Hydroponic vegetable gardens are growing in popularity due to the ease of cultivation and high yields. Once the system is setup and operating, plant care is minimal. Nutrients and water are automatically delivered and there is no weeding or fertilizing needed. Year-round production is possible in a temperature and light controlled grow room. Large yields are possible in a small space. Most vegetables grown in a conventional garden will grow in a hydroponic system with proper care.
Tomatoes are a popular hydroponic crop, usually grown in a drip system, ebb-and-flow system or bato bucket. Small, determinate tomatoes and cherry tomatoes grow well using deep-water culture. In a nutrient film technique system, their large root system can clog the system if the channels are too narrow. Tomatoes need plenty of light and a warm, but not hot, growing environment.
Lettuce, mustard greens and mint grow well in a deep-water culture hydroponic garden outdoors during the winter or in a controlled environment year-round. These and other leafy green vegetables grow in net pots floating on an aerated pond of nutrient solution. A polystyrene foam raft holds the net pots and the plants out of the nutrients, while the roots drop down into the pond of nutrient solution.
Cucumbers do well in a deep-water culture system such as a floating raft system or in bato buckets. Cucumbers are heavy feeders and do well in a hydroponic system because of the volume of readily available water and nutrients. Cucumbers need a vertical support system, twine fastened to a ceiling or overhead support works well.
Eggplant and Squash
Eggplant, squash, baby squash and squash blossoms are well suited to hydroponic growth. Both summer and winter squash varieties do well in a hydroponic setup. Like cucumbers and tomatoes, eggplant and squash get plenty of water and nutrients for ideal growth from a hydroponic system.
Pepper plants grow large and are very productive in the hydroponic garden. Peppers do well in a bato bucket or drip irrigation system. They are more heat tolerant than tomatoes and do well indoors or outside in the summer.
Strawberries are ideal fruits for a hydroponic system. An ebb-and-flow system is best for a large number of plants. Drip irrigation systems and nutrient film technique are popular for small strawberry gardens. The berries can be grown vertically, making harvest much easier and keeping the berries off the ground. The strawberry harvest continues year-round in a temperature controlled indoor grow room.