydroponic system set up. Most of the Hydroponic Gardening guides, especially those for beginners, include a section on build-it-yourself hydroponic systems. They provide a parts list, a tools list, and simple step-by-step instruction on how to build your own hydroponic system.

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However, once the hydroponic unit is in operation, quite often, the beginners will discover problems, some may not be easily solved after the system has already been built. Therefore, while you are planning for your hydroponic system, it is always good to know the problems usually encountered by beginners. They may have influences to your requirements or ultimately design of your hydroponic system.

The followings are some of the examples.

Problem#1

There is a concern on just how much nutrients to be poured over the aggregate. Because for those hydroponic systems using a “light proof” container concept, you will not be able to see through the containers or down through the aggregate. So it is very difficult to gauge the amount or level of nutrient solution. Without this visibility, the plants may likely be killed by either under or overfilling.

The viable solutions can be either put a visual indicator showing the nutrient solution level or water sensors for automatic system.

Problem#2

The second problem is how often to pour nutrient over the aggregate. If you just follow the interval for your normal house plants in soil, for an example, three to five times a week, you would probably kill your hydroponic plants. For hydroponics, because of the wider air gap in the aggregate as compared to soil, the nutrient solution will tend to evaporate from the aggregate much more quickly than water from soil. So in general, you would need to supply nutrient to your plants at least once a day.

The more simple the system, the more frequently you will have to be around to add nutrient solution. The interval can be anywhere from one to four times a day depending on several factors, such as light, temperature, humidity, type and size of your plants, and the size of your container. This means that you cannot even go away for a weekend or your hydroponic plants would begin to suffer.

The solutions to this problem are either to get someone to “feed” the plants for you whenever you are away for more than a day or to have your hydroponic system automated.

Problem#3

A third problem involves proper aeration (or supply of air or oxygen) for the plants’ roots. This area usually is not a concern for soil gardening in the backyard because worms perform this function. In some hydroponic system, particularly those using PVC pipes with holes drilled for plants, too often the roots clog up the waterways and aeration in the root zone may become a problem.

Different systems will have different ways of providing proper aeration, for examples, using pumps, raised platforms or specific aggregate suitable for hydroponics.

Simple Problems?

To some people, these problems seem to be a matter of common sense. However, if you are new to this soil-less gardening concept and without going through the actual exercise once, you are likely to discover a lot of trivial problems like those mentioned if you do not have a good planning.

Read More Before Implementing

Therefore, before building your own hydroponic system, it is always a good idea to begin with reading hydroponics beginner’s guides. Take your time to read and fully understand the concept as well as the benefits and drawbacks of different types of hydroponic systems. Personally, I recommend reading at least three books because different books focus on different aspects of hydroponics based on authors’ experiences.

Besides reading guides, you can also get valuable information by visiting discussion forums related to hydroponic gardening on the internet.

Once you have enough information and more importantly understand you own needs or requirements, then you can start building your own hydroponic gardening system and have fun with it.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1162657
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