Category Archives: Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponics is growing plants without soil. In the 19th century, it was discovered that soil is not essential for plant growth, as long as nutrients are present in the water supply.

Which Hydroponic System Is Right for You?

Choosing a Hydroponics System Gothic Arch Greenhouses Hydroponic GardeningThere’s no denying that hydroponic gardening is growing—and will to continue to grow—in popularity because of its convenience, efficiency and eco-friendliness. But if you wanted to get in on this hot gardening trend, where do you begin?

Determining which hydroponic growing system you will use is one of the most important decisions you will make. How much you want to spend, what plants you want to grow and your level of gardening experience will guide your decision. 

Basic Wick Hydroponic System:

For beginners who want to get their feet wet with hydroponics, this simple, low-cost system is a great way to try. Ideal for small plants, such as herbs, the basic wick system assembles easily. A container holding your plants over a container holding water and nutrients  connects by a rope or “wick.” The fibers in the wick draw up nutrients from the water to the plants. Small plants like herbs benefit most from this system

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System (DWC):

Another beginner friendly system in the deep water culture system. This system uses an air pump to distribute oxygen to the nutrient solution. Plants are held in place by styrofoam or plastic and suspended over the nutrient rich water. Ideal for lettuce and other types of greens, the deep water system is great for small spaces. Teachers often use this system to introduce their students to hydroponics in the classroom.

Drip Hydroponic System:

Very popular among commercial and home growers, the drip system is scalable, meaning it can accommodate larger plants that the basic wick and deep water culture systems can’t. Plants such as melons, zucchini, onions and cucumbers thrive in drip systems. A pump and timer recirculate the water and continuously supplies nutrients to the plants.  

Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System:

Ebb and flow hydroponic systems flood the plants with nutrient solution, then slowly drains back into a reservoir for reuse. Such a system is ideal for plants with low water exposure tolerance and need periods of dryness to help with root expansion. Strawberries, tomatoes, beans, spinach and carrots are among the plants that can thrive in this system. Growers can set up a simple or complex ebb and flow systems to meet their growing needs. 

Nutrient Film Technique Hydroponic System (NFT):

The NFT system is popular for the fast growth rate it helps plants achieve. Growers also enjoy being able to grow plants in smaller spaces with this system. Easy to maintain, an NFT system conserves both water and nutrients. It uses no growing medium—which can help save money. Plant roots receive higher levels of oxygen by being suspended in a tray with roots dangling in a nutrient solution. When given enough room and support, cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, peppers and herbs can thrive! 

Aeroponic System:

Similar to the nutrient film technique, an aeroponic system uses no growing medium. Plants suspend from growing ports and receive a misting of nutrient rich solution as needed. Growers can administer nutrients either automatically or manually. Aeroponic systems can be very simple or elaborate to meet the grower’s needs.  Tomatoes, eggplant, melons, herbs, lettuces, squash and edible flowers flourish because of the higher oxygen levels. 

Still have questions on which direction to go with hydroponics? Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to get the answers you need to get growing!

hydroponic greenhouses

How Hydroponic Greenhouses Work

Hydroponic Gardening Gothic Arch Greenhouse Hydroponic greenhouses have grown in popularity in recent years. Hydroponics is a gardening method that uses no soil mediums to grow plants. However, understanding the basics of hydroponics will help you decide if it is right for your greenhouse. 

Why Hydroponic Greenhouses?

Hydroponic gardening has gained favor for low operations costs, ease of use and its many benefits. This system of gardening is also well-known for producing higher yields and higher quality vegetables. Not only do plants grow faster, they are tastier than those grown in soil.

But how does it work? If you’ve ever placed a plant clipping inside a glass of water, that will give you a basic visual of how hydroponic systems work. Take that image and imagine a system of anywhere from a few plants to a large-scale hydroponic farm. The plants within the system don’t rely on soil as their growing medium. Therefore, the nutrients they need are in the water that circulates among their roots.

The underlying theory behind hydroponics is that it removes barriers. Since there is no soil between a plant’s roots and oxygen, water and nutrients, everything it needs to thrive touches the roots directly. Various herbs, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, hemp, and peppers are best suited for hydroponic systems.

Benefits of Hydroponic Greenhouses

One of the most important benefits of hydroponics is that it is a viable conservation alternative to the shrinking supply of agricultural land. This method is used in large scale commercial growing operations and areas with limited space. There are even vertical systems that will fit in a living room or classroom.

Hydroponic growing has wide applications. Urban areas where there is little land for growing are enjoying hydroponics. Also, farmers in dry, desert climates are able to use indoor hydroponics to grow year round.

The absence of soil in a hydroponic system means there is no danger of disease or pests, so growers can eliminate pesticides. It also means that plants have smaller root systems, yet greater flowering potential, which leads to increased yield.

Interested in hydroponic gardening? We have several systems available. If you have questions about what you need or which one may be right for you, just call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

 

Hydroponic Crops

5 Hydroponic Crops You Should Be Growing

5 Hydroponic Crops You Should Be Growing

Of the many benefits of hydroponic gardening, and one of the most exciting for entrepreneurial growers, is higher crop yield. Hydroponic crops grow at a rate 30 percent to 50 percent faster than a soil plant under the same conditions.

How Hydroponic Gardening Works

Hydroponics is well-known for conserving water. But the set-up allows more oxygen in the root system, helping plants absorb nutrients faster.

And because plants don’t have to use energy to search for nutrients, that allows them to channel that into growing faster and producing more. Therefore, it makes them happier and healthier plants!

For the budding business-minded gardener, that can translate into higher profits, especially if you choose plants that respond well to hydroponic mediums.

If you are considering hydroponic gardening as a means to make some money, consider these five types of plants to get started.

Lettuce

First-timers in hydroponics should start with lettuce. The shallow root system is ideal for this system, so it requires little more than changing the nutrient solution regularly. Romaine, iceberg, Boston, Buttercrunch and Bibb lettuces are varieties that we recommend.

Spinach

 This leafy vegetable thrives in a hydroponic system, particularly when you keep the nutrient solution highly oxygenated. For sweeter spinach, grow at temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees. Savoy, Bloomsdale, smooth leafed and Tyee are suggestions.

Strawberries

 Love this fruit? Now you can enjoy it all year long with hydroponic gardening. These do best in an ebb and flow system, but nutrient film technique can work for smaller crops. Purchasing cold-store runners that are berry-ready will help you get started. Look for Brighton, Chandler and Douglass varieties.

Bell Peppers

These colorful veggies flourish in a hydroponic system, but they require a little more attention and care. For starters, they need a lot of light—18 hours a day. As plants grow, raise the lights to give plenty of room, but don’t let them grow to full height. Prune them to encourage growth. Try Ace, California Wonder and Vidi types.

Herbs

Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme and watercress are just some herbs that prosper in hydroponics, and they make another great option if you’re just getting started. Studies have shown that herbs grown in a hydroponics system are more aromatic and more flavorful. Just more reasons to get growing!

Not sure where to begin with hydroponics? Let us know! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we can help you get start with systems or crop selections.

Advantages of Cold Weather Hydroponic Gardening

Just because the weather gets colder, that doesn’t mean you have to go without fresh vegetables. With the help of hydroponic gardening, you can enjoy salads, cucumbers and tomatoes even though winter might traditionally dictate those crops are out of season.

Many growers prefer to turn to hydroponic gardening in the cooler months, with sales starting to climb in August and extending through April as they help fill the void of what’s usually available.

Generally, this method of gardening is regarded for its environmental friendliness—it uses less water and doesn’t erode topsoil. The growth rate is faster, so the yield is higher. Plants absorb more oxygen, which helps stimulate root growth and take in more nutrients. Some even say hydroponically-grown produce is packed with more nutrition and it tastes better.

But why winter hydroponic gardening? Of course, it helps provide fresh vegetables year-round, so you can enjoy the straight-from-the-vine taste of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and other greens—all ideal for throwing together a salad that takes you right back to the fondness for summer.

To get to that point, you have to actually do some work in your garden, and that can be helpful in fighting the seasonal blahs. In other words, you don’t have to wait for spring, and you don’t have to wait a while for crops to grow since everything grows faster using the hydroponic method.

Additional options for winter growing in your hydroponic garden are carrots, broccoli, spinach and herbs, such as oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, thyme and chives, to add even more flavor to your foods.

To successfully pull off hydroponic gardening in the winter months, you will have to take into account several things. You may need to supplement less natural light during the shorter days with artificial options, and that means higher energy costs.

Drier air in cooler weather means having to add humidity with a humidifier or even misting the plants. Along with managing light and humidity, it’s important to keep the temperature in check. Swings in temperature can send plants into shock. It’s recommended to maintain a 60 degrees Fahrenheit environment.

How can you get started on your hydroponic garden this winter? Call one of our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, so we can help you get growing!

 

The Future of Greenhouse Irrigation

Greenhouse Irrigation New Technology Gothic Arch GreenhouseIrrigation is a common problem for greenhouse growers, from large-scale nursery operations to hobby gardening enthusiasts. Ensuring that your plants get the right amount of water—without overdoing it or underdoing it—requires attention to detail.

With precision of water application in mind, technology that improves efficiency of delivery and conservation of this resource has driven advancements in the field of greenhouse irrigation systems. These options are just a few options for growers with conservation in mind.

Drip Irrigation. These automated systems, once primarily used by large-scale growers, are now also favored by small- to medium-sized operations as well. Drip systems can cut water use in half, while also yielding superior crops (in terms of size and root length, among other characteristics) than traditional methods, like overhead sprinklers. Drip irrigation systems are widely considered to be affordable and easy to install.

Fertigation. Combining precise fertilizer application with efficient irrigation is a process known as fertigation. Not only does this help conserve fertilizer and water, but also can improve crop yield and quality. In a greenhouse setting, fertigation can increase production by almost 60 percent. Often set up in conjunction with a drip tape irrigation system, fertigation helps deliver nutrients more directly to plants’ roots.

Hydroponics. Prized for its efficiency and environmental friendliness, hydroponics is often considered the future of growing. Waste is at a minimum, as water is recycled and reused. A hydroponic system requires less than 10 percent of water to grow a similar crop in soil. And it takes 60 percent less fertilizer to nourish crops. In addition to these sustainability benefits, hydroponic systems yield larger, more nutritious produce.

Sensor-Based Irrigation. Sensor technology has led to even greater accuracy in water application. Using sensor-based systems allows growers to precisely measure irrigation timing and application rates. This has proven to reduce use of irrigation water, labor, energy and fertilizer. Some studies have shown that the use of sensor-based irrigation systems can accelerate production of container and greenhouse plants, which results in increased profitability.

Are your plants getting the water they need efficiently and effectively? We can help you make improvements to your irrigation system! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

How to Get Started with Hydroponic Gardening

Getting Started With Hydroponics Gothic ArchHydroponic gardening offers a unique growing experience, utilizing a soil-less technique that has been proven to increase yield and conserve water.

Not only is this a practical approach to gardening, but also it’s an ancient one. Just think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the Floating Gardens of Ancient China.

Despite these extravagant examples, this approach to gardening is as accessible to the novice grower as it is to large-scale commercial operations, and its setup is even ideal for those in urban settings who may lack outdoor space.

Many hydroponic systems or kits are available in various sizes to accommodate your space needs and your yield expectations. But if you’re wondering about how you should get started, consider these fundamentals.

Select your system. Four common hydroponics systems include: the classic ebb and flow, which is easy to build yourself; the top drip system, which is the most common; the deep water culture system, the most economical; and the wick system, which is the simples. Important things to consider when selecting a system are space, cost and the time required to maintain it.

Learn about lighting. If your hydroponic garden is indoors, lighting is a must. Lighting kits can be purchased to complement your system, and it’s recommended that you purchase all the components together rather than individually. In this way, the ballast, lamp and bulb wattage will match.

Research nutrients. Choose the water in your nutrient solution carefully. Reverse osmosis, spring, distilled or well water is recommended, then mix the fertilizer at the manufacturer’s recommended rate. Monitor the pH of your nutrient solution with a pH adjuster, aiming for a reading between 5.5 and 6 for all growing mediums.

Choose your medium. Though hydroponics doesn’t use soil, a growing medium is still needed. Coconut coir and Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) are recommended as good starter mediums. The former excels at absorbing water, and is recommended for all systems but ebb and flow. LECA excels at drainage, so it is ideal for the ebb and flow system.

Pick your plants. Select plants that set you up for success, particularly if you are a first-timer at hydroponics. Good starter plants include: greens, like lettuce, spinach and kale; herbs, including basil, parsley, mint, oregano and cilantro; tomatoes; strawberries; and hot peppers.

If you still have questions about where to begin with hydroponics or need more specific guidance about your existing system, call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for hydroponic gardening supplies.

7 Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic gardening is just one more way you can maximize the use of your greenhouse space and try your hand at a different growing strategy.nutrients and supplements plant food

Simply put, hydroponic systems utilize mineral nutrient solutions in water—rather than the more traditional option of soil—to grow plants. Instead of drawing nutrients needed from the soil, the plants’ roots are suspended in, flooded or misted with a nutrient solution so they can grow.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just thinking about working on your green thumb, hydroponic gardening offers plenty of benefits for you and your growing efforts. These are just a few!

Hydroponic gardening maximizes space. Get growing indoors or outdoors—or even increase the yield of your greenhouse. Hydroponic gardens need considerably less space than soil-based gardens because plants with small roots can be grown closer together, so starting small is no problem!

Hydroponic gardening is affordable. From smaller DIYs and easy-to-use beginner setups to more advanced options, there is a hydroponic system that can suit any gardening level and any budget. Especially since it can be done in any space, your investment can be minimal.

Hydroponic gardening conserves water. Though hydroponics relies heavily on water, it actually uses less because water and nutrients can be recycled and reused. Hydroponic systems can use less than 10 percent of the amount of water used in traditional soil-based gardens.

Hydroponic gardening puts you in control. Because plants aren’t grown in soil, the gardener is in charge of the nutrient balance. This allows the grower to quickly and easily detect and correct any deficiencies. The absence of soil also makes that process of flushing and starting over fresh significantly simpler.

Hydroponic gardening produces higher yields. A shorter growing cycle in a hydroponics system means the garden is more productive though it may be smaller in size. Crops can grow two times faster, and yields can be doubled and even tripled as a result of flourishing in the controlled environment.

Hydroponic gardening offers better results. Plants grown through a hydroponic system are healthier and have better nutritional value. Hydroponically grown vegetables have up to 50 percent more vitamin content (particularly vitamin A, B complexes, C and E) than those grown in conventional methods.

Hydroponic gardening saves labor. Not having to tend to the soil—because it isn’t needed in hydroponics—means a lot less work for the gardener. Just think, no pulling weeds, no tilling, no pushing wheelbarrows, etc. That can make hydroponics even more stress-relieving and enjoyable!

Curious about how to get your hydroponic garden started? Or do you want to take your existing one to the next level? Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

5 Reasons You Should Be Growing Hydroponically

Greenhouse Hydroponics SystemsIf you have been suppressing your interest in hydroponics out of fear or
misunderstanding, it’s time to reach out and get help. At Gothic Arch
Greenhouses, we are here to provide you with the tools and knowledge you will
need to be a successful hydroponic gardener. Whether you are a hobby grower, a
commercial grower or a teaching facility, there are good reasons you should be
growing hydroponically.

So much is written about Hydroponic Farming and its benefits. It’s easy to get
lost in all the technical jargon and mythology. A few lines into an article and
you’re hit with words like “Photoperiod”, “Macronutrients” & “pH balance”
which can throw the average person way off balance and put an end to any
blossoming interests in hydroponic growing. Sure, it’s one thing to get your
soil right and determine exactly how much or how little to water your
traditional garden, but do you need a degree in Chemistry to harvest hydroponic
plants and isn’t it unnatural to grow without soil?

Once you get past the fear of being blinded with Science and going against the
grain, you will see that hydroponics is no more complicated than your backyard
garden and not only is the concept of hydroponics natural, there is absolutely
no difference between the process of mineral uptake in a plant in a soilless
environment or a plant growing in a field.

There are many good reasons for you to consider your own hydroponic project, we
have 5 really good ones for your consideration….

1. Quick Results -Hydroponically grown plants grow 30-50% faster than soil
plants under the same conditions.  The results are instant gratification,
additional profit for the commercial grower and for teachers, the ability to
keep your students attention in the classroom.

2. Pest & Pesticide Free- The absence of soil means the absence of pests
and weeds that live and grow in soil.  Your plants are also protected from
soil borne disease.  No need to use harmful pesticides or spend your
valuable time pulling weeds and best of all, NO CREEPY CRAWLERS!
3. Worry Free Watering – Hydroponically grown plants receive exactly the amount
of water needed- no less & no more allowing you to conserve water and money
and taking the guesswork out of the watering process.

4. You Need a Break!- Hydroponic farming is less labor intensive than
traditional soil farming and doesn’t have to be complicated.   With
readymade hydroponic supplies, nutrients and kit systems at your disposal,
getting started has never been easier.  Call us today at   1-800-531-4769 to enquire
about our starter kits, turn-key commercial systems and what we recommend for
the classroom.

5. Save Space – Stack your plants, get creative, and grow up! Literally.
Think beautiful vertical gardens (did I mention the emotional benefits?
The tranquility?).  If space is an issue, hydroponics is a smart solution.

Speaking of Space, as no life sustaining soil has yet to be found in space,
NASA has done extensive research into hydroponic growing in order to provide
both food and plants in outer-space to benefit current exploration and as a
logical solution to the future colonization of the moon and Mars

Did you know: The name is derived from two Greek words; Hydro and Ponics.
Literally translated, it means: “Water Labor

Author :  Sonja Payne

Gothic Arch Greenhouses Inc

 

Aquaculture and Hydroponic Systems

You’re on the right track if you’ve been thinking about starting a garden to grow your own vegetables for family and friends, but lack the yard space and are overwhelmed by bugs and vermin, and by extremes of unpredictable weather conditions. If faced with these challenges, you may want to consider an investment in a quality environmentally controlled Gothic Arch Greenhouse and a hydroponic or aquaponic food production system to ensure a sustainable year around supply of fresh nutritious vegetables and fish.

You have practiced hydroponics if you’ve ever placed a plant clipping into a glass of water in the hopes that it will develop roots. Hydroponics is a method of growth where plants are grown without the use of soil. The nutrients that the plants normally derive from the soil are simply dissolved into water instead. When hydroponics is combined with aquaculture…an innovative system termed Aquaponics is realized. In Aquaponics, the nutrient rich waste water from the fish is re-circulated into the hydroponic system to provide food for the plants. Depending on the type of hydroponic system used, the plant’s roots are suspended in, flooded with or misted with the nutrient rich solution so that the plant can derive the elements it needs for growth. The water is then returned to the fish tank in a continuous loop that is much less wasteful of the water resource than other conventional food production systems.
¬As we witness the population of our planet explode and arable land available for crop production declines, hydroponics and aquaponics offers us a dependable means to produce crops in greenhouses or other conventional buildings that can be converted to specialized food production. Already, where the cost of land is at a premium, crops are being produced underground, on rooftops and in greenhouses using these innovative methods.

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Learn to Grow Strawberries with Hydroponic Systems at Gothic Arch Greenhouses

Recommended System:

NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique. Because of the way Nutrient Film Technique works, it’s perfect for growing hydroponic strawberries.

Growing Medium: expanded clay pellets, leca, heydite, or crushed shale rock

pH Level: for Strawberries maintained between 5.8 and 6.2

Nutrients: Maintaining a nutrient rich solution at a slightly higher EC (around 2.5) with good levels of potassium will help with sugar accumulation in the fruit.

Lighting Needed: seven hours of full sun per day or if growing hydroponic strawberries inside use fluorescent grow lights.

Temperature: Not to exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a minimum temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity Level: Strawberries like to get wet, so they like higher humidity levels

Care Required: very demanding

Successful strawberry production can be easily done using hydroponics (the science of growing plants in soil-less material) in the controlled environment of a Gothic Arch Greenhouse…providing you with berries year-round…protected from birds and other animals. Growing berries with hydroponics can be challenging, yet rewarding as it can be adapted to almost any growing environment. The ideal environment to protect from weather would be inside a quality build Gothic Arch Greenhouse with the use of artificial lighting during the winter months.

(A)Choose the variety of berries you want to grow. The most populare are blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc., with the best type of plants for hydroponic growing being the “day neutral” varieties.

(B)With a sterile grouing medium such as crushed shale or clay pellets, secure the bottom of a hydroponic mesh bin. Inquire about what type of liner you should get depending on the environment you are going to grow the berries in. The liner should be soaked for at least 30 minutes in pH-balanced water prior to planting.

(C)Now you’re ready to set the berry plant into the growing bin, with the roots spread out over the liner. After pouring the growing medium into the bin, make sure the berries are above the surface so it has enough light and fresh air to thrive. The plant might rot, if is submerged in water.

(D)Based on the particular berry plant chosen, select the proper nutrient formulas, making sure the ph ration is properly balanced for optimum growth and production.

(E)To expect a bumper crop, keep your hydroponic berry plants in a warm sunny location like a windowsill, greenhouse or glassed in porch, as they require about seven hours of full sun each day. You can also use full spectrum fluorescent lighting to substitute for natural sun.

(F)Be sure to keep the berry plants in a temperature range between a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

(G)To insure maximum fruit set, use a soft artist paintbrush when blooms begin to open, gently sweep across each blossom in order to transfer pollen.

To maintain a strong viable plant that is full of blossoms and fruit, occasionally trim off
the runners from the plants as they appear…especially with strawberries.

Notes:

First step you need to take before using hydroponics with strawberries is exactly what type of strawberry you would like to grow and understand its needs.

Strawberry plants have a three year productive span, with the best production starting in the second. Plant new strawberries ever year to ensure continuous production.

Plant day-neutral varieties: There are several types of strawberry plants available, but day neutral varieties are best for hydroponic production. These plants will produce berries throughout a three to four month growing season. Day neutral strawberry varieties include Everest, Seascape, Tribute, and Tristar.

When using hydroponics with strawberries, you’ll also notice that insects and spiders are attracted to their foliage, so you’ll need to take care of those as well if you want your fruit to grow healthy.

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