Hydroponic Organic Gardening
Organic hydroponic gardening is a method of producing vegetables, fruits, and other food products that do not use artificially produced chemicals, fertilizers or substances of any type. Organic substances are those that are naturally occurring or produced by living organisms during their life cycle. Hydroponic systems provide the perfect opportunity to utilize organic gardening techniques.
The nutrient solution that you use during organic hydroponic gardening is an important part of the organic system. The ratio and pH balance of this solution determines the success of your garden, and testing your solution daily with pH strips are vital. This allows you to modify the solution before your garden develops problems.
Salt overload is a common problem for hydroponic gardens, and using rainwater can help prevent this situation. Treated water, like the water provided by cities and counties, contains many chemicals required to remove dangerous bacteria and contaminants. Avoid using treated water; instead, use rainwater or well water that can be tested to find out the ratio and types of dissolved minerals it contains.
In order to grow healthy plants, there are a number of specific substances needed. All living organisms need these substances in different ratios to develop properly. Oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium are the main nutrients required. Trace nutrients are generally found in naturally occurring substances and do not need to be added. Organic hydroponic gardening generally has fewer problems once a balanced nutrient solution has been found.
Naturally Occurring Fertilizers
Not all fertilizers that occur naturally contain all of the ingredients required for healthy plant growth in an organic hydroponic garden. By combining different types of organic fertilizers, you can determine which works best for your garden.
- Guano from bats is a very potent fertilizer. Guano collected from insect-eating bats is high in nitrogen while fruit-eating bat guano is higher in phosphorus.
- Dried, ground kelp or seaweed stimulates the production of chlorophyll.
- Fishmeal will provide enzymes in organic hydroponic gardens. Some people build hydroponic gardening systems large enough to keep fish in the nutrient reservoir providing fish-based fertilizer at all times.
- Humanure is a valuable, under-utilized resource for all types of gardens. Humanure contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Animal manure is a great fertilizer for outdoor gardens. Before this type of fertilizer can be used in hydroponic systems, it must be liquefied.
Lighting If your hydroponic garden is growing inside a greenhouse or outdoors additional lighting may not be required. If you want to keep your garden throughout the winter, you will need heat and grow lights. Once you decide to start organic hydroponic gardening the size and type of your garden determine which type of lights will be needed. Compact systems grow well with fluorescent rectangular reflective hood lamps. Brood type fixtures perform well when the garden is a vertical system.
Environmentally friendly, organic hydroponic gardening is good for you and the planet. By growing your own vegetables, herbs, and fruits organically, you can improve your diet without emptying your wallet.