Beginners hobby hydroponics, let’s get started. Do people keep telling you that you’re “left brained”? Do you prefer to follow a recipe to winging it at dinner time? Do you need a new hobby because no-one wants anymore hand-knitted sweaters? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may consider beginners hobby hydroponics. Whether it’s starting seeds for your kid’s school project, an easy DIY on Pinterest, or maybe the 20th time you’ve re-watched Little Shop of Horrors, somewhere along the line you’ve been exposed to the idea of growing at home. The good news is, you can! We believe in you. Now is an exciting time when growing at home has never been more accessible or more fun! Our Can you fit Hydroponics in your Life? infographic (below) will help you pick out the right hydroponic system to get started, based on your available space, budget, and skill level.
The most important thing is to be brave! No guts, no glory, NO greens. Like all hobbies, it’s supposed to be functional AND fun.
Why hydroponics instead of traditional gardening?
Hydroponics typically produces superior crops with fewer pest problems, using less water in a shorter period of time than conventional growing in soil. It also allows people to produce produce (pun intended) with limited or no access to plots of soil. It is easy enough for anyone to start with a small system. If you can follow a recipe, you can grow hydroponically. There are even units small enough for kids to work all by themselves, learning all the while. And for us left-brained people out there, a more advanced system will have you to measuring, calculating and “science-ing it up” to your heart’s content. And don’t forget the pay-out: beautiful, delicious produce worthy of a magazine cover.
Thanks to the internet, we all have mountains of information on hydroponics available to us, and it can get a little daunting. For beginners hobby hydroponics, it is recommended to start with seed propagation of greens and herbs. They sprout quickly, don’t need much space, and have a quick turn over, allowing you to play around with your system and figure out what you like. Go down to your local plant nursery and pick up a couple seed packets of your favorite variety of greens (kale, lettuce, basil, arugula, dill, etc.) to get started. Once you’ve gotten the hang of propagation, you can always upgrade later as your budget and comfort level allows. By then, starting seedlings for your larger system will be a snap!
The best place for your new beginners hobby hydroponics garden is somewhere you will be sure to see it regularly. If you aren’t likely to walk by it at least once a day, odds are you are going to forget to check it and your little green friends will get neglected and die. Avoid areas near AC vents as the extra air movement can dry out grow media while the temperature drop can stunt germination for certain species. Having close access to water helps too.
Natural light is best, but in cases of little to no sunlight, we recommend spending the bulk of your budget on good grow lights and reflectors. For herbs and propagation, high output T5 bulbs are a good place to start. They are small, efficient and low temperature. A small 2 ft T5 fixture can be mounted on the underside of kitchen cabinets or a book shelf. You can also use LED bulbs with standard E26 bases. These will fit any regular fixture in your home and are very energy efficient; a perfect choice for beginners hobby hydroponics.
When you are ready to upgrade, I know that we are all firm believers of “Go Big or Go Home,” how will you know which system is right for you? In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.” Take a deep breath and start with a few simple questions, such as…
How much space do I have?
This will help you determine what kind of plants you can grow, how much light and power you need, as well as help you size pumps, reservoirs, and containers.
What is my budget?
A smaller budget usually means a smaller system, but in some case you set up your system in increments. Just getting a little at a time to space out the cost can still result in the big custom setup you desire.
Am I good at putting together Ikea furniture?
If the answer is “No,” you don’t need to mess with putting together a difficult DIY project. Try picking out an all-in-one hydroponic system that comes with everything you need and is the least technical to install. Still unsure? Follow along with this guide.
The most important thing is to be brave! No guts, no glory, NO greens. Like all hobbies, it’s supposed to be functional AND fun. It’s ok to not get something right. You can always try again and track how much you improve over time. With a little patience and a little gumption, anyone can have a green thumb with hobby hydroponics.
Horticultural Grow Specialist
2140 Merritt Dr. | Garland, TX 75041