The 2 Best Hydroponic Water Heaters

When building a hydroponic system, water temperature is vital for the health of your crops. Within a temperature range, nutrient solutions and irrigation water are most effective. However, plants are vulnerable to damage if the liquid is excessively hot or too cold.

When water is too warm, it can damage the delicate roofing systems. Too cold and plants can face the same damage, and you can find issues with your system.

To solve this, hydroponic growers often ask. What are the 4 best hydroponic water heaters you can get? The best heaters all come from the same manufacturer and scale in sizes from 50 Watts up to 300 Watts. Gardeners can find these models in single heater packs, or they come in packages of two. It is worth noting; hydroponic heaters can only warm a particular volume of water.

Ideal Water Temperatures for Hydroponics

Because there are limited water heaters for hydroponics, we will also look at some of the best water chillers available. It makes no sense to heat water and then not be able to cool it if necessary.

A good hydroponic farmer should know the optimal temperature settings for their plants as there isn’t a single water temperature optimal for all hydroponic plants.

As a result, it is healthier to maintain a range of temperatures to maximize plant growth.

A good recommendation is to stick to a temperature range of 68 – 72 F (20-22 C) as this is suitable for beginners. Gardeners with more experience hover around the 75 F (24 C) range to cover a broader range of plant types.

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Water that is marginally outside the optimum range won’t kill your plants; it doesn’t mean operating at daily temperatures ranging to the extremes is acceptable.

Overheating from warm water increases root tissue respiration rates and leads to the growth of germs and fungus. Conversely, frigid conditions will slow a plant’s metabolism and hinder overall growth.

One pro gardening tip is to group plants based on temperature types and grow them in separate systems based on these conditions.

 

Hydrofarm Glass Reservoir Heater

This submersible reservoir heater has a high-impact glass housing that is easy to clean and resists corrosion or degradation. Excellent for keeping liquid tanks warm.

Features

  • Resistant to heat and shock.
  • Glass tubing heaters will never rust or deteriorate and are simple to clean.
  • Temperatures are displayed in Fahrenheit and Celsius.
  • Completely submersible in fresh or saltwater, as well as nutrient solutions.
  • Freezing damage is avoided.
  • On/Off indicator.
  • Maintains a constant warm temperature to prevent solutions from freezing or becoming too cold for practical use.

You’ll find the submersible reservoir heater has a high-impact glass casing, resists shattering, and is easy to clean. The glass heater never corrodes. It can be used in other areas besides hydroponics, such as aquariums, and is suitable for fresh or saltwater, besides your nutrient-rich growing solution.

The design is functional and straightforward, comprising an On/Off display and a large surface area to warm solutions efficiently.

The Hydrofarm Glass Reservoir Heater comes in 4 models:

  • 50-Watt pack of 2
  • 100 Watts pack of 2
  • 200 Watts pack of 2
  • 300 Watts pack of 2

Like all hydroponic heaters, the most significant downside is that each heater can only heat around 1 liter of water per Watt power, so a pack of two running at 50 watts can only heat 21 gallons.

EcoPlus Aqua Heat Titanium Water Heater

The EcoPlus Aqua Heat Titanium Water Heater may be submerged entirely and is fully automatic.

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It comprises a double heating tube, which is exceptionally dependable. The heater delivers a temperature range from 68F (20C) to 93F. (34C).

The temperature management is straightforward to use, and if used in aquariums, it is suitable for saltwater and freshwater and nutrient solutions in your hydroponics systems.

Features

  • The heater tube is fully submersible.
  • The electronic heater operates automatically.
  • Double heating tube.
  • Exceptionally durable.
  • Temperature management is simple.
  • Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater.
  • A warranty period of one year.

The EcoPlus comes in two models:

EcoPlus 200W heater

  • Voltage 120V.
  • Water Volume heated: 30 Gallon or 120L.

EcoPlus 300W heater

  • Voltage 120V.
  • Water Volume heated: 50 Gallon or 180L.

Hydroponic Water Chillers

When you look for a water chiller, these are more significant than the above water heaters and can resemble small air conditioning units. In function, this is how they work in theory and cool water rather than air.

You’ll notice these sit outside your tank rather than you submerge them. With this, you could find your ambient temperature rising because of using a chiller to cool your nutrient solution.

Water Chiller Pros and Cons

To keep nutrients cool, there are many ways to try and do this. However, water chillers are the most effective and reliable technique for completing this task.

Depending on the location of your system, maintaining a cooler temperature during the day could be a challenge, thus using a water chiller makes this far more manageable, and you won’t need to monitor your solution temperatures continually.

Chillers can be highly beneficial, yet this comes at the expense of the running costs. Water chillers can take a significant investment, and if there need to be any repairs, they can be costly.

Running costs are the key area hydroponic gardeners find as the most significant downsides to water chillers. As these are not submersible, you’ll find they are not waterproof, and they will need to sit undercover if outside.

Another thing worthy of noticing is that most refrigeration-type chillers won’t come with tubing or a water pump, and thus you have a further cost.

Best Hydroponic Water Chillers

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Chiller

Active Aqua is a reputable brand in the hydroponics industry. They are well known for energy-efficient yet low-cost chiller units.

Their chiller offerings are classed as refrigeration units and are kitted out with a microprocessor control system, allowing for simple control and access to the chiller functions.

You’ll find construction robust, and the unit comes with a titanium evaporator, compressor protection features, and temperature memory. In operating, it sits outside your tank yet runs quietly.

The most distinct feature is the turbo function, which speeds up cooling by up to three hours, cooling your hydroponic reservoir while saving money.

EcoPlus Chiller

The EcoPlus is another hydroponic specialist chiller unit that comes in three different models depending on the size of your reservoir.

  • EcoPlus Chiller 1/10 HP
  • EcoPlus Chiller 1/4 HP
  • EcoPlus Chiller 1/2 HP

The models can manage tanks ranging from 15 to 42 gallons and up to 132 gallons for the most significant models.

The models are units with components like the Active Aqua. In addition, they are equipped with a microcontroller and automatic temperature control. The same features are used in the construction of a titanium evaporator and compressor and sensor circuit protection.

EcoPlus is well-known for manufacturing highly efficient and cost-effective hydroponic water chillers.

Besides these two models, there are more available yet geared more toward aquariums. However, these are more expensive, but they can deal with significantly larger volumes of a nutrient solution if you need such a device.

Conclusion

If you consider all the above in mind, you will identify the proper measures you have to consider for your hydroponic system. Your environmental circumstances are, to some extent, outside your control and will undoubtedly differ from one hydroponic system to another.

As a result, you must stay in touch with your surroundings and care for your system, be it using a hydroponic water heater, water chiller, or even if you are lucky and need neither.

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Are Cheap Ph Pens Any Good? (9 tests and results)

Unlike soil-based growing, hydroponic gardeners keep close control on every detail. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor water quality, particularly the pH level of your fertilizer solution.

A great deal of hydroponic components can be expensive; however, there are often significantly cheaper alternatives. As a result, many gardeners look for ways to save money and ask many questions. 

Are cheap PH pens any good? They’re also known as pH meters or pH testers, besides nicknamed “pH pens.” You’ll find an ‘electrode,’ which all pH pens use to perform the same function as pH strips or drops. As a result, even a cheap pH pen will offer more precision. There are high-priced and low-priced models available, and more affordable pH pens can be a viable choice for beginners. One downside is they may not last like more expensive variants. All pH pens, however, require frequent maintenance and calibration.

 Why Monitoring Hydroponic pH is Important

So, what is the significance of pH? The pH of any growing medium, whether hydroponics or soil, influences plant growth.

It determines all nutrients available to plants and is more than just that some plants prefer acidic soils while others prefer more alkaline soils.

You can devote a significant amount of time to ensuring that your plants receive all the nutrients they require. However, if your pH is off, this will affect your plants as they won’t take nutrients until the solution is in the proper pH range, which means you’ve squandered time and effort providing them to your system.

Most plants like a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. While different plants have different requirements, a good rule of thumb is to stay within the optimal range of approximately 6.2.

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Another advantage of keeping slightly acidic solutions in your hydroponic system is that waterborne algae do not thrive as well in an acidic environment.

How Does a pH Pen Work?

Now that we’ve established that pH monitoring is critical to the growth of your hydroponic garden, it’s good to look at how these pH pens operate.

The hydrogen-ion concentration in your water is measured by your pH meter. It does so by measuring the difference in electrical potential between a reference electrode and a test electrode. So it is with this; the meter can tell if the solution is acidic or alkaline.

The pH pen features a glass electrode sensitive to hydrogen ions and a reliable reference electrode to simplify this operation. The difference between the two shows the pH of the liquid to the pH meter, and thus, you can adjust your nutrient solution as needed.

9 Top pH Pen Reviews

1# Bluelab pH Pen Pocket Tester – BEST OVERALL

The Bluelab pH pen is the best hydroponic pH meter available. It is pocket-sized for ease of carrying and storage, 100% waterproof, and measures pH and water temperature. In addition, the back-lit LCD makes it easy-to-read results after your reading.

Pros

  • Easily measure pH and temperature with one reading.
  • Completely waterproof.
  • To keep the probe moist, there is a sponge in the cap.
  • A one-year limited warranty is included.

Cons

  • Comes without a calibration kit.
  • Sensor bulbs can be fragile.

2# Hanna Instruments HI 9813-6N pH/EC/TDS Meter – BEST QUALITY

Hanna is another well-known manufacturer of pH and combo meters. The built-in calibration reminder is one of the best features of this pH meter. You won’t forget to calibrate and wonder why your readings are wrong. However, you pay a supplement for this feature.

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Pros

  • Measures pH, temperature, electro conductivity (EC), and total dissolved solids (TDS.
  • Great display that is simple to read.
  • Testing and calibration are simple to perform.
  • Dual calibration with 7.0 and 4.0.
  • Waterproof.

Cons

  • The cap comes without a seal lock.
  • Doesn’t have any anti-slip feet.

3# Dr. Meter Digital pH Meter – GOOD LOW PRICE

Sitting firmly at the opposite end of the budget table is the Dr. Meter hydroponic pH tester. It tests both temperature and pH levels without breaking the bank. While not as elaborate or feature-rich as some specialized solutions, the Dr. Meter device is a reasonable option and functions well.

Pros

  • Great budget offering without sacrifice.
  • Straightforward to calibrate.
  • It offers a nice large screen, which is easy to read.
  • Auto calibration with included solutions.

Cons

  • Batteries are difficult to install.
  • No replacement probes available.

4# Apera SX620 pH Pen Tester Kit – BEST SMALL PROBE

The narrow probe on this Apera Instruments pen tester quickly tests the pH level in everything from test tubes to big reservoirs. This device, like the other Apera Instruments devices, comes as a complete kit and needs calibrating regularly. However, it’s an excellent tiny device for keeping track of your solution, and the entire testing and calibration kit is pocket-sized.

Pros

  • Slim, easy to replace probe.
  • Comes with calibration solutions, storage case, and storage solution.
  • Long battery life.
  • Thoroughly dust and waterproof and will float.

Cons

  • The small screen is difficult to read.
  • It takes longer to conduct pH tests.

5# Apera AI209-T Value pH Test Kit – GREAT VALUE KIT

Apera Instruments’ value-level offering is also from the same stable. The AI209 is their low-cost test kit, and it’s popular. This water pH tester is portable and straightforward to use. The kit includes all the calibration solutions you’ll need to get accurate results. You can’t go wrong with the Apera Instruments AI209 if you want something cheap but all-inclusive.

Pros

  • Easy to calibrate.
  • Long battery life.
  • Comes with a probe cleaning brush & calibration solution.
  • Thoroughly water and dustproof.

Cons

  • The probe sensor can get bubbles.
  • It takes longer to take readings.

6# Bluelab Guardian pH Monitor – BEST LARGE SCALE

The Bluelab Guardian Monitor is the most fabulous combo meter. This meter is more expensive than the others, but it is perfect for serious growers with a considerable budget. Also, because it is always on and monitoring your garden, you will be notified when your metrics become out of range.

Pros

  • Large display.
  • Flashing alarms with live monitors.
  • Comes with accessories.

Cons

  • Not a budget option.
  • Probes can wear quickly without care and calibration.

7# Bluelab Combo pH Meter – Best Combo Meter

The Bluelab Combo Meter is the industry standard for pH, temperature, and PPM/EC/TDS meters. It follows.

Pros

  • Measures pH, temperature, and electro conductivity (EC).
  • It comes with a double junction pH probe that is replaceable.
  • Comes with an auto-off function.
  • Auto calibration.

Cons

  • Probes are fragile.
  • Units aren’t waterproof while the probes are.

8# Apera Instruments AI311 Premium pH Test Kit – Great Pocket Kit

While it necessitates particular care and maintenance, this pH water tester is an excellent choice. Apera Instruments offers a variety of versions, although this sits at the top end. It is sold as a complete kit that includes calibration solutions, a high-quality glass probe, and even storage and battery options.

Pros

  • Easy to calibrate.
  • The probe is replaceable.
  • 3-color LED window identifies operation mode.
  • Fully waterproof.

Cons

  • Needs protection from frigid conditions.
  • Replacement probes are expensive.

9# Oakton EcoTestr Pocket pH Meter – Best for Old Standards

The Oakton EcoTestr is an old standard for a pocket-sized pH tester. It offers a larger display battery life indicator, and the cap can be fixed to the other end of the pen while you use it.

Pros

  • A reliable option for precise results
  • Measures pH and temperature
  • Fully Waterproof and dustproof
  • Pocket size for convenience
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • It might not last as long as some other offerings.
  • It requires frequent calibration.

Manual pH Testing vs. Digital pH Meters

There are two basic types of pH meters: manual and digital. If you are a severe hydroponic grower, you already use a digital pH meter or looking for a good pH pen.

Here you can find a breakdown of the things you need to know about manual testing against digital pH testing.

Manual pH testing

Manual pH testing is performed with a basic kit, like the water pH test kit used to evaluate the pH of a swimming pool. Manual water pH test kits are less expensive than digital pH meters and are much easier to use.

You have less worry about falling and breaking, or parts from the kit corrode and stop working. Because of these traits, manual testing kits are suitable for growers who are just starting in hydroponics and need a cost-effective way of monitoring their nutrients.

Downsides to Manual pH Testing​

Manual pH testing has drawbacks that make it unsuitable for serious growers. Working with manual pH test strips or pH fluid takes more time and effort.

Time management becomes a barrier for dedicated growers, especially compared to the simplicity of a digital pH meter.

Accuracy is another issue as PH strips can make it hard to read or translate the results, particularly when colorblind. This can cause an inaccurate reading, which can influence your system. Even with good eyesight, it’s challenging to decipher the colors against the table to determine what the reading is supposed to be.

Digital pH Testing

If you intend to perform lots of hydroponic cultivation, digital pH meters are the way to go. These meters can last for ages when cared for and calibrated correctly. In addition, they are highly accurate than manual pH testing methods.

Digital meters are also fast, allowing you to test frequently and quickly, making them significantly more efficient than manual pH meters.

Downsides to Digital pH Meters​

Of course, all this comfort and efficiency comes with a price tag. The top digital pH meters are more expensive than manual pH meters, but they also demand more care.

Digital pH meters must be calibrated regularly to remain accurate, and without proper maintenance, your expensive digital pH meter will fail.

Caring for Your pH Meter

All your calibration efforts will be wasted if you don’t take the time to care for your pH meter.

Even if most instructions are lengthy, the first thing you should do when you receive a new pH meter is read the relevant handbook that comes with it. The instructions should include how to care for your pH meter. If they don’t, contact the manufacturer to find out why.

You must complete the following with every pH meter:

  • Pay attention to the detailed instructions.
  • Maintain calibration.
  • For best saturation, keep meters with storage solutions in the cap upright.
  • To remove air bubbles, lightly swirl your meter in the storage solution.
  • Don’t touch the sensor electrode or reference cell, as oils on your skin can damage the sensor and influence readings.
  • Keep away from excessive temperatures and humidity.
  • Do not store your sensor in distilled water.
  • Handle with caution.

Calibrating Your pH Pen

If you’re using the digital path as most gardeners end up doing, you’ll need to know the correct pH pen calibration steps. 

You’ll need a buffer solution before you start. A buffer solution is a pH meter standard reference point that a laboratory has validated. Most buffer solutions are liquid, but they can also be purchased in powder form and mixed with water if desired.

Once you have your buffer solution, follow these steps to calibrate your pH meter:

  1. To get accurate readings, immerse your meter in the buffer solution.
  2. Adjust your meter reading to match the buffer solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions (these can differ for digital and analog meters.
  3. Repeat in a different pH buffer solution for greater accuracy.
  4. Calibrate your pH meter once a week or at least once a month if you use it frequently.
  5. When replacing a sensor, always calibrate your pH meter to ensure accurate readings.
  6. Instructions will be sent with your pH meter. If the instructions differ, make sure you read them before calibrating your meter.

Conclusion

You can spend any amount of money on pH pens, and although you may think more expensive options offer better results, you can still get poor results if they are not calibrated correctly.

Every option here is suitable for all gardeners and covers all system sizes from the smallest to the largest.

No matter which you go for, you will quickly be able to offer your plants the ideal pH within a shorter time than using older methods.

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Aquarium Gravel For Hydroponics: What You Should Know

With Hydroponics, the soil is subtracted from the equation to be replaced by nutrient-rich water. The roots are generally embedded in a support medium, like Rockwool, expanded clay, or perlite and the nutrients are provided either by a drip or an ebb and flow system.

These support mediums are widely used and have varied price ranges, advantages and disadvantages. Part of their role is to support the plants themselves, aid in nutrient absorption and water retention, and assist in controlling the overall environment so that there are no ph fluctuations outside the accepted ranges in this enclosed ecosphere.

In the end, they can influence factors such as whether there will be a mediocre yield or an abundant harvest.

One media that is often overlooked is gravel. It is not the first choice of many a hydro culturist but it has many advantages, mainly its cost-effectiveness, ready availability, and its durability. Just for those reasons alone many hydroponic growers believe it is worth using as a substrate.

Gravel Advantages and Disadvantages for Hydroponics

The preferred support medium to use in hydroponics is one that does not absorb water, is ph neutral, is reusable and provides good aeration. Gravel ticks all these boxes and then some, coming in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Gravel for hydroponics generally falls into two categories, “sharp” gravel or “pea” gravel, and whichever is chosen can sometimes just be a matter of preference. However, whatever type of gravel chosen it is advisable to wash thoroughly to eliminate any debris, dust or dirt particles that can perhaps clog any pumps used.

The distinction between the two is that one is rounded and the other has sharp edges, and a mixture of the two is ideally suited for use as a substrate, generally a mixture of 3/8 to 5/8.

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This screening mixture allows particles to filter through and pass their nutrients onto the hanging roots. If the gravel is too densely packed, it would prohibit the free flow of nutrients to the plants and literally starve the crops to death.

What the sharper pieces of gravel tend to do is hold on to nutrients as they flow over the surface areas. This is important because minute particles of nutrients become trapped between the small jagged crevices, and in between the irrigation, the cycle helps to sustain the plants.

Apart from that the rougher surface also provides the roots a better ability to anchor to for stability, where a smoother rock would not, and also the rougher surfaces stops the gravel itself from shifting whenever the water is flowing through and around it.

Occasionally the gravel itself will become soiled and need to be cleaned. Fortunately, unlike some other substrates which have to be thrown out and replaced, gravel can be extracted from the grow bed after harvesting, and any unwanted material that is adhering to surfaces can be washed free. Once free of any dead roots or debris, the now cleaned and sterilized gravel can be put back into position for the next planting session.

This process can be repeated indefinitely, saving a lot of time, money, and effort in transporting the aggregate from the store.

As you can imagine the weight of the gravel can be a disadvantage in transportation and installation and that will reflect in the structural considerations for the hydroponic setup.

Whatever planting structure is used to house the substrate and the hydroponics farm, has to be capable of supporting the weight of the gravel over a long period of time, as well as the weight of the water that also has to be factored into the weight baring equation.

Gravel In Hydroponics And The pH Level                                                                               

The ph level in both hydroponics and aquaponics is constantly requiring recalibration and monitoring to maintain the narrow range. This chemical reaction can occur depending on the type of gravel rock used and that can affect the ph level, raising it higher than the accepted range. If that happens it can interfere with the nutrient absorption as the water flows throughout the system, and adversely affect the plants.

Whether the water is alkaline or acidic can also play a major role in the ph stability ranges and how the gravel will interact within this biosystem. If the water has too much alkalinity, the ph levels can be difficult to stabilize even with the proper equipment and can work out to be a costly endeavor trying to maintain the equilibrium.

On the other hand, too acidic a water source can be aided by the gravel which will actually correct the imbalance.

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So, it pays to understand the type of water that is going to be used first in the hydroponic system in regards to its natural ph ratio, as that will help to decide the type of gravel to be selected to avoid any future problems.

Being nonporous, gravel does not have the ability to hold on to water itself. With a drip irrigation system that is not a problem as there is a fairly constant supply of water. However, if using the flood and drain method a back-up system may be required in case of a power cut, or one of the pipes becoming blocked.

And for this reason, with the use of gravel, the watering cycle needs to be more frequent or the roots will dry out and eventually die.

Another item of note to pay attention to is the depth of the gravel which can play a crucial role in the development of the roots. If the gravel is too shallow the roots will not be properly supported and anchored, which in turn will affect the root growing capacity.

If the gravel is too shallow there is also a risk that a layer of algae can form along the surface area which will attract fungi gnats that will revel in feasting on the roots of the crops.

Having a depth of at least 50mm will eliminate this potential build-up as light cannot penetrate to that depth and interact with the moisture to allow the algae to flourish.

The Gravel Truth in Hydroponics

Using gravel as a support medium is ideally suited to an ebb and flow watering system where the aggregate is watered several times a day. It does not absorb nor hold onto the water but its cost-effectiveness and the ability to source it locally offset this disadvantage.

It is important to note that the gravel selected needs to be chemically inert so does not alter the ph level unduly in the ecosystem, so limestone should be avoided. There’s nothing worse than opting for a cheaper support medium only to be committed to doing twice the work in constantly having to recalibrate the ph levels.

Growing crops hydroponically may be a soil-less endeavor but the gravel truth is that it could be the start of a new revolution in sustainable growing, ushering in a new way to feed the world.

And at the end of the day who wouldn’t want to be able to grow more food, faster, and in a completely controlled environment?

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8 Easy Herbs to Grow in Hydroponics (with pictures)

It doesn’t matter if you are growing herbs for culinary purposes or medicinal, hydroponics is a great way to grow them. There are some reasons for doing so, and the first is that they grow faster. You can then add to this they come with more aroma and flavor than soil-grown counterparts can. Research even shows, hydroponic herbs contain up to 40% more aromatic oils.

Not only this, but growers can have a range of herbs growing that they could otherwise struggle to grow in their region.

These are easy herbs to grow in hydroponics:

  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Anise
  • Dill
  • Catnip

Like all plants, herbs care about temperature, light and water. If you swing too low or too high in either direction for any of these herbs, they will end up dying. Growing herbs using hydroponics helps you to keep yielding herbs no matter the season or the weather. Hydroponic growing just takes up less space and reduces water consumption.

While all herbs can be easy to grow, here are the top eight herbs to grow in a hydroponic system. We’ll go over the basics and the benefits of each one.

Basil

Basil is a popular choice for hydroponics because this herb is ideal when used fresh to hold on to the aroma and flavor. Dried basil loses these qualities. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see restaurants and greenhouses using a hydroponics system for their basil herbs.

Altogether, there are 150 different species of basil, but the most common are:

  • Sweet Basil
  • Genovese Basil
  • Thai Sweet Basil
  • Purple Basil
  • Lemon Basil
  • Lime Basil
  • Lettuce Basil
  • Spicy Basil
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You can plant basil two ways, by germinating the seeds, or by planting cuttings, which form their roots within a week’s time. Basil is a warm-weather herb, so it’s best to maintain a temperature of between 70 – 80 Fahrenheit. Rockwool blocks are the most common medium used with growing basil in hydroponics. You can though use peat moss, coco coir, perlite and vermiculite, although these need sterilizing before use.

You should note that Pythium is a threat to basil seedlings. What is Pythium? Pythium is a fungus that will attack and spread disease against many herbaceous crops. The best way to avoid Pythium or other damping-off pathogens is to take great care with assuring your growing media surface is not too damp.

Once you come to harvest basil, you can remove the top 1/3 to 2/3’s of the upper foliage. The plant will continue to grow this back, where you can cut again. Basil can regrow up to 2 to 3 times before it’s recommended to replace the plant altogether and start fresh.

It is advisable to just cut the amount of basil you require, this saves the worry of trying to keep it in a good condition. Once you pick basil, the shelf life of basil is only a few days, so it can be better to leave it growing on the plant until required. You can check this video to see how easy it can be to grow perpetual basil in a hydroponic system.

Chamomile

If you’re a big fan of tea, you might like to know that you can grow your own chamomile, indoors with hydroponics. Chamomile has many amazing antioxidant properties that have been shown to lower the risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer. They also help with fighting insomnia and poor digestion issues.

Many will use a floating seed tray to help germinate chamomile seeds. After the seedlings grow to about 2 inches, you’ll want to get rid of the weakest ones so that there is only one strong seedling per cell in the tray. Germination of chamomile seeds can take up to 1-2 weeks. It’s recommended that chamomile receives up to 16 hours of light daily.

As it pertains to pH ranges, chamomile has broad compatibility. It can range anywhere from 5.6 to 7.5. Ideally, you’ll probably want to hit in the middle at 6.5 for optimal growing results. After about 8 weeks, you’ll be ready to harvest your chamomile flowers.

You can harvest the flowers by cutting up to 3 inches of the stem off and then drying them on a cloth in a shady area. You could make replanting much simpler by not harvesting all the flowers, which allows them to re-seed themselves. Store your chamomile in an airtight container in a dark and cool area for preservation. To see more of the Chamomile health benefits, you can read more here.

Rosemary

This Mediterranean herb is an evergreen, with needle-like leaves. The herb can dawn white, pink, purple, or sometimes blue flowers. You can use Rosemary as an aid for a wide variety of problems such as

  • Digestion issues
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Toothache
  • Insect repellent
  • And More

Growing rosemary hydroponically compared to other herbs can prove a much slower. You can expect a harvest time of up to 12 weeks, and the yields from seeds are always very low. Growing them hydroponically still proves much more efficient.

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These herbs are sensitive to fungal infections, powdery mildew, and mites. An NFT hydroponic setup is the most ideal for this herb, and they should be exposed to temperatures ranging from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit max.

Here are some quick tips for growing rosemary hydroponically.

  1. Keep the pH range between 5.5-7.0
  2. Humidity levels should remain average.
  3. Expose the herb to 11 hours of daylight as a minimum
  4. You can harvest 2-3 times per sowing, this can also be done all year round.

Oregano

Oregano is a part of the mint family and they have used this herb for thousands of years for cooking and medicinal needs. The ancient Greeks used oregano to treat GI disorders, menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections, skin conditions, and dandruff. They have studied oregano many times for its antimicrobial activity that wards off Listeria pathogens.

Hydroponic Oregano will grow well in pH ranges between 6.0 and 9.0, for optimal results the range should fall between 6.0 and 8.0. It’s common to use Rockwool cubes to germinate the seeds which can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks. Some other common media are Oasis Root Cubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.

Oregano is a slow grower, and it will take up to 8 weeks after a transplant up to your first harvest. If you grow outdoors, oregano loves full sun, so when growing under lights, the exposure won’t be any different. T5 tubes are ideal to deliver the right light and to avoid drying or burning of the leaves, these should be around 2 to 4 inches from the plant tops.

Cilantro

From seed to harvest, you’re looking at about 50-55 days for cilantro when grown hydroponically. This herb choice is very low maintenances and doesn’t require trimming. They can be harvested partially or fully. 

If you’re a food lover, you already know what cilantro is great for. Toppings, garnishes, salsas, you name it. Although some people don’t prefer the taste of it, why? Many people experience the taste of cilantro differently. Some describe it as a fresh and cool taste while others think its tastes like soap. Here’s a scientific explanation of why that is.

A few tips for growing cilantro  hydroponically:

  • Temperatures can remain anywhere between 40 degrees Fahrenheit up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are faster germination rates for temperatures in the 60s.
  • Watch out for powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spots, which are common with cilantro. High humidity levels and exposure to too much moisture cause these spots.

It will need plenty of water, yet it mustn’t be over-watered. Oscillating air is also recommended to replicate a sturdier outdoor habitat.

Anise

This uncommonly heard of herb has a licorice taste to it. It’s sometimes also referred to as aniseed. While Anise can fight off many common problems those, other herbs also help with like digestion issues, gas, cramps, and more.

While the licorice type taste can leave it unpopular with many, it proves resourceful for flavoring bread, sausages, cookies, and cakes. Anise seedlings are very delicate and hard to transfer, so it’s best to let the seeds germinate and grow in their respective containers without moving them. You’ll find that it can take up to 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate.

You’ll want to keep the pH range from around 5.5 to 6.5. Meeting in the middle at 6.0 is the most optimal for growth. The seedlings benefit most by having an oscillating fan gently stirring the wind for a couple of hours each day.

Anise is best harvested by cutting the plant as needed and place in a protected area free from direct sunlight in order to dry out. They can also be hung upside down. They are completely harvested as soon as the heads begin to appear brown. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light. Typically, anise will have a shelf life of up to 1 year.

Dill

Dill is a celery family herb that grows annually. It’s most commonly seen grown in Eurasia where it is used for flavoring foods. You can use fresh dill or dried dill in your recipes. When using fresh dill, the stems are not included. Growing dill hydroponically is quite simple, and it thrives in this type of growing environment.

Tips for growing dill hydroponically:

  • Place the seeds on a piece of Rockwool and press them in. Keep the Rockwool moist with water and nutrients waiting for the seeds to germinate? Germination can take 7-10 days but may happen sooner.
  • Allow for ample room to grow and remember that dill can actually grow as tall as three feet high sometimes.
  • Harvest by cutting only the leafy foliage and remove the stems when the seeds appear brown and ripe.

Culinary uses for dill include:

  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Dips
  • Casseroles
  • Pickles

Medicinal uses include:

  • Relieving stomach bloat and gas
  • Headaches
  • Cramping

Catnip

If you have a cat, you might choose to hydroponically grow this herb mainly for their satisfaction and of course to provide some mild entertainment for yourself. Catnip though contrary to popular beliefs and the name itself is not just used for cats. Since the early 1700s, catnip has been documented for its ability to relieve cramps and indigestion when used in herbal teas.

Here are some tips for growing catnip hydroponically indoors:

  • You can easily propagate catnip by using leaf-tip cuttings or seeds.
  • Provide up to 5 hours of light daily.
  • Supply a steady amount of water with proper drainage. Catnip can be prone to root rot, so try to avoid too wet of an environment.
  • Watch out for mold growth, which can happen from too much misting.
  • Remove any infestations from pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whitefly.
  • Don’t let your cat come near your system!

Is it Better to Grow Herbs Hydroponically?

As always, hydroponic systems come out as top contenders do when it comes to efficiently growing plants and crops. Herbs will benefit most from the ability to receive a constant supply of nutrients and oxygen through the watering system. On average herbs, grow about 25 percent to 50 percent faster in a hydroponic environment, than an outdoor soil environment.

Additionally, some herbs are better off fresh. Hydroponic systems give restaurants, supermarkets, and commercial growers the ability to produce fresh herbs for their customers, which allows for greater flavor and cost-efficiency.

Consider these benefits of growing your herbs hydroponically:

  1. You don’t need soil. While some may love the naturistic appeal of getting your hands dirty with gardening out the sunshine, the fact of the matter is, some of us prefer not to have to go that route. Hydroponic growth really only requires water and some simple mediums.
  1. You’ll have larger yields and faster growths. As stated earlier, you will see 25 to 50 percent faster growth in a hydroponic system than you will as an outdoor crop. This faster growth means you can yield more in a smaller amount of time.
  1. Less maintenance. Most hydroponic systems run on autopilot, leaving you to only check on the pH balance and refresh the nutrient solution every week.
  1. Herbs most commonly fall prey to pests and insects. Having an indoor hydroponic system will eliminate those threats significantly.
  1. You will conserve more water. Hydroponics systems, on average, only use up to 10% of the water that outdoor soil plants require. The water gets filtered and reused continuously.
  1. You can control the environment. Is your area prone to flooding, storms, or even frigid temperatures? You don’t have to worry about this with an indoor hydroponic system that will always be in a tightly controlled environment and safe.  
  1. You need not use herbicides and insecticides, which means you can keep your herbs 100% organic and free of harmful chemicals.
  1. You will save a significant amount of space using hydroponic gardening. Systems can be customizable and even built vertically.
  1. Many claim that hydroponic gardening helps relieve stress. There’s also something about bringing a piece of your outdoor environment inside of your home. Having another living breathing piece of the environment near you can have positive effects on your mental health.
  1. It’s an all-around fun hobby to get into, what’s better than the satisfaction you get from knowing you grew a plant from start to finish, nurturing it every step of the way?  Whether or not you have a natural green thumb, hydroponics is straightforward, even for beginners!

What Different Types of Hydroponic Systems Can You Use?

Ebb & Flow Systems

Ebb & Flow systems use a water tank that is kept separate from where the herb containers are. A pump will pull the water into the herb containers so they can receive the needed water and nutrients then the water drains from the containers back into the main reservoir that is then properly pH balanced, filtered, and supplied with nutrients.

Deep Water Systems

They design these systems with the beginner in hydroponics in mind. With the use of a small pump, the water in this system remains oxygenated and circulated, which is optimal for herb growth.

Aeroponic Systems

For maximum oxygen exposure to herb roots, aeroponics systems are used. These systems use a misting spray method that allows the roots to get the needed water and nutrients but keep them exposed to the valuable oxygen in the air.

Drip Systems

For a sterile approach, drip systems will feed the water and nutrients into the containers of the herbs in smaller amounts; a timer keeps the drip system on schedule and running at specific intervals.

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The 7 Best Small Hydroponics Kits

While many individuals like building their own Hydroponics system, there are others who either don’t have space, or they want something that they can use in a corner, and they can have them up and running with little effort.

Because of this group of people, there are plenty of systems on the market which are available, but when you are a new grower, it can be hard to know which is the best system to choose. There are different types of hydroponic systems, and knowing which is the best for your space can quickly become overwhelming.

With this in mind, we will take a look at the top 7 small kits you can purchase that deliver fantastic results, and can have you well on your way to running a fully-fledged hydroponic system.

Before looking at these, we will go through a few sections because there is some consideration that could affect your purchasing choice.

Hydroponic Buying Guide

Here we will take a quick look at each type of system, in turn, what it offers and the pros and cons of each type of system.

DWC (Deep Water Culture)

This is one of the easiest systems you can have. In this, the plant roots will be suspended in highly-oxygenated water/ nutrients. To add the oxygen to the water, you will make use of an air pump and air stones. This dissolves the air into the water, and thus, it prevents your plants from drowning.

No matter how these systems are designed, they will have a reservoir where the plants sit suspended in net pots in the top of the tank.

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DWC Pros

  • Very easy to install, set up and maintain
  • Fast plant growth as roots can absorb massive amounts of oxygen
  • There are no moving parts so nothing can clog the system
  • DWC uses less water and nutrients
  • Organic nutrients can be used as they are unable to obstruct anything

DWC Cons

  • Point of failure is the air pump. If this fails plants can die in a couple of hours
  • Water temperature needs to stay under 70F. A water chiller can be used as required
  • Algae can be a problem if light penetrates the reservoir

Flood and Drain (Ebb and Flow)

This basically has two system areas. There will be a reservoir and a flood table. At set periods, the flood table will be filled with the water and nutrient mix. After a fixed period, the pump will turn off, and the water drains back to the reservoir.

With the use of a timer, this happens around the clock to make sure the plants receive all the water and nutrients they require.

Some plants do need spells of dryness to aid in the expansion of their roots. This flood and drain system is ideal for this. This does require a water pump and to gain the most benefit, it is hand to include an air pump.

Flood and Drain Pros

  • Fast plant growth
  • Easy to install, set up and maintain
  • Flooding the pots allows for high levels of nutrients to be taken by the plants
  • Less waste due to recycling of water
  • Fantastic for plants which thrive in dry and wet spells

Flood and Drain Cons

  • Constant checking of pH levels is required. These will change with the solution recycling
  • Point of weakness is the water pump, plants will die if there is no way of watering them due to failure
  • Some plants don’t like to stand in so much water (strawberries), this can be unsuitable for some plants
  • Pumps can become clogged due to debris flowing from the flood table into the reservoir

NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)

In this system, there is a stream of shallow water that runs along a channel. Here the roots sit in this stream taking up the water and nutrients. These channels slope downward, and gravity forces the water to the bottom where they are returned back to the reservoir. In this method, there is not much growing medium, and all that is required is something to support the plants inside the net pots.

While you may think the plants will drown in the water, it is only the tips which sit in the solution, and the rest of the root system sit in thin air. This enables them to take up more oxygen. The object of this system is to grow as many plants in the smallest amount of space.

NFT Pros

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  • Small amounts of growing medium required
  • Easy to maintain as nutrients and water is continually circulated around the system
  • Can produce its own oxygenated water, but there is no harm by adding an air pump
  • Fast plant growth due to highly oxygenated root systems

NFT Cons

  • There is limited space for large root masses. This limits the types of plants which can be grown
  • This continuous stream of water and nutrients is ideal for the early stages of plants growth, but not overly suitable for the flowering stages.
  • The main point of failure is the water pump. If this fails or clogs, then plants can die in a few hours

Drip Systems

In this system, there is a constant drip of water and nutrients into the bucket. This runs across the rooting system and works its way back to the reservoir by means of gravity. The plants can take all they need while still being able to absorb oxygen through the roots.

Drip Pros

  • Minimal components required
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • Suitable for beginners or advanced growers
  • Ideal for plants which need a constant source of water

Drip Cons

  • Lines that drip the solution can easily clog
  • The main point of failure is the pump. Plants can die once the growing medium has dried
  • The pH levels can vary due to the recycling of the water and nutrients.

Wick Systems

This is the most basic of all hydroponic systems. It is the cheapest to run as there are no moving parts and all they rely on is water being sucked from the reservoir up to the growing medium. High draining growing mediums are advised, so they don’t become too waterlogged. Vermiculite and perlite are recommended.

Wick Pros

  • Very easy for new growers
  • Cheapest of all systems to purchase and to run
  • No moving parts that can become clogged
  • Fantastic for smaller plants such as herbs

Wick Cons

  • Not suitable for larger plants that need lots of feeding
  • Plant size is limited because there is less water available
  • EC levels require monitoring as water, and nutrient uptake will be uneven
  • There can be a buildup of mineral salts in the growing medium

It would have been nice to include the best wick kit. Unfortunately, the system is so simple that there are no retailers for this kind of system. Such is the ease of building one of these, you would be wasting money by purchasing one.

Best Hydroponic Kits

With that out of the way, we can now look at the best kits you can purchase.

Best DWC Kits

SavvyGrow 6 Site DWC System

This system has 6 sites and is very cheap. However, it does come with all you need to begin growing aside from your lighting. This system is ideal for herbs or smaller plants and can be placed in any sunny location.

Items included:

  • Water level indicator
  • Air pump for optimum water oxygenation
  • Starter pack of nutrients
  • Growing medium
  • Net Pots

Instructions are well laid out, but not as easy as we would have liked for very new growers. This system can boost growth along with the added air pump.

SavvyGrow Pros

  • Includes everything you need to begin growing, excluding seeds.
  • Very efficient air pump for oxygenating water
  • The self-watering system makes things even easier for new growers

SavvyGrow Cons

  • Instructions could have been easier to understand

Product Information

  • SavvyGrow Amazon rating 4.5
  • Number of customer reviews 24
  • Size 17.4 x 11.5 x 6.1 inches
  • Weight 6.15 lbs.

Best Drip Kit

General Hydroponics 706721 Eco Grower Drip Hydroponic System

This system comes from one of the biggest names in hydroponics. It is more than capable of growing plants which are nutrient-hungry.

Items included:

  • 17-gallon reservoir
  • Spider drip assembly
  • Pump column
  • 6 lid inserts and net pots
  • CocoTek liners
  • Air pump
  • Growing Medium
  • General Hydroponic Nutrients

Although not the cheapest, this is a budget system that is capable of producing large plants such as tomatoes. Nutrients are delivered to the plants steadily and are very efficient by the use of emitters that provide these nutrients directly to the roots.

General Hydroponics EcoGrower Pros

  • Ideal for larger plants – comes with 6 x 8-inch pots
  • Revolutionary drip system
  • Comes with the best nutrients you can buy

General Hydroponics EcoGrower Cons

  • Requires periodic checking to make sure there are no clogs
  • Needs placing close to a water source

Product Information

  • General Hydroponics Amazon rating 3.5
  • Number of customer reviews 23
  • Size 26 x 13 x 18 inches
  • Weight 30.5 lbs.

Best Flood and Drain Kit

Viagrow Complete Ebb & Flow Hydroponics System

This comes with a 20-gallon reservoir which is more than enough to cater for the 16 plants it can hold. Everything is automatic and will deliver the precise amount of water, nutrients while still allowing your plants the correct amount of oxygen.

Plants grow fast with high yields. The system is all metal apart from the flood bed and the reservoir.

Items included:

  • Flood and drain fitting kit
  • 50 liter of growing medium
  • Submersible pump
  • 16 x 1-gallon nursery pots

For a system that is so small, this is as close as you can get to a full sized system. It delivers results as much if you have the correct grow light hanging above it. It may be too large for some, but it can still fit into small areas.

Viagrow Complete Ebb and Flow System Pros

  • Can grow up to 16 plants
  • Very strong
  • Can easily be converted to a drip system

Viagrow Complete Ebb and Flow System Cons

  • 20-gallon tank should be 40 gallons for the size of the system
  • The two-inch overflow should ideally be four inches

Product Information

  • Viagrow Amazon rating 3.5
  • Number of customer reviews 17
  • Size 36 x 36 x 7 inches for the flood tray
  • Weight 100 lbs.

Best NFT Kit

DreamJoy Hydroponic Grow Kit 

This NFT kit can come to hold different numbers of plants. This ranges from 36 to 108. It uses food grade PVC  and will use less water and nutrients.

Items included

  • Water pump
  • 15.25ft hose
  • 8 pipes
  • 1 pipe holder
  • Seed sponges

This type of system is suitable for growing a high number of plants in a small footprint. It is economical to run and delivers some of the fastest growth rates while using hardly any growing medium. The most significant drawbacks are you need to fully assemble it yourself, and you need to purchase the reservoir separately.

Unlike other hydroponic kits, with this one, you get no nutrients, and it is basically the bare essentials to get you started.

DreamJoy NFT Pros

  • The fast growth of plants
  • 72 sites for plants
  • No growing medium required

DreamJoy NFT Cons

  • No reservoir needs purchasing separately
  • Not suitable for larger plants
  • Pump can clog
  • Hard to clean

Product Information

  • DreamJoy Amazon rating: 4
  • Number of customer reviews: 21
  • Size: 31 x 11 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 22.4 lbs.

Other Small Hydroponic Kits

These small kits are a far cry from the others listed above but for really new growers who don’t have space to cater for the systems mentioned. These are a good way of trying hydroponics in the smallest of footprints.

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra LED

This small hydroponic system is hugely popular. It delivers excellent results in the smallest of spaces. One thing with this little system is it comes with an LED grow light, so there really is nothing left to purchase.

Items included:

  • 7-pod gourmet herb seeds
  • LCD controlled growing unit
  • Nutrients

This system is capable of growing 7 small plants at a time. With the addition of the LCD control panel, it tells you when to add water, nutrients and also turns the light on and off as required.

To get started, it is as simple as filling with water and inserting the pods and hitting the on switch. The most significant drawback for this little system is when you want to go away from the Miracle-Gro pods or nutrients.

Miracle-Gro Pros

  • Small enough to fit on the countertop
  • Energy efficient
  • Already comes with all you need
  • Includes LED grow light

Miracle-Gro Cons

  • Small for some plants
  • You need to purchase patented seed pods and nutrients

Product Information

  • Miracle-Gro Amazon rating: 4.5
  • Customer reviews: 507
  • Size: 17.25 x 11.25 x 15-34 inches. Height adjustable for the lamp
  • Light: 30-watt full spectrum LED – 20,000-hour rating
  • Weight: 12.75 lbs.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Hydroponic Garden

This can be seen as the big brother of the previous system. This allows growers to fit in 24 seed pods compared to the 7 in the previous system.

It comes with the same control panel and functions, and simple 1,2,3 steps to get it up and running are precisely the same.

Now instead of being limited to growing plants under one light, there are now two LED’s included. This gives 60 watts of power for your healthy plants and vegetables.

Items included:

  • 24-pod salad bar seed pack
  • LCD controlled growing unit
  • Nutrients

Product Information

  • Miracle-Gro Amazon rating: 4.5
  • Customer reviews: 28
  • Size: 36 x 12 x 12 – 36 inches. Height adjustable for the lamp
  • Light: 60-watt full spectrum LEDs total – 20,000-hour ratings
  • Weight: 22 lbs.

This small powerhouse of a unit now comes with Wi-Fi so you can adjust settings from your phone while you are away from home.

Back to the Roots Water Garden 

Although isn’t strictly a hydroponic system, and it does err onto the side of aquaponics, it deserves a worthy mention because of the number of customer reviews. With over 1,000, and the majority being positive, there has to be something special about this quirky little system.

Items included:

  • 3-gallon fish tank
  • Wheatgrass and radish seeds
  • A coupon for the betta fish
  • Fish food
  • Fertilizer
  • Silent submersible pump
  • Gravel and growstones

To get this up and running, all you need to do is add your seeds and your water and fish and hit the switch for the pump. As long as it is in a well-lit area, you can watch the fish producing the right amount of fertilizer that is then fed to the plants. They are busy soaking up the nutrients and cleaning the water before it is passed back to the fish.

Product Information

  • Back to Roots Amazon rating: 3.5
  • Customer reviews: 1165
  • 13.3 x 9.4 x 13.3 inches
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs.

Conclusion

All of the above systems deliver the best in their respective system types and are configurable enough for any new grower to choose one which fits into their space.

While there are many others available, they are all variations of the ones listed above. While there are a couple of downsides to one or two, the plus points outweigh these by a considerable margin. The main thing with all of these systems is, they are more than capable of growing copious amounts of plants and vegetables.

Hydroponics Unearthed eBook

The 8 Best Hydroponic Books for Beginners

The rise of Hydroponics has caught the interest of many wannabe growers from all walks of like. Many urban dwellers are limited on space but see Hydroponics as a means of growing their own healthy vegetables, and it is something they wish to venture into.

To many newcomers, Hydroponics might be confusing, and they wish to read up on the subject before diving in and committing to building their own system. There are plenty of hurdles a new grower can face, and having a good understanding, or having the means of quickly finding the solution can make all the difference, and save hours of head scratching for a solution

The internet contains vast amounts of information on the subject. However, a lot of this is written with growers who have already started and already possess some knowledge of what they are doing. There is also the fact, some readers prefer a book to read rather than searching through websites to find the answer.

If you want to know how to get to the roots of Hydroponics, here are the top 8 books for beginners that can help you on your way. Once you finally decide to build your system, you will also have a quick reference point where to go, or jog your memory if there is something you are unsure about.

Is there One Book That Covers Everything?

Before checking out the list of books found that are helpful for beginners, it is worth noting, there is no “Bible of Hydroponics.” This is because all systems and growing areas are different, and can be affected by any slight change. Most books are general in their view, and even then it can take some experience to know what to use from the books, and how the content meets your needs.

It might be the case, some of the books delve into specific areas in depth, or their focus throughout is on one area of Hydroponics rather than a guide from start to finish.

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In many cases, you might need more than one book to get you started. Most of the books listed use the word “beginner” in very different terms, and if you already have some understanding of Hydroponics, then one or two from the list might be beneath your knowledge.


UPDATE

Since writing this article, I’ve compiled all the information I’ve learnt about hydroponics and smashed it into one huge ebook (PDF) which you can get here. Even better – it’s currently on sale!

I might be bias – but I think it’s the best all-round hydroponics book for anyone!


Hydroponic Books for Beginners

Hydroponics: Hydroponics Essential Guide

The Step-By-Step Hydroponic Gardening Guide to Grow Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs at Home (Hydroponics for Beginners, Gardening, Homesteading, Home Grower)

This book was first published in 2016, and ranks highly in some of the categories it has been entered. It weighs in at 136 pages, and the author is Andy Jacobson.

While checking customer reviews, plenty state the author has made a great introduction into Hydroponics and covers the basics for individuals who know nothing about growing plants this way.

The author has included sections on the following:

  • What is Hydroponics?
  • Choosing a Hydroponic Medium
  • Types of Hydroponic Systems
  • Plant Nutrition – Learning and Selecting
  • Your Perfect Lighting Solution
  • The Growing Process
  • Creating Your Own Hydroponic System
  • Crops Most Suitable to Hydroponic Gardening
  • Pest Prevention and Troubleshooting
  • Conclusion: Last But Not Least
  • Bonus section: Starting a Hydroponics Business

The author of Hydroponics: Hydroponics Essential Guide, has done an excellent job on giving simple to understand diagrams and pictures. His explanations are clear, but a little text heavy in some sections. All in all, it is a good introduction, and when followed in the steps it is written, any grower can be up and running with the least amount of effort.

The book is available in electronic format, or for readers who prefer something they can hold for quick reference, it is also available in paperback.

How-To Hydroponics, Fourth Edition 4th Edition

This How-To Hydroponics is only available in paperback, and is well constructed and covers a lot of subjects. Although aimed at beginners, it is comprehensive and can be a good reference guide. It comes in at 101 pages, and the fourth edition was the last update which was back in 2003.

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This could leave some information a little outdated, but many areas covered will still be highly relevant. All chapters are broken down in the table of contents as you would expect from a paperback, and from here you can quickly find an area you wish to read.

The author (Keith Roberto) covers the following topics in his chapters:

  • What is Hydroponics?
  • Growing Mediums and Technology
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Lighting
  • Building your own system
  • Raft systems and Aeroponics systems
  • PVC systems and Dutch buckets
  • Indoor gardening

This is only a handful, and almost everything is covered with plenty of detailed instructions, steps by step plans and accompanying pictures and diagrams. Given the price of the book, for an introduction, it might be too much, and there are some not so favorable reviews. However, there is plenty of information that any new grower would be happy to know.

DIY Hydroponics: 12 Easy and Affordable Ways to Build Your Own Hydroponic System

(Urban Homesteading Book 2)

This is a very well thought out book and runs new growers through all they need to know about Hydroponics and how to build and maintain their own system. Richard Bray simply explains things with easy to understand diagrams of the six types of Hydroponic system. From this, he goes on to explain how growers can build a total of 12 different systems using around the house materials.

This DIY approach gives growers the chance to learn about Hydroponics as they build one of the simple systems, he also explains the components and how they affect the running of the system, and how plants will be affected by this.

Later book chapters cover growing medium, nutrients, and lighting, maintaining your system and potential problems a grower could face. All of this is explained in simple terms, and it should be easy for any new grower to understand.

DIY Hydroponics contains 147 pages and is available in eBook format or paperback. It also ranks at the top in three categories where it is entered. Customer reviews are also very favourable, and it receives four and a half stars out of five, and this is quite an achievement because the book was only published late in 2018.

For any grower who is contemplating building a Hydroponic system, this book can give some helpful insight on how the different types of system work, and how to maintain these once they are up and running. It will be more suited to would be growers who have very little or no understanding of Hydroponics. Individuals who have a little knowledge might find the book lacking in information, or that it is written too basic to offer them anything.

Hydroponics: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide to Quickly Start Growing Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs for Self-Sufficiency!

(Gardening, Organic Gardening, Homesteading, Horticulture, Aquaculture)

This book takes the angle of presenting Hydroponics as a means for growers to grow their own fresh produce. It gives a basic overview before heading into a soil vs. Hydroponics chapter. From then it gets into choosing a hydroponic system where it explains the six system types, and their components.

In the following chapter Michael Martinez the author explains how growers can build their own system. Unfortunately, he only offers one method, the drip method. For some new growers, this system type might not be what they intended, and they could be tempted to skip this.

The book then offers three cheat sheets for fruits vegetables and herbs before it explains how to plan your system, and then maintain it.

The last two chapters of Hydroponics: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide covers common mistakes that are made by new growers, and then how to troubleshoot problems in a system. One nice touch was he separated pests from mold and algae into different sections, and how to deal with both.

This book is quite well received and has over 70 customer reviews. While being available in both eBook format or paperback, it gives growers the option and can be good reading for anyone who is new to the world of Hydroponics. It crams in quite a lot of information into the 77 pages, but it does lack of diagrams and is mainly text-based. This could be a little too much for complete novices as they might not be able to relate to the parts and equipment described.

Hydroponics: From Beginner to Expert

Homegrown Organic Gardening Double Book Bundle – Ultimate Guide to Hydroponics & Organic Vegetable Gardening For … Aquaponics, Horticulture, Homesteading)

The author William Walsworth has done a good job of covering things in a very readable format and can be great for newer growers. He has actually made a double book deal so there is another book on Organic gardening which can be useful to read.

There are 204 pages between both books, and it is available in both eBook format, and also paperback with the price being more than reasonable for two books in the electronic version.

The good thing with the way this book is written, the author presents things slightly different. He begins with why choose Hydroponics, and then he describes the six system types. From here he moves onto hydroponic basics which covers hydroponic nutrients, water, growing media, plants, and hygiene.

The best parts are the following chapters where he takes each system type and goes into detail of the equipment needed, installing the system and how to grow in each model. This can save new growers time flicking backward and forward and searching for information which relates to their hydroponic system of choice.

The final chapter covers maintaining your garden and troubleshooting. This might focus more on how to support your system, and all of the problems are from the system and not from any outside pests.

The book comes with some images which enhance his writing, but are not enough information giving where they can be used for reference.

Customer reviews are favorable, and it receives almost top marks, but the number of reviews isn’t that high. All in all Hydroponics: From Beginner to Expert is a good read, and it is more geared toward new growers than leading them toward becoming an expert.

Hydroponics: Beginner’s Guide to Effective Hydroponic Gardening at Home

Gary Carter, the author of the Beginner’s Guide to Effective Hydroponic Gardening at Home has done an excellent job in outlining his information with simple and clear diagrams. He covers most topics which include:

  • Lighting – Artificial & Natural
  • The Nutrient System and The Climate
  • The Pests and Plant Growth – “Not Good”
  • Leaf Growth and The Seedlings

He begins with an introduction followed by the components of a system. This he follows by how you go about setting up a system in your home.

He then has a separate chapters for ‘Growing charts,’ which cover Herbs, Vegetables, and Fruits. He then explains the system equipment, with a final chapter about how to beautify your home.

The information contained is basic, and does explain much of what you need to get a system up and running. From that point, the book can leave you, and when it comes to maintaining your system, and what to do to fix problems, you might need another point of reference.

The author has done an excellent job in giving information to growers who are entirely new, and that is how the book needs to be received. Customer reviews all lead you to this conclusion, and for the electronic version compared to the paperback version, it could be worth the small price.

Hydroponics: Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners

A Simple User Guide To Grow Hydroponics Herbs And Vegetables At Home (Hydroponics, Hydroponics Gardening)

For very new users to Hydroponics, Sherry Forrest delivers what she says in the title of her book Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners, a simple user guide, and that is what you get. This is ideal for would-be growers who need to know the very basics of Hydroponics.

Sherry describes the basics of each component in a system and goes on to describe lighting and growing medium. She follows this by an explanation of each system type, and again goes a little further in depth about all of the growing mediums that can be used.

She then spends a chapter on water, lighting and nutrient temps, before following up with the secrets to growing herbs and vegetables. This chapter includes pH testing, sanitation, and pest control.

The final chapter gives some pro tips to beginners, and some mistakes to avoid.

The book is only 78 pages in length, but might be the ideal length for a basic introduction into Hydroponics. Customer reviews are favorable, and she gets 4 out of 5 for her effort. The book is available in both paperback and eBook format, and the latter version is the recommended one. For growers who are looking for a point of reference to solve issues, then this book isn’t the one to keep close in your growing room.

It does explain a few things in the purest form which can be a good start for users before they move onto more detailed information.

Hydroponics Beginners Gardening Guide

How to Start a Hydroponics Growing System Step by Step

The last book on the list happens to be the smallest and comes in at 66 pages. It is available in both paperback and eBook format so it can be handy to keep with you while you are in your growing space. Customer reviews give it 4 out of 5, so they are favorable.

Areas covered by the author are as his chapter headings:

  • Introduction
  • Growing medium
  • Water
  • Hydroponic Nutrients
  • Hydroponic Systems
  • Conclusion

The Hydroponics Beginners Gardening Guide  is a little light on diagrams which would have been useful for new growers, but it explains things simply, so it is an easy read without getting too heavy with information. Simon Hamilton, the author, claims new growers will gain enough knowledge of each system, and which one they will find best suited to their growing needs.

He also says growers will see how to set up their own system without spending a fortune. For a brief introduction, it is a quick read and can give some useful insight into the world of Hydroponics, but a reader who is keen on building a system will quickly outgrow the information it contains.

Conclusion

When taking a look at these books, you should find one which meets your needs. A lot does depend on your level of understanding and if you already have a good idea of how Hydroponic systems work.

The main criteria for choosing any of these books is how far you wish to go with your growing, and what type of system you want to build. Like anything related to Hydroponics, it is helpful to do some homework before committing to any of these books.

It might be the best book for you is one that is more comprehensive, and covers lots of topics like either Hydroponics: From Beginner to Expert or Hydroponics: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide. Both of these cover enough for your first steps, and they are handy for further points of reference later.

Either of these could be an excellent accompanying book to the DIY Hydroponics: 12 Easy and Affordable Ways to Build Your Own Hydroponic System. Although you might want to purchase a system you can have up and running, this book does a good job explaining the ins and outs of building your own system

Hydroponics Unearthed eBook