How to Garden in a Greenhouse With Hydroponics

Overview

Greenhouses and hydroponic gardening work well together especially if you want to produce many types or larger quantities of plants. The space in a greenhouse allows the gardener to have different heights for grow lights, multiple growing mediums based on plant needs, and nutrient solutions tailored to vegetables, herbs or flowers. Ebb and flow hydroponic systems work well for greenhouse gardening. Gardening with hydroponics benefits the environment because it requires only 10 percent the amount of water used in traditional gardening. Water in greenhouse hydroponic systems is not lost through evaporation, and the need for pesticides and herbicides is virtually eliminated.

Step 1

Make sure that your greenhouse is on level ground with a north/south exposure and full sun exposure. You need access to electricity to power pumps, fans and grow lights.

Step 2

Cover the floor with landscape fabric or small gravel if the greenhouse is not set on a foundation.

Step 3

Build or set plant stands running along the length of the greenhouse to hold the hydroponic plant trays, leaving paths between the stands to access the plants.

Step 4

Place the hydroponic nutrient solution containers under the stands. Add the pump and tubing into the nutrient reservoir, and connect the pump timer.

Step 5

Place the plant trays onto the plant stands, and connect the other end of the tube from the nutrient reservoir.

Step 6

Add growing medium and plants to the plant tray. The plants may be in individual containers or planted into the growing medium directly. Container must have several holes for the roots to access the nutrient solution. Net pots are a good choice and developed specifically for hydroponic gardening.

Step 7

Add nutrient solution to the hydroponic reservoir.

Step 8

Add a vertical support system such as netting or trellises for tall-growing plants.

Step 9

Set the pump timer to cycle flooding of the plant tray several times per day either every half hour or hour depending on the needs of the plants growing in that tray.

Step 10

Install grow lights above plants using ones with adjustable height so they can be raised as plants grow. Set light timers to ensure that plants receive at least 12 hours of light per day.

Step 11

Check nutrient solution pH with pH testing strips. Most garden plants want a slightly acidic pH. Your garden guide should tell you the correct pH for the plants you are growing, and plant trays with different plants may also have different pH requirements.

Step 12

Monitor nutrient levels in the reservoir and refill as needed.

Step 13

Monitor ambient temperatures with a thermometer, and adjust heat or cooling.

Step 14

Use fans or vents to reduce humidity and add fresh air daily.

Step 15

Harvest your hydroponic gardening plants when the leaves or fruit are ready.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscape fabric or gravel
  • Plant stands
  • Nutrient reservoirs and solution
  • Tubing
  • Plant trays
  • Growing medium
  • Net pots
  • Vertical supports, if needed
  • Pump timer
  • Grow lights
  • Light timers
  • Thermometer
  • Greenhouse fans or vents

References

  • Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening
  • Planning and Building a Greenhouse
  • How to Use Grow Lights From AFC Greenhouses
Keywords: hydroponic gardening, greenhouse gardening, growing greenhouse plants with hydroponics

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer for four years. Prior experience includes 15 years as a writer, project manager and knowledge analyst in defense systems advanced information. She is acknowledged for contributions to three books: Leadership Elements, Knowledge Acquisition, and State-of-the-Art for KA. Barbara has a masters in psychology from SMU and training in artificial intelligence and project management.