Hydroponic Wars is an original American reality series following a young entrepreneur named Hydro Yo, the Hydroponic Warriors, and a group of hydroponic stores comprising Hydroponic Wars Nation. Giving viewers a fresh new look on what it takes to be successful in hydroponics and indoor gardening.
One of the most demanding things about being an ambitious hydroponics grower is that you always have to work hard to keep reaching that next level of hydroponics growing. You play with your nutrient solution, experiment with lights, and try other methods always to keep improving your yields. These components are the core backbone of your hydroponics operations, and all the smart growing instructions in the world will not help your garden grow bigger or better if you do not have all your ducks in a row.
It’s not enough to just have your hydroponic gardening nutrients and supplements sitting along the side of the room. Invest in a good cabinet or shelf where you can group your nutrients, supplements, fungicides, and other essential nutrient tools together. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that you will reach a point where it seems like you cannot get any more out of your garden. When that time comes, it is time to start thinking about basic hydroponics tips that you can employ to reach that next level of development in your hydroponic garden.
Here are few of the smartest tips you can use right away if you wish to grow bigger, higher quality yields.
We love hearing from our readers, and just recently, we got a great question about what kind of government support there is for people looking to start farming with hydroponics.
This is such a timely topic! The world’s population is currently at 7.6 billion people, and it’s projected to hit 9.7 billion by the year 2050. Experts are constantly talking about how we need to start thinking about better, more sustainable ways to feed future populations. Hydroponics could be one of the go-to approaches because you can grow plants rapidly, and in habitats that don’t normally support them.
There are so many pros and cons to the hydroponic approach, but here are a few:
-Plants grow so much faster and abundantly than they do in traditional farming
-No seasonal growing constraints, thanks to nutrient solutions, artificial lights, heaters and indoor growing conditions
-Most pests and predators are kept at bay
-The start-up costs for the required equipment are incredibly expensive
-Very high running costs to keep heaters, lights, water purifiers and pumps constantly operating
-Quite a bit of supervision is required
If you’re willing to do some research, there is available cash out there to help you get started in hydroponic farming, and to maintain your business as well. We did some searching of our own and made a few calls. Maybe some of the ideas below can help you make the switch:
There are multiple U.S. government grants available for those wanting to switch over to hydroponic farming. For example….
The latest and largest hydroponics acquisition by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. pushes its investment past $1 billion in suppliers and distributors serving the emerging medical marijuana market as well as increased interest in indoor vegetable cultivation.
The Marysville company plans to acquire Sunlight Supply Inc., the nation’s largest distributor of indoor-growing equipment, for $450 million by June 1, pending regulatory approval. The purchase includes $25 million of equity Scotts already held in the company.
The Vancouver, Washington, distributor and manufacturer’s $460 million in 2017 sales might seem small next to Scotts’ $2.64 billion, but CEO Jim Hagedorn in recorded remarks called the deal “one of our most important (announcements) ever.”
It also apparently ends the string of acquisitions for its Hawthorne Gardening Co. subsidiary that started in 2014 to stake a claim in the cannabis market as more states approved its recreational and medicinal use. Scotts had invested more than $600 million before Sunlight, Hagedorn said.
Scotts is unique among mainstream corporations in making a strategic decision for aggressive expansion in cannabis-adjacent businesses very early in the industry’s growth, said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics at New Frontier Data, a Washington, D.C. data analytics firm focused on the cannabis industry nationwide.
“You are now starting to see more companies not just exploring but….
All plants need fertilizer to live. In traditional gardening and farming, plants get their nutrients from soil and additive such as compost, manure, and chemical fertilizers. In hydroponics, plants are not grown in soil so nutrients must be delivered directly through the solution they are watered with.
These nutrients are divided into two categories – macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those that plants need in large amounts, including carbon, phosphorous, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Micronutrients are needed in tiny amounts but are essential. These include zinc, nickel, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, boron, and chlorine.
Without these essential elements, plants are unable to build molecules, undergo enzymatic reactions, and complete the life cycle. For hydroponic gardeners, this means that without proper nutrients they cannot produce fruit or vegetables or that what they do produce would be sub par.
PH is also an essential element to consider. The pH value of a nutrient solution has a huge impact on the amount of nutrition a plant can absorb. It is essential to check pH levels on a regular basis, preferably daily even if you are careful about measuring and mixing your nutrient solution correctly.
Different plants have slightly different requirements for pH value and nutrient concentration. If you are going to be growing a large variety of plants in your system make sure to research the requirements for each so that you can group them in terms of their needs.
A single plant’s needs may also change under different environmental conditions such as weather, season, and temperature. This isn’t an issue for indoor setups that have a controlled environment but is something to consider if your system is located outside.
Nutrient solution must be kept at a steady temperature.
Why isn’t there hydroponic greenhouse iceberg lettuce?
Lettuce is the 2nd most popular vegetable in the US (second only to potato), and head lettuce is certainly the most recognizable type. So, it is not uncommon for us to hear the question “Why don’t you produce iceberg lettuce in the greenhouse?” There are, in fact, several key reasons iceberg lettuce is not commonly grown in vegetable greenhouses in the United States. They are listed below and loosely ranked by importance, but these reasons may vary depending on production area and market.
1) Market potential and price
One of the most important reasons that we do not see head lettuce in the greenhouse is because the economics of the market are not always encouraging. Nearly all of US head lettuce is produced in California (spring through fall) and Arizona (winter). Huge expanses of open field production are dedicated to lettuce production in some of the most productive cropping areas in the world. Soil and climate factors make these regions quite appropriate for head lettuce production and the scale of production also contributes to competitive advantages. For example, recent terminal market data reported that head lettuce cartons (approximately two dozen 2 lb. heads of lettuce) are selling for $11.00 to $17.00. These prices illustrate that greenhouse producers are unlikely and unwilling to produce head lettuce at prices that could be competitive with field production. An additional facet to this topic of markets is that recent per capita consumption of head lettuce has been flat or on the slight decline as other leafy vegetables have become more popular.
Iceberg lettuce typical in California open field production. Specific cultivars are slotted in specific times of year for production regions of CA and AZ across the entire year.
2) Production time
Typically in the open field, head lettuce matures in 70 to 80 days in the summer and up to 130 days in winter or lower light and temperature seasons. Of course one of the benefits of greenhouse production is the potential for faster growth rates and reduced production times. To date, in summer greenhouse production in OH, we have harvested our iceberg lettuce approximately 55 to 60 days after seeding. However, the total weight of our lettuce may not equal field packed cartons. This production time contrasts with a bibb production schedule in the greenhouse which might produce a crop in 40 to 50 days.
As consumers become conscious of the nutrient and antioxidant levels in their food, they continue to become more discerning in food purchases. Due to underlying genetics, plant growth form and a few other factors, iceberg lettuce is not the most nutrient dense leafy green vegetable. The table below (From USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 24 ) gives average nutrient information for the most common types of lettuce. Remember that these are averages from primarily soil grown crops from around the country, so they do not represent the exact profile of product from individual greenhouses or cultivars. Nevertheless, this table does support the generally held perception that iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients per serving that other lettuces and certainly other leafy greens. However, keep in mind that iceberg lettuce from greenhouses has been less often evaluated than that from the open field.
Takeaway:Due to various pressures, the planet is losing plant diversity at an alarming rate. This is not god for ecosystems or humans. Lee Allen asked numerous experts for their opinion to see if hydroponics could be part of the solution. “It’s not the fastest or strongest that survive. It’s the ones most adaptive to change.” — Charles Darwin
An annual report that examines the state of the world’s plants shows that there are approximately 390,000 plant species globally, with 2,000 new species of plants discovered each year. From a pure numbers perspective, that is good news.
Researchers at England’s Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, however, also note in their global assessment of flora that “one in five of the known plant species is threatened with extinction” due to a variety of factors like disease, urban encroachment, and climate change. Damian Carrington, environment editor at the Guardian, a British daily newspaper with a continent-spanning team of environmental journalists tracking the effects of man-made climate change, quoted the director of the report as saying, “Plants are absolutely fundamental to mankind—without them we would not be here. We’re facing some devastating realities if we don’t take stock and reexamine our priorities (because) the genetic diversity in our foods is becoming poorer and poorer.”
Though we stumble across a couple of thousand new plant species each year, we are annually losing more than that through habitat destruction for farming, deforestation for timber, infrastructure construction to accommodate urbanization, and the growing impact of climate change.