Winter Growing with Hydroponics – 3 tips to help you Grow food all year round
Hydroponics is one of the best ways to grow edible plants indoors all year round. With the right conditions, you can provide yourself and your family with fresh produce right through the winter months. So what are the right conditions?
Most plants naturally grow during the warmer months of the year, and therefore Temperature is the first condition that must be considered when growing using a Hydroponics system through winter indoors.
Depending on where you have your system placed, will determine if you need to add extra heating to the area. For most, the average temperature of the inside of your home will be sufficient to grow edible plants in.
In other words, edible plants will happily grow somewhere between 18 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit), and 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit). Colder than this, and you will see stunted/slow growth.
Check out the Temperature and Humidty sensor we use in our Grow Room:
Nedis Zigbee Smart Climate Sensor – Temperature & Humidity
If you have a separate grow room like us here at Grow Zone, you will need to invest in a heater. We use an Oil filled radiator to heat our room, and it does a great job at maintaining around 21 Celsius (69 Fahrenheit). Note also that the room is well insulated.
Check us out on YouTube to see our Growing adventures and experiments – The Grow Zone
Another thing to consider with Hydroponics is the temperature of the water in your system. In our RDWC system for example we use an aquarium heater with a thermostat to maintain a level water temperature of around 19 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit). Ideal water temperature range for most plants sits between 18 – 26 Celsius (65 – 80 Fahrenheit).
Light is the most important element when growing all year round, and it will allow your plant to grow big and strong even when the sun is not out so much during the day.
Depending on what type of plants you are growing there are lots of different LED and normal Light choices. For the purpose of this article though I’ll limit the choice to 2 main categories, Full Spectrum, and White LED’s and LED Strips (6500 Kelvin).
Decide what you are growing?
Choosing the right LED grow light starts with deciding what plants you are going to grow. If you would like to grow any plant that bears fruit, such as tomatoes, then a Full Spectrum LED is the natural choice. Fruit bearing plants demand quite a lot of light, and the Blue, Red and Far Red LED chips will help the plant excel through every stage of growing, right the way up to harvest.
See our very own Full Spectrum panel the Urban Grow FS01
If you are looking to have a supply of fresh herbs or Microgreens in your kitchen window or countertop through winter, then you should look into White LED’s with somewhere around 6500K light output.
Leafy greens thrive under this temperature of light. Nelson Garden’s LED No.1 is our top choice for White/Daylight temperature LED Grow Lights when it comes to LED Strips.
LED No 1 is a 60 cm strip that is supplied with chain hangers for easy installation over a range of Hydroponics, Microgreens, or Herb growing setups. There is even a Window hanger accessory, for even more placement options.
Details of LED No.1 and Hanger:
Window/Tile hanger with suction cups
This is another important factor to consider when growing indoors during the winter months. The air can get a little dry, and in turn your plants can suffer.
For most plants higher humidity is good for the early stages of growth, this can start at around 60%, and can then be reduced over the weeks with the lowest level being around 40% Humidity.
60% may seem a little high to have in your entire kitchen for example, and it is. This is why most opt for a covering of some kind for the early stages of growth, such as a dome or transparent lid to keep humidity levels up, but localized to the plant/s.
Examples of products to help with Early stages of growth and trapping moisture/humidity:
Nedis Temperature and Humidity sensor
There are lots of options for raising the humidity in your room/home, from large to small humidifiers.
It is even possible to simply get a spray bottle, and spray the plant directly with a mist to increase levels around the plant. Be aware that this can invite mould, and mildew, so do not spray too often. Once every few days should be enough.
Best Hydroponics Systems for Winter Growing
So you have your conditions just right, and would like to try and grow Edibles, Herbs, Microgreens etc indoors this winter. Now all you need is a suitable Hydroponics system to help you do it.
There are lots of small window sill ready Hydroponics systems. Most use the Kratky Method of partly submerging your New seeds or seedlings in an absorbent substrate pod above a Nutrient rich Solution. This is great for all types of plants, and the results are guaranteed to astonish (if you conditions are right. See above).
Our go to Home Hydroponics System is the Harvy 6 from Nelson Garden. It is easily one of the best to start your Hydroponics journey, and you will be set up and Growing in no time. We have a range of Kits to suit all your needs.
Harvy 6 Kit – LED No 1 and Hanger
Be sure to check out the Kit above which includes, LED No 1, and a Window Hanger for various placement options.
Next up is a neat little kit from Nelson Garden for Micregreens, or germinating seeds for growing elsewhere.
The Microgreens Single grow Box is perfect for the kitchen counter, and will give you a healthy amount of tasty Microgreens, sprouts etc. See our Kit with an LED Grow Light Bulb and Long cord for easy placement.
Microgreens Start Kit
We also have a larger Kit for the Microgreens Enthusiast. Each dome and tray is removable, allowing you to stagger your growing herbs etc, to keep a steady supply of tasty sides.
Microgreens Kit Medium
Another option is the smaller brother of the Harvy 6 the Harvy 3. Far more placement options for the kitchen counter, or window sill and supplied with pre seeded pods, and nutrients just like the Harvy 6.
Harvy 3 Start Kit
You are now ready to Grow Edibles all year round
Taking these simple easy steps will have you growing food with hydroponics, all year round. Having plants around the house is proven to raise spirits, and help relieve stress. Why not take advantage of this, and also give yourself an option to add to your lunch this winter.
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