In the world of hydroponics, the equipment you select will largely determine your success or failure as gardener. So it is imperative that you choose your hydroponic supplies carefully when starting your garden.
Here is a rundown the most essential supplies, and why they will be important to you.
- Grow Lights – This will be one the most important decisions you make. Your grow lights will stimulate the photosynthesis that will allow your plants to grow and thrive, so it is critical that you choose lights that match the kind of plants you are using and your growing area. If you choose price over quality, you will probably find your plants struggling.
- Pump – Your pump will deliver the nutrient solution to your plants at regular intervals. The two kinds of pumps are submersible, meaning that it actually rests inside the nutrient solution, and non-submersible, meaning it operates outside of the nutrient solution. You should also determine how much nutrient solution you will need to be delivered to your plants during watering time, and find a pump that can easily match that output.
- Timer – In all but the simplest hydroponic systems, good timers will need to be included in your hydroponic supplies. Timers will regulate how often your plants are watered, usually by turning on and turning off power to the pump. They also turn lights on and off, and are sometimes attached to the ventilation and heating systems in your grow space. Timers can vary from simple and cheap analog devices to sophisticated digital timers. If you are growing particularly delicate plants, it is advisable to get digital timers. Because they are more precise, there is less risk of failure.
- Growing Medium – Your growing medium is the “anchor” where your plant’s roots will rest. Certain hydroponic systems, such as the nutrient film technique and aeroponic systems use air and water as the medium, and therefore do not require the additional purchase of growing media. But for virtually every other system, you are going to need to budget in something for you plants to grow in. When exploring options for your growing media, be sure to discuss moisture, nutrient, and air retention with your hydroponic retailer. A medium that does not hold moisture well may require frequent waterings to ensure the root receives enough nutrients. You may also consider mixing two or more media to get the best of multiple worlds.
- Quality Hydroponic Fertilizer – Typical fertilizer that you can find at a hardware or grocery store will not work well for you because it assumes you are growing your plants in soil, which means that it lacks many essential micronutrients that your plants will need to grow to their potential. You need to find a qualified retailer that specializes in hydroponic supplies so your nutrient solution will deliver all the nutrients that your garden needs to succeed.
- pH Test Kit – This is one of the cheaper hydroponic supplies you will buy, but that doesn’t mean it is any less essential. Maintaining a good pH balance is one of the many things you will need to do to maintain a healthy hydroponic garden, and the only way to do that is to have the means to regularly check the balance of your nutrient solution.