Organic Vegetables From Hydroponics By Korawat Photo Shoot | www.shutterstock.com
The lockdown due to COVID-19 has made everyone work to make their homes the best place to live. From enhancing spaces with quirky green nooks to taking plants for solace, home gardening has become a popular pastime to pursue.
Nowadays, The tribe of Malini’s daughters has lots of interesting conversations about home gardening. That’s why we got in touch with Mr. Nrusinh D Madke, founder of Simplee Grow Hydroponics & FarmPlex Private Limited. Nrusinh is a farmer specializing in aggregation of hydroponic products. He is also a hydroponics business consultant with over 5 years of experience in precision farming techniques. It provides training in the aforementioned techniques such as vertical farming, aeroponics and aquaponics, urban gardening, essential hydroponics supply and commercial facilities.
We’ve narrowed down our questions to cover two main topics: hydroponics at home and the basics of traditional home gardening. It was an insightful conversation that brought to light several ways to have your own vegetable garden without consuming a lot of space, time and effort.
Leafy vegetables grown in hydroponics
Q. What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the art of growing plants using only nutrient-rich water instead of soil. Depending on the needs of the plant, nutrient-rich water is prepared and delivered directly to the roots. This is a totally above ground activity. The plant receives measured amounts of appropriate nutrients, light and water, leaving no room for deficiencies. We call the products obtained from this farming method “beyond organic farming” because it guarantees the highest nutritional content compared to its counterparts grown in the traditional way. Plants grown using this method are found to be as healthy as they can be genetically, without harmful residues of any kind.
Indoor grow kit by Floki | www.shutterstock.com
Q. What are the different forms of hydroponics and which do you suggest for beginners at home?
We started our journey 4 years ago, at the house level. I got a hydroponics kit from an online portal and experimented with this innovative technique. As we saw the ease and benefits, we decided to continue farming on a commercial scale, leasing suitable land in Talegaon.
There are nearly 10 types of hydroponics methods to choose from depending on budget, space, and most importantly, the desire to grow the plants. The most common home hydroponics methods are DWC (Deep Water Culture) and NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). Leafy vegetables can be grown year round using these techniques. The type of system to use depends on the category of plant you want to grow.
Home hydroponic unit by Narsinh
Q. What are the advantages of hydroponics and how is it better than the traditional technique?
Hydroponics is extremely helpful in building a sustainable ecosystem. Those who live in urban areas depend heavily on products from the periphery or rural areas. The expense and effort expelled in packaging and transportation is enormous. Due to the recent containment, it has been difficult to find labor for packaging and transportation. Thus, farmers are burdened with production while customers face shortages. Farmers are unable to meet demand despite high stocks. The distance between supply and demand is a costly affair. Hydroponics fills this gap. It is an answer for urban areas to get their fresh and nutrient-rich food in a sustainable but economical way, not only today but also in the long term.
Overall, hydroponics is extremely economical because a large amount of plants can be grown in a very compact space, water consumption is nominal (over 80% less amount is needed compared to farming traditional) and the process is not labor intensive at all. Once the optimal growth medium, pH, natural / artificial light, and air conditions are set, it is easy to manage, requires almost no maintenance, is self-cleaning with water rotation, and gives wholesale products of the highest quality. Hydroponics also has the added benefit of improving the aesthetic value of your garden by using the establishment of vertical gardens or simply having a dense green area.
Narsinh with its fresh hydroponic products
Q. What are the basic things we need to start hydroponics at home?
I would suggest starting with a basic hydroponics kit from your local supplier or one of the famous online portals given the size and budget of your patio / balcony. Most kits come with clear instruction manuals and all the necessary tools and materials.
Basic setup includes food grade PVC pipes with spaces for plants, mesh pots, growing medium with nutrient sets, measuring cup, air pump, seeds and manual instructions. You can also have a water pump with a timer and frequency set to further reduce monitoring or maintenance. Hydroponic installations are very easy to automate.
Hydroponic home kit Pindfresh | www.amazon.in
Q. How should we take care of our plants growing in a hydroponic facility?
The most important factor in hydroponics is that a perfectly balanced nutrient solution is delivered to the roots of the plants in the recommended dosage. Hydroponics trumps traditional technique since the nutritional solution contains appropriate amounts of micronutrients that soil / soil fertilizers do not provide. The optimum pH (5.5-6) should be maintained at all times using the pH meter. If this basic care is taken, unlike the soil, here the plant does not scan and seek nutrition and grows gloriously. A large hydroponic unit can be built considering the climatic challenges and all these factors.
It is very important for home gardeners to seek or obtain expert advice to ensure that the correct growth medium / nutritional solution is given to the plants in the system. I run workshops for enthusiasts in my hydroponics plant. In addition, with technological advances, a lot of information is available free online for everyone.
Cherry tomatoes grown in hydroponics by Narsinh
Q. Which plants are the easiest to grow in a home hydroponic setup?
As a beginner, I would suggest growing all types of leafy vegetables at home. Perennial exotic herbs like thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano, and peppermint can be grown to last 6-8 months! Once you master growing leafy vegetables, you can evolve into plants like cherry tomatoes or red beets that have longer vegetative cycles.
Little girl waters the plant in the pots by Sukjai Photo | www.shutterstock.com
Q. For those who are new to home gardening, hydroponics can seem a bit complicated. What’s your advice for those who just want to grow and care for plants for the very first time?
Plants are like babies and need to be taken care of. So first of all, be ready to get involved! Hydroponic kits are also available for children. It’s so easy to learn. But if you still want to start with the basic traditional method, I would suggest using pots of clay, mud, coconut, coconut, a mixture of coconut peat and nutrient-rich soil for aeration. sufficient internal space, then to place the pots in the right place taking into account their requirement of sunshine. Pay attention to the floor you are using. For starters, try to avoid growing from seed level and get saplings from nurseries.
Vegetables and flowering plants have different requirements at different stages of their growth. Black soil is still recommended for most types. Water the plants regularly and spend time with them. Start with plants that are easy to grow and maintain. If in doubt, your local plant vendor or gardener should be able to help. Flowers like marigold and rose are easy to grow and care for. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, okra, green leafy vegetables grow in most cases. Almost all categories of herbs are also very easy to grow at home. So, start your garden first with these varieties.
Finally, I would like to add that I believe that agriculture is a noble profession. We need more and more people to join us, plant more and help the environment in many ways.
Simplee Grow Team
Hope you are motivated to grow more plants! If you have some great tips and tricks for novitiate home gardeners, share them with us in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe either The tribe of Malini’s daughters on Facebook & Instagram be a part of other conversations like these!