These days, more and more people are becoming conscious of what food they consume and where it comes from. They are switching to healthier and more sustainable food options. Among those, hydroponic vegetables are rapidly gaining momentum and becoming favorites amongst those who wish to eat fresh and nutritious food all around the year.
As a result, many farmers are now including hydroponically grown vegetables as a part of their produce. A lot of people from non-agricultural backgrounds are also growing fruits and veggies in their apartments, offices, warehouses, and various otherwise unutilized spaces through hydroponics. If you are starting to explore the wonderful world of alternate farming, these are some vegetables that you can start growing hydroponically.
The perfect ingredient for fresh salads and crunchy sandwiches, lettuce is loved by beginners because of how simple it is to grow.
While the growth of different hydroponic vegetables differs according to the specific combination of conditions that they are grown in, lettuce is undoubtedly one of the easiest vegetables to grow through hydroponics. All varieties of lettuce grow fairly quickly and are relatively easy to take care of.
What’s more, they flourish in most of the popular methods of growing vegetables hydroponically, such as NFT, Aeroponics, Ebb and Flow, etc. Grow these in an environment with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0 and relatively lower temperatures from 20 to 23 for the best results. Around 18 hours of light per day helps this vegetable thrive in about 30 days.
Makes for a great base for rich veggie smoothies, this is one of those leafy hydroponic vegetables that can be consumed both raw and cooked. It usually requires a well-regulated temperature and a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5. If, however, you wish to grow sweet spinach, ensure that the temperature remains between 18 to 22 degree Celsius. But be warned that doing so might slow down the growth of this otherwise rapidly growing plant.
The good news, however, is that you can either harvest the spinach all at once or tear off a few leaves at regular intervals. By doing so, you are most likely to get up to 12 weeks of continuous harvesting, given that the climate and growing environment are favourable. And while these veggies are likely to thrive well in all types of hydroponic systems, Nutrient Film Technique works best.
Kale is a favourite amongst those who are experimenting with growing vegetables hydroponically because of the wholesome and diverse range of health benefits it provides. Out of all the plants that are associated with hydroponic farming in India, kale is one of the few which have been grown in an aqueous medium for years. And an advantage of growing it indoors is that most pests don’t target it.
The plant takes a time period of about ten weeks for the complete process from seed to harvest. But this is offset by the fact that you can pluck leaves during this time frame and new leaves will grow back. Growing kale hydroponically is relatively convenient, it is just necessary to maintain an acidic growing environment. For this plant to thrive, the pH should fall into the 5.5 to 6.5 range. Moreover, a wide range of temperatures ranging from 7 to 29 Celsius facilitate its growth.
As a rule, root vegetables are not ideal for the process of growing vegetables hydroponically, but radishes are an exception. As a cool weather crop, they are well suited for this method. Like lettuce, they mature comparatively rapidly and are one of the easiest plants to grow. They prefer a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0 and almost always do not need extra lights. Atleast 6 hours of exposure to light is needed.
For this vegetable, experts do not recommend seedlings, since they are better grown from seeds. This way, you can start seeing seedlings within 3-7 days. And usually, it takes as little as three to four weeks for the plant to grow from germination to harvest.
Grown through traditional farming as a winter or early spring vegetable, celery is popularly considered to be a cleansing tonic. The plant flourishes in cooler temperatures ranging from 15 to 23 degree celsius. However, make sure that the temperature is not extremely cold, because that would slow down the growth of this plant.
The lighting requirements are pretty manageable, about 6 hours of light a day is enough for celery to grow. They prefer pH levels of 5.8 to 6.8 and grow well in Ebb and Flow systems. But unlike most other hydroponic vegetables, they take up to 140 days to grow through this method, so you might want to start earlier during the season.
Apart from these vegetables, many commonly consumed fruits like strawberries and blueberries are well suited to this method. These fruits are usually only available seasonally, so switching to hydroponics will let you enjoy these fresh fruits all year round. Many experts of hydroponic farming in India have also successfully grown herbs like basil and mints. They thrive well in a hydroponic system, producing aromatic and crunchy ingredients for seasoning a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to salads.
Technically, almost all fruits and veggies can be grown through hydroponics. But there are some plants that are slightly tricky to grow. If the space that you have is limited, it’s best to avoid larger plants such as squash, melons, pumpkins, and corn. The yields might not be as good as where these plants have more room to grow. Similarly, crops like potatoes, carrots, and turnips that are root crops need sufficient height and space to grow. Thus, these are best left for larger hydroponic setups.
At Brio Hydroponics, we are making the vision of making healthy and nutritious food more accessible to different parts of the country a reality, so that more people can enjoy the advantages of hydroponic plants.