Spinach is a great source of fiber and nutrients when incorporated into your diet. These leafy greens are also packed with vitamins and antioxidants and are generally beneficial to us. To add on to its multiple positive qualities, the spinach is easy and not too challenging to cultivate back at home, even for beginners. These days, hydroponic spinach is getting more and more popular due to several factors that make learning how to use hydroponic systems much easier. In fact, hydroponic spinach can be easily grown using hydroponic systems back in your home, which will be worth your while. Hydroponics is the act of growing plants or crops without the use of soil. Instead, the plants in this system rely on the mineral solutions in a water solvent.
If you are still unconvinced, here are some of the advantages of growing hydroponic spinach over the conventional soil-grown spinach.
For starters, one can save on a lot of water used for cultivation. In a hydroponic system, less water is wasted through the atmosphere as the soil is exposed, and there is a higher demand for water by the plants due to the exposure to heat. Conversely, water in a hydroponic setting is used and channeled to specific parts like the root which is truly in need of the water resource.
Secondly, the growing spinach plants in a controlled hydroponic system prevent the plants from being harmed by external threats such as weather elements, pests, and harmful substances and microorganisms. The plants are also not subjected to mineral imbalances which may affect the final yield’s quality and quantity. Assuming proper care is given to the hydroponic plants, the plants are set to mature healthily. These benefits cannot be achieved if the plants were to be grown in the soil without the help of the hydroponic system.
Another key benefit is the reduced effort and labor expended to care and maintain hydroponic plants. There is no need to till the land and prepare areas of your backyard to grow the plants. A hydroponic system can have its setup adapted to fit the space allocated and the type of crop being grown. Growers do not have to do time-consuming and manual tasks such as weeding, fertilizing, and watering the plants at regular intervals. Additionally, without the use of soil, hydroponic plants are much less likely to be contaminated and bring forth diseases that are capable of destroying the whole crop being cultivated. Those thinking of growing hydroponic plants on a larger scale will definitely find that the hydroponic practice reduces the manual effort needed to cultivate plants during various seasons. These factors, coupled with the quick-growing periods of hydroponic plants result in a potential for higher monetary returns.
Lastly, plants cultivated in a hydroponic system are likely to be highly consistent in quantity and quality. This is because the grower is able to specifically provide the essential mix of nutrients helpful to their growth. By switching the nutrient mix used, the quality of the crops can be altered. This is unlike the traditionally grown plants, as their quality is affected by extraneous variables that may be out of the control of the grower, such as deteriorating soil quality.
Steps to take
Now, let us move on to the actual growing of hydroponic spinach from seeds. We recommend following the steps below closely for the best results.
Add spinach seeds into the pro-trays and wet the seeds. We highly recommend using quality seeds that are obtained and bought from credible and trustworthy garden stores. Seeds of ambiguous quality can take longer to germinate or fail to even do so. Even if these seeds germinate, the seedlings may be of poor quality and health, which will make the overall growing process much harder.
For the growing medium, we suggest either Rockwool or coco plugs for greater efficiency and an overall easier time. These growing mediums are great choices as they are the more secure growing medium and will help absorb possible shock to the plant in various possible situations when transplanting and handling the plants.
Cover and place the tray with the seeds in a dark area for the germination to take place. The ideal temperature for this process is around 64 to 68 Fahrenheit. Never let the temperature exceed 79 Fahrenheit or you risk damaging the spinach crop. The germination should occur around the third day of doing so. At this point, make arrangements for the plant to receive adequate light for around three to four hours daily. For those growing the spinach plant indoors may consider using fluorescent light should sunlight not reach the plant.
Continue to monitor and care for these seedlings. The next seven or eight days will see these seedlings growing into saplings. In this period, you should increase the duration of light exposure to about 12 hours. This transformation signals that these saplings are ready to be transplanted in the hydroponic system for further growth.
Regarding the best hydroponic system for growing spinach, your best bets would be the deep water culture or nutrient film technique for large scale cultivation. For home growers, the Krafty technique is another viable option more relevant to your situation and equipment available. The reason why these systems are chosen is that they allow more oxygen to be absorbed in the roots and little fertilizer is used in the process. Any other techniques that operate by the same logic and benefit as these techniques should be suitable for spinach growing as well.
During the initial two weeks after the transplantation of the saplings into the hydroponic setup, we recommend feeding them a diluted nutrient mix of one-eight to a quarter of its original concentration. When the plants begin to look more mature and sturdy, you can then increase the concentration used. The optimal pH of the water should be around 5.8 to 6.0. It will also serve you well to maintain an adequate level of oxygen in the hydroponic system. Yellowing leaves are a sign of insufficient iron and you can remedy this situation by adding it into your solution mix. It may also be due to other factors such as a damaged root so it is recommended that one closely monitor the plants at all times.
By following these suggestions, you can expect the hydroponic spinach to be ready for harvest in about 52 days.
We hope that this article has helped to dispel any myths and misconceptions regarding hydroponic spinach growing, and at the same time spurred your interest in this. Growing hydroponic plants can be quite a relaxing and fulfilling hobby once you’ve gotten the hang of it.