How to Get Started With Hydroponics This Year

A presentation at How to Get Started With Hydroponics This Year by Emma Young

If you have noticed that people seem to have become obsessed with gardening in recent years then you are not alone - gardening and growing plants is increasingly becoming associated with better mental health and is a fulfilling, rewarding hobby that is beneficial in many other ways. For example, by growing your own plants, whether they are houseplants, fruits and vegetables, or a flower garden outside your home, you will learn a lot about the care requirements of plants, as well as gaining an understanding of seasonal cycles, and general biology and ecology. 

Good plant husbandry starts with a little education, and don’t worry, you don’t need to go too in-depth to know everything you need to know when it comes to gardening. First things first, you will need to understand the needs of plants on a fundamental level. In order to grow successfully, all plants need the right amount of light, certain nutrients, appropriate temperatures, and water. This is true regardless of plant species, and is common to plants all over the world. 

It is important to keep in mind that plants have different specific needs depending on their native habitats. Some plants such as the oak tree have developed into many subspecies that have different characteristics depending on where they are found, and this has allowed oak to become a common sight in many parts of the world, including Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Each species is unique in some way, but they are all part of the same family. 

The same can be said for any of the plants you might want to grow here in the UK. Planting outdoors is limited by the UK climate which is known for unpredictable weather ranging from dry heat to unseasonal cold and wet weather. The plants native to the UK have acclimated to the conditions here and will usually grow reasonably well even in years where the weather is less than ideal. Plants that are native to more tropical or even arid regions don’t tend to do so well in our outdoor allotments and gardens unless they are specifically hardy species. Luckily, there is a simple way to grow non-native, sensitive plants in the UK without being at the mercy of British weather. 

The basics of hydroponics

If you were to walk into any hydroponic shop or find one online, you will likely receive similar advice. The best thing to do as a beginner is to take things one step at a time, and try a smaller setup until you are more clued up on the process. This is because growing plants using hydroponics can be expensive, especially if you buy all the kit only to find you don’t like the method. Absolute beginners should look out for a hydroponics kit that contains everything they need to get started including an LED grow light, water reservoir and nutrients, in a size that fits their space and will be manageable for them. 

A kit like this will contain the basics such as lighting, a reservoir and pump system, a grow tent, powdered or concentrated liquid nutrients, substrate, and often monitoring equipment such as thermometers. Bigger setups will likely need fans and carbon extractors, but if you are starting small then you probably won’t need to worry about this at all. A basic kit will be a cost effective way to get started, and will be the simplest way to get everything you need in order, so you can start growing plants faster. 

Shopping online for hydroponics equipment is a popular option because it means you don’t even have to leave your home to get what you need. Most hydroponics stores will offer free delivery if you spend a certain amount of money in a single transaction, and this can sweeten the deal even more. Set yourself a budget, measure your space, and think about the kind of plants you want to grow - this will help you decide on what you need to buy. 

If you’re still having trouble making your choice then you should feel free to reach out to your retailer. Tell them your budget, the size of kit you’re looking for, and the kinds of plants you want to grow and they will be able to help you choose the most appropriate kit.