With so much buzz around advanced technologies, there has been much progress made when it comes to farming. In this modern age, hydroponic gardening is one that has been receiving a lot of attention lately, due to its host of advantages. With such an easy system of farming that is made suitable to grow all kinds of herbs and vegetables, many are switching to hydroponic farming from the traditional methods of gardening. We will be delving into the information that you’ll need surrounding growing potatoes hydroponically; so if you have been thinking about this for a while, now would be a great time to get started!
Choosing a hydroponic system
There are a variety of hydroponic systems out there in the market, including those catered to indoor growing systems. When it comes to growing potatoes, it is best to choose a supportive medium, such that the potatoes do not have to be kept immersed in the water all the time. One of the more common ones that are highly suitable for potatoes would be from a basic plastic container. Gardening stores would highly likely sell these big buckets or storage bins that have holes in them of about ¼ inch in diameter drilled at their sides and a few inches apart. Be sure to get a bin that is about 10 inches deep, and fill it with perlite.
Advantages of growing potatoes hydroponically
One of the greatest advantages of growing plants hydroponically and not just potatoes is the complete absence of soil. While it ensures that your surrounding area will not be continuously dirtied with soil, it will keep pests away too. The absence of soil also means that it is unlikely to have salt accumulated in the area due to soil fertilization and lack of a proper soil drainage system. Moreover, hydroponic growing systems make it more suitable for avid gardeners who do not have backyard space and prefer to do it indoors. Hydroponic potatoes are also able to thrive even during the off-season, as the environmental management required in the process makes it possible to do so.
Before you get started, it is important to bear in mind that potato plants need a huge amount of water to survive. Despite this, you cannot give it too much water as well as it will be counterproductive and cause it to rot before it blooms. As it requires plenty of sunlight, place your bin or bucket in a well-lit space like beside a window to get a sufficient and steady supply of direct sunlight. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep the pot on top of a surface that is durable to withstand breaks from watering draining across it. You can fill the bucket with water so that when the growing medium is soaked, the water will automatically drain out through the holes at the side.
Procedure for growing hydroponic potatoes
After you have chosen your hydroponic system, select either tuber pieces or the seed potatoes. It is important to purchase one from a gardening store instead of supermarket-sold potatoes as they will not sprout. At the garden store, you will have to decide if you want to get either a red Pontiac that comes with a red skin or gold rush tubers that have medium-brown skin, though they are both equally workable. Both potatoes have a white pulp inside. Once you have purchased them, cut the gig seed potatoes into various pieces, each having about one or two eyes, and you will notice a small indented bud space outside the tubers.
Alternatively, you can use the whole seed if the potatoes are small.
The best time to grow your hydroponic potatoes is between the end of March and the beginning of April. When you begin planting your seeds, do ensure that they are spread out about 4 to 6 inches apart, so they have ample space to grow. It is also crucial to have them cut side facing down, and you can go ahead and wedge them about an inch below the perlite. When the tubers begin to form, you should cover them with the growth medium to ensure that they do not get damaged by the hot sun.
Before your seed germinates, it is best to water your plant at least thrice a day to prevent the perlite from becoming dry. You can also continue watering your plants after it sprouts, but be sure to alternate between plain water and the fertilizer mixture.
How to Grow Hydroponic Potatoes Indoors at Home
When the plants grow to about 18 inches in height, start giving your plants fertilizer with extra potassium and other nutrients to promote the growth of the tubers. At about the 21st-day mark, your mature tubers are ready to be harvested after the vine withers and dies. Alternatively, you can also harvest the tender tubers after 70 days. During this process, you may need extra equipment like kneelers and garden planters to get the job done.
The costs of hydroponic gardening is relatively low. Apart from the optional light installations that you may need if your area does not get enough direct sunlight, there are also factors like a heater that you may need to purchase if your conditions are not optimal. Furthermore, there is also the primary equipment that you need to get like the pots, pump, and growth medium, as well as the seeds that are quite affordable.
In a nutshell, growing your plants hydroponically is a relatively easy process, if you do proper research on the necessary equipment that you have to get. It is also advisable to carefully follow the steps to set up your hydroponic system and avoid making your own alterations at your own discretion, as it could potentially harm your plants. Another tip is to make sure that your pump is working even if you have a timer attached to it, to ensure that your plants are not going waterless for days. Just enjoy the process and get ready to reap the fruits of your labor in no time!