DIY Hydroponics

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DIY Hydroponics - Outdoor Gardening

Outdoor gardening with hydroponics is far simpler than indoor gardening in many ways. I personally much prefer outdoor gardening, after all, why pay a big electricity bill when the sun gives you all that light for free? And I can have many more plants in my backyard than my basement, because my basement simply isnt all that big! A wider variety of plants can be grown without causing issues, anyone who has attempted to grow brassica's (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc) immediately next to a tomato plant will attest that some plants dont grow well side by side. A little extra room never hurt. Another down side that springs to mind of indoor gardening is the problem of crops of different heights, for example cabbages and tomatoes. My tomato plants would easily breach the 6 foot high mark if I let them but my cabbages would have no chance of reaching that height. Im not sure I would eat them if they did. They also dont like growing with the same strength nutrient either just to complicate things.

So, yes, I much prefer the joys of the great outdoors. Sure there are more pests out there and my plants wont always get perfect 18 hour long sunny days but the light is self adjusting and the air is always clean and fresh.

Selecting a good spot for your hydroponic garden outside is no different to selecting a place for a garden bed. A fellow enthusiast Im aware of went as far as putting in concrete pads for his garden and as he favours wick feed pots this must greatly simplify keeping weeds and grass under control. As I use a combination of top feed pots in a channel and wick feed pots my weeding efforts were a little bit more intense until I realised I can carefully pick things up and simply run over the spot with a lawn mower when things got too far out of control.

Select a place that has good sun throughout the year or be prepared to move your garden as the year progresses. Against walls can be great for late season crops and the portability of your hydroponic garden should not be overlooked as it can give you significant advantage but try wherever you can to move it between crops. If you have to move a plant do so gently to avoid damaging its root mass. Move things when you absolutely must not simply because you can.

Inclement weather is the only real bane to outdoor hydroponics. After a few days of heavy rain your plants, particularly those in wick feed systems will start to get a little waterlogged. Some gardeners prefer to cover the top of their pots to stop water flooding the plants. I prefer to have a drain plug in the bottom of my wick feed reservoirs so that I can remove it when their is a lot of rain. The rain will do a fantastic job of flushing the built up salts from your hydroponics system, this holds true with the reservoirs for a top feed or flood and drain system too, in those I have a drain hole at the high water mark so that the garden will not get flooded. Check the nutrients strength after a period of rain as you may find that your nutrient has been heavily diluted and will need replacing.

The final but possibly the most important consideration for an active outdoor hydroponics system is the question of safely providing power to your pumps. DO NOT simply run an extension lead accross your lawn unless there is a member of your household you specifically wish to lure out there in the rain and kill. Electricity and water are a deadly combination. Have an electrician install a waterproof outdoor outlet for your timer and pump lead. If you want to spare the expense use a passive system instead.