Fresh herbs are definitely the thing to go for, especially when you can add them to your food. You can provide your family with a quality meal and a treat for your taste buds. But here’s the problem, fresh herbs are expensive as they’re organic. We all know that organic foods are always pricier than your everyday purchases.
While we can always opt for the cheaper drier herbs found at your local grocery store. You won’t get the flavor you desire as herbs are a huge factor in adding flavor to your dishes.
So here’s a proposal we’ve cooked up for you. How about you grow your fresh herbs in your garden? You’d have an unlimited supply of fresh herbs throughout the year and that too at minimum cost.
So what more could you want? We’ve decided to concoct a simple and easy guide for you to construct an Indoor Hydroponic herb garden so you grow these fresh herbs without worrying about the quality and the price and you’d have an unlimited supply all year round. So without further ado, let’s get on with it.
What are Hydroponic systems?
Implementing a hydroponic system is a very convenient way for you to grow your natural herbs indoors. How to go about this is that you grow your herbs inside a container. Also, fill it with the right amount of nutrients and water.
The basic gist of a hydroponic system is to allow the root of the plant to come into direct contact with the nutrients. While providing it with the oxygen that it needs to aid in its proper growth.
If you want to grow the most delicious natural herbs. Then installing a hydroponic system is the right choice for you. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will get easy. All the equipment needed and the procedure required and you’ll be good to go.
The Types of Hydroponic Herb Gardens
This system has the easiest setup. You can easily build this by yourself. The working of this system is that it places a wick which extracts the nutrient solutions from the container into the growing medium.
These include Vermiculite, Perlite, Coconut Fiber, and Pro-mix. You’ll still need air supply to provide oxygen for the solution. However, this method does not apply to larger plants.
The Drip system
This system uses a network of tubes that feed the nutrients directly to the roots of the plant. The tubes are put into the grow medium and the nutrient solution is sprayed on top of your grow medium. It is a continuous running system and it guarantees the fact that your plants will grow quickly.
However, it should be noted that there is some difficulty that you’ll have to experience in setting it up and maintaining it.
This method is enabled by dipping the roots of your herbs. Afterward, you empty the water back to the reservoir. This is achieved at different time intervals so we suggest you set a timer.
This will help you to keep up with these time intervals. The roots will get the oxygen they need in between the time the roots are flooded with water. However, some drawbacks regarding this method include higher maintenance.
Also, the fact that you’ll have to keep replacing the roots every other week. This can turn out to be quite costly. Additionally, you’ll have to keep an extra pump in hand just as a precaution. If it just so happens that this method breaks down.
Deep-Water Culture System
This is the perfect implementation system for a hydroponic garden, especially if you’re a beginner. Start this process with the DWC or Deep Water Culture 5 Gallon Bucket Hydroponic Kit as it’s easy to use and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. For this system, you’ll need a bucket and you have to store the water and nutrient solution there. You’ll also need a basket with some peat in which to plant your herbs.
This is where the roots will grow to reach the nutrient solution. You will need an air stone so that the plants are given the supply of oxygen that they need. You’ll need multiple buckets if you want to grow more plants.
This system is quite complicated to use so you’ll need a bit of practice before you can properly implement it. However, when it is used correctly, it brings about the best results and is the most effective in terms of the growth of the plant. You surround the roots of your herbs in a dark chamber pot.
The nutrient solution is then subsequently sprayed at the roots. This is also a system that keeps on running consistently and is similar to the DWC system and irrigation systems.
N.F.T. System (Nutrient Film Technique)
The N.F.T. System has a simple design and an easy setup. One thing to keep in mind however that this system is most suited for smaller, quicker growing plants. You can easily grow different types of herbs and lettuce with this system.
How an N.F.T. system goes is that the nutrient solution goes downwards through the tubing system. The roots of the plant then come into contact with water and absorb all the nutrients from it.
The downside as is with a lot of these systems is the fact there shouldn’t be any interruptions to the flow of water and just in case there is a power outage. The plants being grown will die out instantly if the water isn’t being supplied to them at regular intervals.
Hydroponic Herb Garden Kits
If you’re just starting into this whole Hydroponic Herb Garden thing, it’s important to be well versed with the various kinds of kits that can you can use indoors. Here are some Garden Kits that you can consider. All of the kits mentioned are available to purchase at Amazon.
You can purchase the AeroG Bounty Elite which can grow up to 9 plants and has nutrients and pods included with it. You can also consider buying AG Bounty Elite. It not only comes with WiFi capability but also includes a trellis if you want to grow larger plants. It also comes equipped with seed pots and nutrients.
Other kits to consider especially if you’re a beginner is the AeroGarden Classic 6 where you can grow up to 6 plants which are very easy to use and won’t give you much Hassel. It also comes with automated lighting. AeroGarden Harvest Elite can be used for 6 plants and you can choose from 4 color options.
It also comes with a digital control panel. The DWC Hydroponic can be used for 11 plants and is relatively inexpensive which is a convenient choice for people just starting with growing herbs. Last but not least, The Aunifun Hydroponic can not only be set up very easily but can be used to grow up to over 14 plants.
The Benefits of Having a Hydroponic Herb Garden
First of all, hydroponic herb gardens help you save water and since water is a special commodity it is amazing to be a part of water conservation.
Water conservation, as well as growing high-quality herbs, you can do all in one and that’s the beauty of it. Also, the water absorbs all the necessary nutrients so you can easily manage the pH levels of the water, far more effectively than if they were grown on the soil.
Since hydroponic systems don’t need soil, it saves the plants from a lot of pests and diseases which are borne from soil such as gophers and groundhogs.
Additionally, this system helps in saving the environment. It is very environmentally friendly. Also, you can grow your herbs in any single season that you may wish, you are not just limited to one season. So you will have an unlimited supply of fresh herbs, all year round.
Another thing to note is that there will be no requirement for the use of weed. This is because weeds are only required when you’re planting in the fields, so that’s a negative that’s been exempted because of the hydroponic system as well. Another thing to add to this is the fact that you won’t have to make use of any harmful chemicals to grow your herbs as they will be done organically.
Your herbs will be spared from herbicides and insecticides and this will save you from a lot of time and money to get rid of them and all. You will be able to focus on something more productive in the meantime
The Downside of Having a Hydroponic Herb Garden
You have to put a lot of time and commitment when it comes to maintaining hydroponic gardens. As plants will die out if they’re not properly taken care of. With soil-based plants, you can count on Mother Nature to balance things out and take care of the plants and all, but with hydroponic gardens, you have to be careful and not neglect them as their care all depends on you.
Secondly, you should well grip with the technical aspects of setting up a hydroponic garden as maintaining them makes use of several scientific types of equipment which needs a certain extent of expertise.
If you don’t get the necessary knowledge that you require to handle this equipment. Then you can seriously mess up the entire system as well as the herbs you’re trying to grow.
These systems are also costly if you compare then with the ones you grow in soil. There is also the issue of the system failing as the entire system runs on electricity.
If the power runs out then the entire system will stop quickly and the plants will wither and die because they’re not growing on soil and they’ll freshwater supply frequently. Therefore you must think of backup options so that the power goes up just in case there is a power shortage.
How do you set up a Hydroponic Herb Garden?
In this section, we will guide you as to how exactly to set up your hydroponic herb garden and get your fresh herbs in no time.
First of all, you should equip yourself with the right tools to get started on this. You’ll need a container or bucket to grow your plant in, a water supply that you can supply through a garden hose and a pH testing kit to keep assessing the pH levels of water.
After this consider the location of where you intend to place this hydroponic system. If you’re going to place it outdoors in your backyard, you have to make sure it is safe from external weather conditions and keep checking the water levels as if it’s based outside than the water will evaporate and there will be water loss due to evaporation.
Choose a medium:
After that decision, choose a medium in which to base your herbs that can retain water very well and have a neutral pH level. After this make sure you have a pH testing kit with you at all times to keep testing the nutrient levels and making sure there is no nutrient deficiency.
Check the pH levels once a week and make sure the levels between the ranges of 5.8 to 6.8 as they are ideal for plants grown in hydroponic systems.
After that, it is also important to know well about all the hydroponic systems and what would work best for you. You can categorize these systems as either passive or active systems and you’ll need to evaluate which system would be the right choice for you.
Also, active one makes use of a pump to supply the nutrient solution to the plants and the passive one uses a wick. We described the wick system above.
Moreover, there are commercial systems which you can consider and we mentioned them above as well. These commercial hydroponic systems are the Wick system which is passive, NFS system which is active and the Ebb and flow system which is also passive.
If you’re good with the building then you can easily make one for yourself to be used indoors. You only need a few basic parts to construct them and for that, you’ll need a chamber or container in which to grow your herbs effectively and will be able to give the plant the support as well the area through which the nutrient solution will be able to come into contact with the roots. It is important to keep the container cool and light-proof as a lot of exposure to light could damage the roots of the herbs.
After that, you’ll need a reservoir that will hold the nutrients together. You can construct a reservoir from anything plastic and able to hold the water. Make sure that the reservoir you’re building can store a lot of water and doesn’t leak.
After that, you’ll need a pump that is going to supply all the nutrients to the roots. You can find these submersible pumps at any home improvement store near you. Make sure you clean the pump regularly.
You will also need sprayers to make sure the nutrient solution goes through to the plant roots and then back into the reservoir. They are effective but they can also clog the system so make sure you have extra sprayers in handy so that they can be replaced immediately.
You will also need timers and they can be of two kinds. If you are using artificial lights to grow your herb rather than making use of natural sunlight, you will be needing a timer that can control the off and on times of the artificial lighting system.
For drip, Aeroponic systems and flood, you’ll need a timer to control the on and off times for the water pump. Don’t invest in expensive digital timers because firstly they don’t have them on and off settings.
Secondly, if something happens to the memory of the timer as well potentially losing the settings of the timer if they lose power. Try purchasing a water-resistant timer as well.
We also highly recommend grow lights with timer.
Moreover, get an air pump as well. Air pumps are not that costly and also air pumps are optional but we recommend them because air supply helps supply oxygen to the herbs and the roots.
The air pump helps keep the herbs and the roots from smothering while they drench in the nutrients all day long, therefore, we recommend to buy an air pump.
Installing lights is something you can consider for your hydroponic systems, although they aren’t necessary. You can determine installing lights through various factors. Like where you wish to place the hydroponic system and grow your herbs.
You can either use sunlight if you place it outdoors or artificial light which comes with a lot of garden kits. A lot of Hydroponic Herb Gardens come with artificial light which you can use for your plants.
However, we suggest that making use of natural sunlight is the way to go. It is free of any cost and doesn’t need any extra equipment. However, if there isn’t enough sunlight where you’ve placed your hydroponic system. Or if it’s there’s a particular season where the sunlight hours are a minimum. We suggest utilizing artificial light to produce your herbs in that case.
Shift to pots:
So with these things out of the way, all you have to do is grow your herbs in a container. Wait for the roots to grow well before making the shift to your hydroponic pots. Have some cover around your system to protect your growing herbs from the sun. If the sun gets too hot as a lot of heat would ultimately damage the roots.
Another thing to bear in mind is to cut back longer roots that are growing at a faster rate. Those may cause the pipes to block or cause the water to back up into the system. After that fill the water with nutrient solution and keep checking on the pH levels. After all these steps, keep on harvesting your herbs and keep tabs on them as they will grow back again naturally.
We would like to give you a few more useful tips regarding the maintenance of the hydroponic system. Once you’ve started the process of growing your herbs these tips will help you in your journey.
- First of all, avoid any metallic parts in your hydroponic system. Make sure that they do not come into contact with the nutrient solution as it could prove to be harmful to the plants.
- It is also important to keep your plants in an area where they can receive a good amount of natural sunlight.
- It is also good to install a filtration system with your pump system. As fine particles can get clogged up inside and clog the pump as well as drip emitters.
- Also, make sure to flush your system clean every single year. This will prevent any pests and diseases
- Additionally, use a darker colored plastic bucket to prevent the growth of algae that could damage your growing herbs.
- Also, always remember to keep your hydroponic herbs system away from seasons when there is a torrential downpour. If that water gets into the bucket then the nutrient water will be diluted.
So to sum up, we covered what a hydroponic system is and its various systems that you can use. Also, it mentions the garden kits you can purchase to get started on your herb growing journey. Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a hydroponic system. And finally, how you can set it up in your home with ease.