Don’t rule out hydroponics when seeking a year round system for sustainable home gardening. With produce prices high at the grocery store, many folks are starting home gardens for vegetables. In many areas spring and summer is the only growing season for traditional gardens. Hydroponics can change all of that.
But wait, you say, isn’t hydroponic gardening complicated and require lots of apparatus? Pumps? Blowers? Lights and electricity? It doesn’t have to be.! There are several effective hydroponic systems that require no additional equipment. Just the box, Nutrients, Perlite and seeds or seedlings. One popular hydroponic gardening system is the Hydromatc growing box.
Invented by Robert Ferguson and designed with simplicity in mind, the Hydromatic requires no pumps. Just perlite, nutrients, and a weekly tip to drain and add new nutrient solution. With the unit placed outside, weather permitting, no lights are necessary. If winter forces your growing inside, you might want to consider a small grow light to be sure your veggies, herbs, etc have the light necessary to thrive.
Inside hydroponic growing is very friendly for all greens. Lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, herbs and more. Even in the winter in cold climates, you can have a salad selections growing in your Hydromatic year round! Your greens will grow FAST too. With a few Hydromatic hydroponic units, you can have your salads growing in several different stages so you always have produce iin several growth stages: sprouting, growing and ready to eat! Many greens germinate in only 3 days. by day 20, you can harvest! While fruited vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and squash can grow inside, you have to “be the bee” and perform pollination duties. A Q-tip works well for this.
During your traditional growing season, just pick up your light weight compact Hydromatic system and move it outside. Now, plant your tomatoes squash and cukes and whatever motivates you!
I’m loving experimenting with my own Hydromatic units. Learning what works best in terms of nutrient solution and pH. PH is one of the most important aspects to a successful hydroponic garden no matter what method you use. Most plants need a Lower pH than tap water so nutrient solutions must be balanced to the proper pH for the plants to absorb the nutrients you are feeding them. Robert has a great pH guide on his website: Hydromatic.us
The Hydromatic is affordable too. If you’ve looked at other hydroponic systems, it’s hard to find units under 50 bucks. The Hydromatic is only 29 each. OR order 4 for 27 each. Can’t beat that. They measure 24 inches long by 5X5 inches. Compact for inside or outside. You can also order (or build) the trellis which will help support heavier yeilding plants. It can also be used as a net support for cucumbers, or a light support for inside growing. Each Hydromatic unit is predrilled for the trellis installation. Funny, its also handy as a carrying handle if you want to move it around your yard.
Go on over to Hydromatic.us for more info. Bob will even sell you plans for 10 bucks so that you can build your own if you want to!