Interested to try your hand at growing your own crops at home but lack the space? Or perhaps you are hesitant because of all the hard work that cultivating plants entails? Fret not because we got the right activity for you – hydroponic beans. Growing crops via hydroponics is not the same as traditional farming. In conventional farming, crops are grown in the soil while in hydroponics, crops are grown in a water solvent with the aid of a mineral solution. Beans are one of the most easily cultivated hydroponic crops even for those with completely no experience.
Why hydroponic beans? Besides the fact that most bean types are highly compatible to be grown in hydroponic systems, cultivating hydroponic plants have way more benefits compared to traditional methods. Hydroponic bean plants generally produce a higher yield with better quality than their soil-grown counterparts. The hydroponic system allows the growers to have control over growing conditions, which are crucial to the overall health and growth of the plant. Unlike soil-grown crops, hydroponic plants are less susceptible to contamination to harmful bacteria, microorganisms, and pests as they do not come in contact with soil. Infected plants can go on to ruin the entire crop They are also not subject to seasonal and weather elements, which are capable of crippling the growth of the plants. Hydroponic setups also take up much less space than conventional farming and can be done indoors. This is great for those without an extensive backyard or are residing in space-constrained, expensive real estate areas.
Although beans are generally low maintenance plants, an adequate amount of care and attention must be paid during the growing process.
The Growing Process
To start off, we will need the bean seeds to germinate. They usually take about a week or at most two weeks depending on the type of seed and environmental factors. Moisten the seeds and the growing tray that the beans are placed in. Do not use excessive water or you risk drowning the seeds. The beans generally do better at slightly warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 Fahrenheit. Otherwise, room temperatures will work fine with proper care as well. It is recommended that you obtain your seeds from trusted and credible gardeners or gardening stores as good quality seeds can determine the health in later stages. This is a worthwhile investment that will also help to ease your workload and effort to maintain the plants as they mature. At this point, wait patiently for the seeds to germinate.
Once you notice that the seeds have two leaves, it is an indication that they are ready to be transplanted into the hydroponic system. Take care to not damage the plant and its root while transplanting as it is a common occurrence. When transplanting the seedlings into the hydroponic system, you will need to space them out adequately. For reference, bush beans need to be spaced two to four inches apart, while pole beans require more space and are spaced about four to six inches apart from each other. The amount of space differs for each bean type, so it is necessary to do your personal research.
The Hydroponic System
Let us talk about the hydroponic system to be used for cultivating the beans. The most compatible hydroponic systems in our opinion would be the ebb and flow system. However, it is certainly acceptable to use another hydroponic system as well. Other popular alternatives include wicking and drip systems.
We recommend the growing medium of these hydroponic beans to be perlite or expanded clay pebbles. These are loose growing mediums and considerably affordable and provide the right amount of support for the growth of the plants. Climbing bean varieties will require vertical support for the plant to grow. It is important that these vertical growing bean varieties have sufficient support lest they damage themselves as they grow which happens frequently among home growers. A stake or trellis would do fine for this.
The optimal lighting requirements are around 12 hours daily. Although they can survive below the recommended lighting, it is not healthy for them and may impede their overall growth or yield. The remaining hours of the day should be allocated as the plants’ night time, to allow them to respire, a process of similar importance.
Similar to their germination process, bean plants thrive well in warmer ambient temperatures of between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During or when stimulating night time, it is acceptable for the temperature to slide to about 65 to 75 degrees. Temperatures exceeding or below the range specified here have a potential chance to harm the plants’ quality and quantity of yield, and growers are advised to avoid these temperatures.
Another key factor to healthy growth is the use of the right nutrient mix. Bean plants need nitrogen, and trace minerals including chlorine, cobalt, and others. It is highly recommended that growers approach a hydroponic or gardening expert regarding obtaining a nutrient mix solution tailored for bean plants. Follow the labels on the nutrient mix on its use and dosage and try not to overuse the nutrient mix.
Following all the preparation is the continuous maintenance and monitoring of the bean plant. Remember to regularly change the solution to prevent possible scenarios of salt build-up or bacteria growth. It is also good practice to sanitize and sterilize equipment that comes in contact with the hydroponic system to prevent contamination as well.
Continue to diligently maintain the plants and you can expect beans to appear and ready for harvest in about fifty days’ time. Hydroponic beans take a whole ten days less to be ready to harvest compared to traditionally grown plants. For those who wish for continual harvest may place new bean plants in their hydroponic system around once every two weeks.
This is it pals! We hope you are now all inspired and ready to take your first step into hydroponic crop cultivation. Although the process may sound long and laborious, you will realize that all is worthwhile when you experience your first harvest with your very own hydroponic beans.