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On the Farm

A farmdog keeps an eye on a flock of sheep on a Taihape farm

A dog keeps an eye on a flock of ewe lambs near Taihape Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

Cast ewes are keeping farmers on the lambing beat busy in Hawke’s Bay and winter maintenance is much more pleasant with the sun peeking out on the West Coast.

In the Bay of Islands, the soil temperature is higher than usual so grass is growing at quite a pace – and that has led to good store prices for cattle. However, the high cost of feed for Friesian bull calves has put people off buying them to rear.

Around Pukekohe, by mid week, rain cleared to fine sunny weather.

In Waikato, farmers are also struggling to sell bobby calves so things are tricky with longer waiting times still an issue at the local freezing works. Pasture remains puggy underfoot and farmers say they do not want any more rain for some time as July had double the usual amount. But the sun shone later in the week and farmers expect low lying land to dry out. Some have started oversowing paddocks damaged by the wet. Cattle floundering in the mud has also taken its toll. Calving is flat out and farmers are working hard to look after their stock amid the on-going labour shortage.


The sun came out in Waikato this week Photo: Sarah Fraser

In the Bay of Plenty near Te Puke, milk fever is an ongoing trial as cows were calving during grotty conditions.  Farmers have been putting supplements in drinking troughs to counter the problem but because there is so much surface water, cows haven’t been drinking very much from them. But everyone is pleased there has been blue sky for some of the week and one farmer says he has had three sets of twins from his herd so far. Avocado trees in Katikati are sulking in the saturated ground and growers are concerned they may develop root rot. However, the fruit is looking good and batches will be harvested and exported in a couple of weeks.  

In the Gisborne region, farms are in clean-up mode. The wet weather has left slips and inaccessible roads. A river even changed its course – blocking off a farm in Ruatoria. Lambing is in full swing and the sun has also been out here this week, amid a few showers of rain. Crops of squash that had to be left to rot in the wet are being ploughed back into the ground and the next project is to prepare the paddocks for re-planting. The mandarin and orange season is nearly over and orchardists say they have got rather sick of slopping around in muddy conditions. The demand for locally grown lumber off-shore has led to an extra berth being built at the Gisborne port. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Further down the east coast in Hawke’s Bay, traditional farmers are not impressed about the increasing number of forest blocks popping up. However, the wild deer are pleased as they leap over fences in places like Patoka and Puketitiri to gobble up the young trees. Quite a few ewes are getting cast and some farmers are doing their lambing beat a couple of times a day to get them back on their feet. The skies have been clear and paddocks are drying out.  Cattle are grazing pastures before the ewes are put on them so they don’t get too fat and have bearings – or prolapses – as they lamb.

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Photo: Sophie Barnes

Wairarapa streams are running at full brim and water is even bubbling out of the ground in some places as the water table continues to peak. We know of one farmer who has had to kayak to the end of the drive to collect his groceries. Some farmers and viticulturists are annoyed they were not allowed to use diggers to remove excess metal and shingle clogging up streams and creeks over summer – because it has led to flooded paddocks which will need to be re-sown. Surface water is still visible in some parts of the region. Most vineyards have finished pruning and early buds are appearing and some of last year’s wine that has been maturing in tanks is starting to be bottled.

On coastal Taranaki, it is a case of getting everyone in the family to help as calving is in full swing amid a labour shortage. Children and grandparents are chipping in to check on cows and calves as well as have a go at other general farm maintenance jobs. Calving is going well and the winter temperatures are pretty mild compared to some previous years.

In Horowhenua, there have been a few frosts followed by fine days – a relief for crop farmers who have not been able to plant broccoli and cauliflower because it has been so wet. It is likely to mean a shortage of veges in October and November. On top of that, trucks trying to transport harvested crops of broccoli, spring onions and lettuce have been getting stuck in mud. Crop farmers say the quality of those vegetables is poor. Cattle and sheep have also been causing muddier conditions as they graze in soggy paddocks. But as one farmer says “that’s just the way it is and they are a resilient lot!”

Across the Cook Strait to Golden Bay where a farmer says all he has been doing is “focusing on that big round warm beautiful thing in the sky that I haven’t seen for a few months!” The area has been having a week of frosts and enjoying some sunshine. Grass silage and hay have been in demand and a lot of feed has been used up. Calving is busy and lambing does not start for at least another month for many. A deer farmer says venison is fetching more than $8 a kilo which is pleasing after the drop during Covid. The rise is due to more people wining and dining again.

In Marlborough, grape growers are also pleased with the prices they are getting. There is high demand this season for contract grape growers. Pruning should be just about over and, like everyone else, vineyard owners are still finding it difficult getting machinery and tractors through muddy vineyards.    

Farm building ruins in Waitaki Valley

Farm building ruins in Waitaki Valley Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

On the West Coast, farmers are also seeing the sun for the first time in a few months. It has made winter maintenance jobs such as fencing more pleasant. Some dairy farmers have just started calving. Grass growth would be appreciated but farmers have plenty of supplements and silage on hand.  

Snow on Canterbury’s upper plains set the scene for a very cold week. Temperatures have been low and in single digits most of the week with a cold air mass present. Farm maintenance continues, especially anything that can be done in the workshop where it is marginally warmer. Conditions for stock are arduous. Farmers holding last year’s lambs to fatten and sell in spring are pleased about the decent prices being paid at the works and hope they will continue. Stock are on kale and green feed oats. The rain has meant crop farmers are behind with weed spraying.  When the paddocks dry out a little more, everyone will be busy on arable land getting paddocks ready for grains, potatoes and carrots. “We just keep going and we will come out the other end of it,” says one farmer.

And in Southland, there have been some hard frosts and snow at quite low levels with cold temperatures but thankfully no wind. Ewes are being shorn amid continued low prices for wool. Lambing starts next month. Calving is well underway and the cows are munching their way through beet and swede fodder crops.



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What is Hydroponic Farming?

Have you ever heard about farming without soil? How about hydroponic farming? This method dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

But it is through the revolutionary, high technology we enjoy today that we can finally make it possible to grow crops efficiently without soil.

Many investors are betting on this game-changing art of gardening and farming, and huge greenhouses are popping up all over America.

But there are just more than 2,300 farms in the USA.

If you’re planning to jump on the bandwagon and try hydroponic farming, you came to the right place.

In this beginner-friendly guide, we’ll introduce you to hydroponic farming and give you a glimpse about:

  • what is hydroponics, and how do hydroponic systems work
  • what advantages can this method offer, and what are its drawbacks
  • and how safe is this farming technique

This guide will help you get more insight into hydroponics and its cutting-edge technology and make the right decision. So, let’s dive right into it. 

what is hydroponics in agriculture

what is hydroponics in agriculture

What is Hydroponic Farming System?

Hydroponic farming is the method of cultivating plants without using soil. The Latin word hydroponics means “working water.”

Therefore, water replaces the soil in this farming technique, and it’s the one that delivers nutrients to the plants.

So, instead of exerting energy on looking for nutrients in the soil, the crop’s roots can focus on their growth because the nutrients are easily accessible.

As a result, the plants can grow quicker and healthier.

In traditional farming, plants need soil to provide water and nutrients, but it’s unnecessary during the photosynthesis process.

So, as long as there’s water and nutrients, they can sustain themselves and survive.

Types of Hydroponic Farming System

There are numerous hydroponics systems, but the basics are the following.

1. Deep Water Culture System

A deep water culture system or DWC system is the easiest method in hydroponic farming because it lets water aerate for the plants.

This system is the most popular way in the market.

In this system, the net pots holding the plant are deep directly in the water, which helps the plant roots submerge and access the nutrients.

It’s effortless to assemble even in your house. You don’t have to buy heavy equipment; instead, you can only use a bucket or old aquarium where you can put the nutrient solution.

However, your plant’s survival depends on the proper and enough oxygenation. And it would help if you prevented the stem from submerging.

2. Wick System

The Wick system is where you need to use a growing tray to hold the plants. Then, you need to place the tray at the top of the nutrient solution container.

You don’t need a pump or machine; instead, you place a wick from the growing tray to the reservoir.

With the help of capillary action, the wick will absorb the water and nutrients from the container. Then, it transfers the nutrients to your plants.

This way suits you if you’re a beginner because the wick would constantly water your plant even if you’re away.

You can also put coco coir or vermiculite to help store the nutrients for later use for your plants.

The downside of this system is the slower growth of your plants than the other, so it is prone to fungal outbreaks.

3. Nutrient Film Technique System

In this system, there are channels where the net pot is placed, and the water continuously flows over the roots of the plants.

Mostly, the channel is tilted to allow the water to flow easily. And it needs an aerated such as air stone and water pump to let the water travel upward back to the channel.

Unlike the deepwater system, the nutrient solution of the NFT system flows over your plant’s roots.

However, you also need to change the water every week to ensure that your plant receives its nutrition.

It would also keep them clean and avoid the buildup of algae.

This system would likely fit large-scale farming or commercial scale because it can be easily expanded.

4. Ebb and Flow System

The unique thing about this ebb and flow system is its timer. The water pump starts filling the grow bed with the nutrient solution from the container below.

And when the timer stops, the water slowly drains back to the reservoir with the help of gravity.

To control the water, you need to equip the grow bed with an overflow tube. And it prevents the stem and fruits from getting wet,

So, when water is in the grow bed, plant roots would eventually drink the nutrients. After draining, it would allow the roots to oxygenate before another waterflood.

In this way, faster growth of your plants is possible.

And any vegetation suits this system. However, it depends on your plant size and the grow bed or tray depth.

5. Drip System

This system is also one of the most popular methods among commercial growers. It allows the nutrients to pump to slowly drip into the tube of individual plants, which keeps them well-nourished.

The drip system comes in two different configurations.

First is the recovery system, which is famous for home growers. It circulated the water to the plants and drained back to the reservoir.

The other is the non-recovery systems, which are also famous for commercial growers.

After the plants have absorbed the nutrients, the remaining water drains into a tube and becomes waste.

So, it is convenient to plant large crops like melon, onions, pumpkins, and zucchinis.

6. Aeroponics

Aeroponics is also a unique way of doing hydroponic farming. You can do it vertically like a tower or horizontally like a cube.

It allows the plant to suspend in the air and expose its roots to nutrient solutions.
The nutrients will be pumped from the reservoir to the plants like a mist by a nozzle.

The mist is usually spread at the top and cascades down to the chamber for a vertical type.

The advantage of this system is it consumes 95% less water to let the plants grow because of its vertical structure. And it suits well in a little area for growers.

It performs highest among other systems because of its versatility and eco-friendly way.

And terms of its mobility, it can be transported to any location because of its vertical design.

What is Vertical Hydroponic Farming?

what is vertical hydroponic farmingwhat is vertical hydroponic farmingVertical hydroponic farming is a way of stacking up several layers of farm space on top of one another in a vertical direction instead of the conventional horizontal method. 

It’s also known as tower hydroponics or tower gardens.

They’re the perfect solution for those who want to create large farms within city limits. 

How does vertical hydroponics work? 

Vertical hydroponics, also known as tower hydroponics, works using conventional hydroponic techniques in an upright and gravity-fed system.

With the help of high-powered pumps, the nutrient is fed from the top and collected at the bottom.

This compact design is space-saving and efficient, but it requires a higher upfront cost and more resources. It’s also prone to water flow problems and light supply issues.

But on a lighter note, it’s perfect for balconies, patios, and rooftops, thanks to its compact design.

What can you grow in vertical hydroponics?

There are lots of crops that you can grow in a vertical hydroponic tower, which include the following plants:

  • Strawberry
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Flowering petunia
  • Mint
  • Okra
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Radish
  • Cabbage
  • Chamomile
  • Dandelion
  • Eggplant
  • Melons
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Wheat

What is Indoor Hydroponic GardeningWhat is Indoor Hydroponic Gardening

What is Indoor Hydroponic Gardening?

One of the benefits of hydroponic’s cutting-edge technology is you can grow plants without soil indoors all year round, regardless of what happens outside your door. 

You can also control the factors that affect your crop’s growth, making it easy, hassle-free, and time-saving. 

Hydroponics usually inhabits inside greenhouses or large warehouses, and they depend on artificial lights rather than sunlight. 

This time we’ll answer more about hydroponic farming to help you understand this system. 

Is Hydroponic Farming Organic?

Most hydroponic systems are not organic, but some system can qualify as organic if it meets the guidelines set forth by the National Organic Program (NOP). 

Hydroponic farming does not use soil. But systems like the nutrient film technique utilizes microbial activity to produce plant nutrients that can meet the organic standards. 

Its produce is both hydroponic and organic because the system uses approved organic materials and nutrient solutions produced by an organic digestion system.

Is Hydroponic Farming Healthy?

Most hydroponically grown plants have a similar nutrient count to their soil-grown counterpart.

They can even sometimes be more nutritious, just like hydroponically grown sprouts, since they draw nutrients directly from nutrient water solutions. 

The amount of nutrients varies depending on the plant type and the stem used. But generally, hydroponically grown plants can be just as nutritious as those grown in soil. 

Is Hydroponic Farming Safe?

Most hydroponic systems don’t need pesticides. Therefore, using hydroponics can avoid damaging the soil, killing nearby plants, and harming animals like birds. 

Furthermore, hydroponic farming minimizes water loss.

It only needs 10% as much water as you’d need for the soil because the water supply is cycled repeatedly to deliver nutrients to the plants. 

It also requires no topsoil, so you don’t have to worry about topsoil erosion. 

Hydroponically grown crops are safe for production and human consumption because they’re free from pests, soil-borne diseases, and pesticides.

There’s no need to worry about foreign contaminants and temperature fluctuations. 

Is Hydroponic Better than Soil?

Generally, hydroponics is better than soil because it uses less water, grows plants faster, and grows more in less space because you can stack it vertically. 

It offers lots of advantages, but there are also downsides to it. So, to help you figure out if hydroponic farming is for you, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of this farming method. 

advantages of hydroponic farming

advantages of hydroponic farming

Advantages and Downsides of Hydroponics

Hydroponics may sound complex, but it’s more convenient and has a lot of edge over the traditional farming method.

So here’s a rundown of its advantages, including its drawbacks, to help you find out if this art of gardening is for you.

What are the benefits of hydroponic farming?

Conserves water

Hydroponic farming uses recirculated water, and it allows up to 90% more efficient use of water than traditional farming in soil.  

Only 0.1% of the water taken through the plant’s roots is used by the plant because most of that goes into the air through evapotranspiration.

So, think about how much water you can save when switching to hydroponic farming. 

According to World Health Organization’s 2020 report, only 74% of the world’s population, or 5.8 billion people, used a safely managed drinking water service.

More than 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, and the figures are expected to rise due to population growth and climate change. 

Therefore, water conservation is crucial and agricultural irrigation will be more difficult and less profitable. 

Maximizes space

Hydroponics is space-saving, especially when combined with vertical farming techniques. 

In fact, vertical hydroponic farming can use up to 99% fewer lands compared to typical farming techniques. 

How is this possible? The plant’s roots don’t need to spread out to search for nutrients because the water delivers the nutrients directly.

So, each plant’s roots take up less space, and if you’d use vertical hydroponic systems, you can save more space. 

Facilitates micro-climate 

You can plant all year round because the hydroponic plants inside temperature-controlled facilities don’t rely on outside weather.

Even the amount of sun isn’t a problem because you can install artificial glow lights. 

You don’t have to worry about floods, drought, pest problems, and other natural catastrophes that can damage the crops and affect the prices. 

Hydroponic farming makes it possible for you to grow and harvest your strawberries and other crops even during winter. 

Grows crops faster

It takes several months before most fruits and vegetables reach maturity when using the traditional farming method. 

But hydroponic plants’ growth rate is 30 to 50% faster than soil-grown plants because the nutrients are easily accessible for the plant’s roots to absorb.

Nutrient control 

Hydroponic farming systems feed plants with nutrients directly to their roots, and you can have complete control over what to put into the water. 

As long as you put the right amount, your plants will be able to survive because they have everything they need. There’s no need to look for nutrients in the soil. 

Produces higher yields

Since you can control the factors that influence the growth and maturing process, like light and hydration, hydroponic farming is a streamlined approach for faster-growing plants and yield. 

Hydroponic greenhouses can produce around 240 times the yield of other farming methods. 

Does not require soil

We lost around half of the world’s topsoil in the past 150 years due to soil erosion, compaction nutrient degradation, and soil structure and salinity loss.

Since the population is growing and the amount of soil to plant is shrinking, we really need a game-changing alternative to traditional farming. 

Furthermore, many plants strongly prefer a specific soil type, so not all fields or areas are suited for all kinds of crops.

But with hydroponic farming, the soil type will not be a problem. 

And since there’s no need for soil, that means there’s no soil erosion too. 

Produces fresh and high-quality food

Fresher is better when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but many areas don’t have access to fresh foods due to climate and soil conditions. 

The solution for traditional farming is to pick the produce before it’s ripe and ripen it in warehouses and others use ethylene gas to ripen it artificially. 

But since you can grow different crops anytime and anywhere, you can pick them at the peak of their ripeness and enjoy fresh food with more nutrients and better taste than artificially ripened produce. 

It doesn’t need pesticides.

Hydroponically grown plants are insulated from many problems faced with traditional farming as they don’t need pesticides and insecticides.

That’s why it’s safe for human consumption and environment-friendly. 

Time-saving and cost-effective

There’s no need for tilling, weeding, herbicide, insecticide, pesticide application, and other labor-intensive jobs in hydroponic farming. 

Therefore, you can save considerable money and time in producing crops.

Easy harvesting

Most hydroponically grown plants are placed on counters, benches, or tables, so they’re usually at the waist height of most growers.

So, there’s no need to bend down or kneel to reach the plants at ground level. 

So, this farming system is advantageous for people with limited mobility or physical ailments. 

What are the disadvantages of hydroponics?

Here are the drawbacks you need to consider before switching to hydroponic farming. 

1. Expensive setup

Hydroponic systems are more expensive to acquire and build than traditional gardens.

But the cost varies depending on the system type and size and whether it’s prefabricated or customized. 

2. Dependence on electricity

Hydroponic grow lights, water pumps, fans, aerators, and other devices all rely on electricity, whether you’re using an active or passive system. 

But power outages can be more detrimental to plants in active systems if unnoticed by growers. 

3. Needs constant monitoring and maintenance

If you switch to hydroponic farming, you need to monitor all the systems, including the lights, temperature, pH level, electrical conductivity, and other factors crucial in maintaining a carefully controlled growing environment. 

Not to mention the nutrient solution that needs flushing and regular replacement and the system parts that need regular cleaning to prevent buildup and clogging. 

4. Risks of waterborne diseases

There’s a higher risk of waterborne diseases since the plants in hydroponics are grown in water. And it can spread quickly and affect the whole plant collection quickly. 

Some of the enemies you need to look out for are fungi like Fusarium and molds such as Pythium and Phytophthora. These molds can come from dirty plant trays, plugs, or greenhouse surfaces. 

This problem calls for the need for additional filtering systems. It means extra cost, but if you want to protect your plants and the consumers of your product, it’ll be worth it.

The use of fungicide flush and disinfectant products between successive plantings can also help. 

5. Problems affect the plants quicker

Soil plays a vital role in protecting the roots from extreme temperature changes and slowing down diseases and pests from attacking the plants.

So, without soil, these problems can affect the hydroponically grown plants negatively in no time. 

Is Hydroponic Farming Profitable?

One of the most crucial considerations when planning to build hydroponics is its profitability.

This section will discuss how much you will make in hydroponic farming and if it’s worth it. 

So, are hydroponics farms profitable?

Yes, hydroponics is profitable. In fact, one-acre farmland can yield around $200,000 to $250,000 per year.

That’s approximately 90% bigger than traditional farming, which yields between $20,000 and $30,000 annually in the same farmland size. 

How much do hydroponic farmers make?

Hydroponic farmers generate an average revenue of $21.15 per square foot. A vertical farming system can yield anywhere between  $2.13 and $100, but the average is $41.16 per square foot.

Even flower growers reported having profitable hydroponic farms. 

On average, indoor vertical farms earn around $14.88 per square foot after operational costs. 

It’s worth noting, though, that larger the hydroponic farm means higher operating expenses on seeds, growing mediums, and nutrients or fertilizers. 

what is hydroponically grown plant

what is hydroponically grown plant

What crop is the most profitable crop in hydroponics? 

The most profitable crops to grow in hydroponics are leafy greens like lettuce because they’re the least costly in terms of operation, and they grow quickly.

It will cost you just around $20 to maintain one square foot of hydroponically grown lettuce.  

But there are also other options you can choose from. Here’s a list of the most profitable hydroponic crops to grow. 

1. Lettuce

Lettuce is the perfect kick-starter for beginners in hydroponics because it’s easy to grow, and you can already harvest it in 6 to 8 weeks.

If you’d constantly turn over the crop, you can have fresh lettuce year-round.

Since your lettuce is free from pesticides and dirt, you can sell it at a higher price. 

Tip: If you’re growing loose-leaf varieties like buttercrunch and planning to sell them, try packaging them as living lettuce with intact roots.

It can help to keep the leaves looking healthy for a longer time.

2. Microgreens

Fresh microgreens are immensely po0ular in the culinary world today.

If you’re wondering what microgreens are, they’re essentially seedlings of edible veggies and herbs such as basil, arugula, beets, kale, and cilantro. 

Microgreens are visually appealing. They’re usually used as garnishes or dressed in vinaigrette as a salad. They may be minuscule, but they’re packed with flavor and nutrients. 

Chefs are willing to pay around $25-50 per pound, depending on your location and the local demand. 

Since you’ll harvest it just as the leaves start to unfurl, they’re so quick to grow. For example, radish microgreens are ready for harvest in as little as five days.

3. Herbs


The Basil varieties perfect for hydroponics are Rubin, Purple Ruffles and Delight, Dark Opal, and Basil Bicolor. These herbs filled with flavor and aroma can sell for $14 per pound.


This low-maintenance herb from coriander can be harvested about five weeks after transplant.

Germination may last for 14 days since the coriander seeds are hard, but they’ll quickly grow once the sprout appears. You can sell it for $6 per pound.

Mint and Dill

These widely popular herbs can also sell for $14 per pound. Dill can serve as condiments, while mint adds flavor to mint chocolate chip ice cream, lamb dishes, and mojito cocktails. 


Fresh chives are popular as a garnish due to their appearance, aroma, and mild onion flavor.

You may have to wait for four weeks before transplanting chives and another 3 to 4 weeks to harvest, but they can sell for $14 per pound. 

Bay leaves

Bay leaves are evergreen trees, so that they can become very tall, so your space is worth considering when planning to plant this aromatic herb.

Fresh and dried bay leaves can add aroma and taste to different dishes, costing $30 per pound. 

4. Daisies

Gerbera daisies are also profitable since they grow faster in water and are not vulnerable to outdoor bugs or pests. You can sell it to local florists or grocery stores.

5. Strawberries

This fruit plant takes longer to develop than other plants in this article, but they can be prolific producers once established. 

They’re also ideal for vertical hydroponics and allow you to save space in your home.

Is hydroponic farming cost-effective?

Hydroponic farming is cost-effective, but it requires an upfront initial investment.

But once you’re done setting up and your farm is already running, you can expect faster plant growth and higher plant production and ROI than ordinary soil. 

How Hydroponic Farming is Done?

In this section, we’ll dive into

How do I start a hydroponic farm?

Hydroponic farming is not as expensive and doesn’t take as vast space as expected. It’s easy to start and maintain.
1. To start doing this way of farming, you can consider some tips:
2. Be practical by beginning in a small quantity
3. Patiently wait for the plants to grow better, and don’t stop planting
4. Be distinctive with your hydroponic plants, and don’t take it as a competition with other farmers
5. In farming, you always want to earn, but always remember that working hard is a must before making a profit.
6. For some countries, before you can do hydroponic farming, you need to get a license first.

How expensive is hydroponic farming?

Starting hydroponic farming can be expensive or not. It depends on your purpose and how ample the space you need is.

For example, if you do it for your consumption, it can cost less. You only need to prepare the basic materials like growth try, reservoir, growing medium, and nutrient solutions.

But if you plan to build a business on it, you need a lot of money to sustain and be successful in farming.

You might need ample space to build a greenhouse where you can start planting. And also need to prepare many things and supplies for your hydroponic plants.

How much does it cost to start a hydroponic garden?

If you’re a beginner in hydroponic planting, you might feel anxious about bankruptcy if you start with a significant investment.

However, the hydroponic technology that you choose always affects your capital.

For example, there are three types of hydroponic systems you can choose.

First is the low-tech hydroponic system. It is a budget-friendly way of farming, which you can spend only $50 to $200.

The next is the medium-tech hydroponic system which performs better than the low-tech. However, it is more costly, between $300 to $1000.

The last one is the high-tech hydroponic system. It is the best choice for those wealthy people, of course.

This system is designed for those who want a high yield space for hydroponic farming, costing up to $10,000.

However, the type of system you can do depends on where you live.

How do Hydroponic Systems Work?

Can you grow hydroponics indoors?

Yes, hydroponic farming can be done indoors or outdoors. In fact, they thrive in greenhouses where the temperature is controlled.

Growers also won’t have to worry about the climate and season outside when using hydroponics indoors because they can install artificial lights and everything the plant needs to survive. 

Do hydroponic plants need fertilizer?

Yes, hydroponically grown plants need special fertilizer to grow and thrive.

These water-soluble fertilizers are fed directly onto the plant’s roots, so there’s no need for the crops to look for nutrients.

Therefore, they can spend their energy on growing and becoming healthy. 

What is hydroponic fertilizer?

This time we’ll give you a glimpse of hydroponic fertilizers needed by hydroponic plants. The best fertilizers should have:



This nutrient is an essential amino acid element responsible for your plants’ faster growth and development.

Phosphorus (P)

It is the nutrients responsible for photosynthesis, growth, and fruiting for plants that bears fruits.

Potassium (K)

This nutrient is essential, especially for fruiting plants, because it helps grow stem, root, and flower, maintains pressure, releases waste gasses and vapor, and prevents wilting.

The other macronutrients like Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S) also help plants grow and photosynthesize.


Nutrients like Boron (B), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), and Chlorine (Cl) are also essential for nurturing and development of plants.

These things are all critical for your plant’s growth. So, what fertilizers are best with the complete nutrients your plant needs?

You can choose between these three types:

Powdered Fertilizers

This type is a dry fertilizer usually used on a commercial scale. You can easily use it by following the instructions and dissolving it with water.

It comes in different Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium ratios, or what we usually call NPK.

However, the ratio depends on what plant you’re planting. For example, the proportion of NPK for lettuce is different from tomatoes.

The disadvantage of this type is that it is pricey, especially the premium ones.

Liquid Fertilizers

This type of fertilizer is the easiest way to deal with because it only needs a little preparation. It dissolves faster than the powder.

However, if you buy it in distant places, the shipping will be costly because it’s liquid. And it is more expensive than the solid type.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers or homemade fertilizers are one of the most budget-friendly options.

It is from natural resources. However, preparing the different ingredients is challenging to make the nutrient solution needed.

All nutrients should be from a partially decomposed material.
In using organic fertilizer, expect that more water consumption is needed because you need to change the solution frequently to avoid odor formation.

It would be best if you control the amount of nutrients solution. And compared to processed fertilizers, it slows the growth of plants.

How often do you water hydroponic plants?

Watering depends on the type and size of the plant being grown and the hydroponic system you’re using.

For the ebb and flow system, the rule of thumb is to water about 2 or 3 times a day and gradually increase if the plants need more.

But you need to consider if your grow medium retains or repels water. You must water less frequently if you’re using a medium that holds water to ensure it dries out from wet to barely moist.

This way, you can avoid drowning your crops in water.

On the other hand, if your medium repels water, you may need to water more frequently.

What is not needed in hydroponic farming?

Unlike traditional farming, hydroponics doesn’t need soil, as we mentioned earlier.

Therefore, you as the grower don’t have to spend time and money on tilling, weeding, and other labor-intensive jobs. 

On top of that, hydroponically grown plants don’t require insecticides and pesticides because they’re usually grown in secured places like greenhouses. 

Problems with hydroponic farming

Like the traditional farming method, hydroponics has a fair share of challenges. Here are some of the problems growers may encounter that you should know about.

System Clogging

System clogging is one of the most occurring problems in the hydroponic farming system, especially in drip type.

The common culprit is clot formation which clogs the tubes and affects the circulation of the whole system, and consequently damages your crops.


Regular flushing of tubes with warm water is the key to preventing clog formation. Consider changing your growing medium from loose to heavy like the expanded clay.


You may get away from soil-borne diseases with hydroponics but not from algae infestations and pests.

Here’s what you can do during the infestation’s initial phase to stop the further damage.


This infestation can clog the hydroponic system and alter nutrient solution circulation, and worse, it can take up the nutrients.

Therefore it can put your plant’s growth and development at risk.


We got three tips for you.
1. Minimize sunlight’s exposure to the solution.
2. Paint the reservoir black to control algae’s growth in the solution.
3. Avoid overwatering the seedlings because it can lead to algae growth on the surface.


You need to look out for signs of pest infestation perpetuated by thrips, aphids, spider mites, and fungus gnats.

Although the chances are low compared to traditional open-field farming, they can still emerge and threaten your crops.


1. Sanitize yall items properly and change your clothes before entering the farm.
2. If pests still manage to get inside despite your best efforts, you may need to use pest-control techniques to get rid of them.

Seedling Problems

The seedling’s initial growth phase is challenging since they can face numerous problems, including the following.


Seedlings may lose their rigidity and start drying due to irrigation problems and high temperatures.

Let the roots dry between each irrigation cycle to prevent overwatering and prepare a backup pump if the operation fails because the plant will quickly be without a water supply.

Dead roots

Roots may die due to root rot pathogen, high water temperature, very high or low EC(electrical conductivity), and overwatering in dense substrates.

If the culprit is a root rot pathogen, regular cleaning and sanitation of the system is the solution.

But if the cause is water temperature, you have to first remove the plants with dead roots before regulating the temperature.

Nutrient Deficiency

This can be tricky since you need to check the water temperature, nutrient solution’s pH level, and EC.

If you encounter the problem below, do not fret because you can do something to fix it.

Tip Burn

If the leaves’ tip or margin turns brown or collapses, the primary cause is calcium deficiency.

Since calcium is essential for the formulation of the cell wall, you need to improve calcium absorption by the roots.

You can make it happen by increasing the airflow on your crop to increase the transpiration rate.

what is hydroponic gardening

what is hydroponic gardening

Frequently Asked Questions About Hydroponic Farming

We compiled the most commonly asked question for you to help you understand more what is a hydro farm or hydroponic farming and other terms related to it.

What is a hydroponically grown plant?

A hydroponically grown plant is a crop produced through hydroponic farming — a method of growing plants without soil.

This conventional method is soil-less and therefore eliminates the soil problems, including soil-borne pests and diseases.

What are hydroponic farms?

Basically, it’s a farm where water is substituted for soil. Just like traditional farming, hydroponically grown plants need fertilizer to support their growth, but they don’t need soil and pesticides.  

What is hydroponic gardening?

Like hydroponic farming, hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil.

The only difference between the two is gardening is usually for private use, while hydroponic farming is a way of producing food on a large scale for others.

What are hydroponic crops?

You can grow almost any crop hydroponically, including leafy greens like lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, celery, and other herbs.

What you need to avoid growing in hydroponics are vining and bush-type plants like squash and zucchini because they take up so much space.

What is hydro farming?

Hydroponic farming is a method of farming where the soil is substituted with water.

Solutions that contain phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, and many more are then mixed into the water to provide nutrients to have a better yield.

The nutrients added may vary depending on the needs of the plants being grown.

What fertilizer do I need for hydroponics?

The typical 3-part fertilizers used in general hydroponics are NPK(Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizer mix, CaNO3(Calcium Nitrate), and MgSO4(Magnesium sulfate).

Farmers may use powdered fertilizers, but many home growers prefer liquid fertilizers because it’s easier to measure out than figuring out the powder’s ratio that they need to add.  

Can you use regular fertilizer for hydroponics?

Yes, you can use regular fertilizer for hydroponics.

However, regular fertilizers lack some nutrients needed by hydroponic plants, which can cause problems at different growth stages.

Therefore, it’s best to use products purposely made and tailored for hydroponic farming.

Who uses hydroponics?

Anyone can use hydroponics in growing crops. Whether you’re a homesteader or a farmer looking for cost-effective ways to maximize space in your tiny urban garden or farm, you can utilize this system and benefit from it. 

Do hydroponic plants taste different?

Yes, hydroponically grown food often tastes different from plants grown in soil.

There are various factors that change the taste of the plant, especially mild green plants like lettuce and other plants of similar types.

It could be due to four reasons such as temperature, nutrition, water, and age.

is hydroponic better than soil

is hydroponic better than soil

Is hydroponic better than soil?

Hydroponics is better than soil because it uses less water and can be stacked vertically, allowing growers to maximize their space.

Plants grown hydroponically also grow faster because you can control the nutrients you provide.

Is hydroponic better than organic?

Both sides claim that their products are safer, healthier, and more flavorful, but fertilizers used in hydroponics are purer than those utilized in organic farming.

So, they leave no residue in the produce. Furthermore, manure in organic agriculture as a natural fertilizer has caused E. coli and salmonella outbreaks.

Since soil and microorganisms are not necessary for hydroponic farming, it’s safer and healthier. 

What vegetables are grown hydroponically?

There’s a wide range of vegetables that can be hydroponically grown, but the most suitable for this farming system are plants like lettuce, strawberries, and cucumbers. 

Spinach, beans, bell peppers, chives, tomatoes, blueberries, kale, basil, grapes, and celery are ideal for hydroponics. 

Which country invented hydroponic farming?

Hydroponics’ origin dates back to around 600 BC in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon of present-day Iraq.

It’s one of the even Wonders of the Ancient World and is the first well-known example of soil-less growth of plants.  

hydroponic farming system

hydroponic farming system

Final Takeaways About Hydroponic Farming

Isn’t it amazing to see how hydroponic farming makes it possible not just to provide fresh and chemical-free foods for the world but also to conserve water?

This method substitutes soil with water, speeds up the crop’s growth, and eliminates the need for labor-intensive jobs, pesticides, and insecticides.

If you’re planning to try hydroponic farming, we recommend starting in small quantities until you get familiar with the routine and experiment with what system works best for you.

It will also help minimize the damage cost if you face troubles along the way.

You also need to study and understand your nutrient solution before applying and make lighting a priority even if your think you have enough sunlight.

If you’re worried about the competition, you can have more advantages if you’d grow a unique and high-quality variety of crops.

Hydroponic farming still requires hard work, just like the conventional farming approach, but it’s more important to work-wise and learn from other seasoned growers to succeed.

READ NEXT: All You Need To Know About Goat Farming


Juicy tomatoes in the winter? Say thanks to hydroponics

“When I go residence and also inform individuals what I’m doing, they’re like, ‘Oh, hydroponics, you’re going to grow weed, right?'” said John Ertle, an Ohio State graduate research affiliate within Professor Chieri Kubota’s Gardening and also Plant Scientific research laboratory. “That’s the typical response since what we do isn’t standard agriculture.”

Kubota– professor of Controlled Setting Farming within Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences– gives research that supports interior as well as greenhouse farmers throughout the nation. The base of the controlled atmosphere agriculture industry is using hydroponics to feed and also grow veggies, fruits as well as berries within a regulated environment. This suggests locally expanded produce year-round, anywhere.

“The idea you can manage plant development by manipulating temperature, light, wind as well as carbon dioxide is just so remarkable,” Kubota said.

Remarkable, profitable and also extra healthful to people and our environment.

But initially, what exactly are we speaking about here?


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