Posted by CD Aquatics on Jun 30 2023
If you’re venturing into the world of DIY hydroponics, after building your setup, you’ll need to know which hydroponic plants to start with. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to grow when there are so many options for hydroponic gardening. So what are considered good plants for hydroponics beginners?
In a DIY hydroponic system, you can grow a wide variety of plants, ranging from leafy greens and flavourful herbs to seasonal fruits and vegetables. All you need is the right amount of nutrients and light and you’ll need to make sure you can control the atmospheric temperature since different plants like different environments.
Whether you dream of cultivating your own hydroponic herb garden or harvesting tasty hydroponic vegetables and fruit in any season, choosing easy hydroponic plants will help to build your confidence in the world of hydroponics for beginners.
To make your journey into DIY hydroponic gardening a smoother process, we’ve listed our favourite selection of best vegetables for hydroponics as well as hydroponic herbs and hydroponic fruit to ensure a bountiful harvest and a fun gardening experience.
Being able to eat juicy sweet strawberries almost all year round is one of the many benefits of growing hydroponic crops. Hydroponically grown strawberries usually take around 60 days to grow to maturity and enjoy a pH of 5.5 to 6.2. There are two varieties of strawberries recommended for hydroponics - ever-bearing strawberries and day-neutral strawberries. Day-neutral strawberries are particularly suited to indoor hydroponic setups as they will continue to produce flowers and fruit throughout the year as long as temperatures don’t exceed 29 degrees Celsius. This variety of strawberries will stop producing fruit if the temperatures get too warm and won’t continue until the area reaches the optimum temperature of between 18° C and 23° C. Everbearing strawberries can yield between one and two crops per year as long as they don’t get too hot and receive between 12 - 14 hours of light a day.
Tomatoes are another popular choice for hydroponic beginners as commercial farmers and hobbyist gardeners have been growing tomatoes hydroponically for many years. Hydroponic tomatoes thrive in conditions with a pH of 5.5-6.5 and warm temperatures between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius. Traditional and cherry tomatoes can be grown in a hydroponic setup but they will need plenty of light and may need an artificial lighting source if kept indoors. Small tomatoes can take around 45 days to grow while larger tomatoes may take around 70 days to harvest.
If you’re wondering “What is the fastest hydroponic crop?”, you’ll discover that lettuce is a serious contender. In just 30 days novices to hydroponic gardening could be enjoying a homegrown salad. This fast-growing, low-maintenance vegetable likes cool conditions with a pH balance of 6.0-7.0 and will thrive in an NFT setup (Nutrient Film Technique) or an ebb-and-flow hydroponic system. If you want to be able to harvest your hydroponic lettuce daily, we recommend cutting the outer leaves and leaving the inner leaves intact so that they can continue to grow. You can also stagger the time between planting your lettuce to ensure you always have a constant supply of fresh salad leaves.
Hydroponic cucumbers are a popular choice for newcomers to hydroponics thanks to their rapid growth and high yield when grown in the right conditions. This vining plant enjoys warm temperatures and plenty of light and nutrient-rich water with a pH balance of 5.5-6.0. Hydroponic beginners will enjoy seeing the first signs of their cucumbers in just three to ten days after planting and the ready-to-harvest produce in around 50-70 days. This time frame does depend on the type of cucumber and hydroponic system used. Ebb-and-flow hydroponic systems, drip systems and Dutch bucket systems are some of the recommended ways to grow cucumbers hydroponically since they can become heavy when they’re ready to harvest.
When it comes to setting up a hydroponic herb garden, there are a few commonly grown herbs to choose from. Herbs like coriander, mint, parsley and hydroponic basil are favoured as they all thrive in nutrient-rich water and are very well suited to smaller setups. A DIY hydroponic herb garden is a great way to ensure a year-round supply of aromatic herbs, no matter the season. Some of our favourite hydroponic herbs include:
Now that you know some of the best plants to grow hydroponically, you can start to cultivate your own crops, whatever the time of year. If you haven’t already built a DIY hydroponic garden, CD Aquatics have aquarium pumps, tubing, PVC pipes and fittings to help you build a simple hydroponic system perfect for beginners. If you need help choosing the right size pipes and fittings to get you started with homemade hydroponics, contact our helpful team who can guide you through our PVC pipe options.
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