Caring For Hydroponic Herbs – Tips On Growing A Hydroponic Window Farm

Image by Jon Kalish

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Interest in indoor hydroponic gardens is growing fast, and for good reason. A hydroponic window farm is the answer for urban dwellers without outdoor planting space, and a fascinating hobby that provides fresh, chemical-free vegetables or herbs year round. This article focuses on using an urban window garden for growing hydroponic herbs.

Indoor Hydroponic Garden

So what is an indoor hydroponic garden anyway? In simple terms, hydroponics is a method of plant cultivation in which the roots attain their nutrients from water instead of soil. The roots are supported in a medium such as gravel, pebbles or clay. The water, which contains plant nutrients and is properly pH balanced, is circulated around the roots by an electric pump system, or by a wicking system.

Soil is a difficult, unpredictable medium and plant roots expend a considerable amount of energy gathering nutrients. Because the nutrients are so easily accessible in a hydroponic system, the plant is free to concentrate its energy on creating leafy foliage and fruit, flowers or vegetables.

How to Make a Hydroponic Herb Garden

If you want to make a hydroponic herb garden (or even vegetable garden), do your research because you’ll need a basic understanding of plant growth and how hydroponics work in general. Then, you can decide what hydroponic system will work best for you.

Hydroponic window farms can be relatively complex, involving a system of pumps, tubes, a timer and growing containers. The water is pumped from a container at the base of the garden to the top, where it runs slowly down through the system, soaking the roots as it trickles. Supplemental light is often required.

A variety of plans are available on the Internet if you want to build the system from scratch, or you can simplify the process by purchasing a kit. You can also create a smaller, less involved hydroponic window farm if the idea of making an indoor hydroponic garden is more involved than you expected. For example, you can make a pared-down version with recycled plastic soda bottles that are tied together with cords and hung from the windowsill. A small aquarium pump circulates the nutrient-rich water.

If you want to keep things simple while you learn about hydroponics, you can always make a hydroponic herb garden with a small kit. The kits are ready to go and include everything you need for growing and caring for hydroponic herbs.

Nearly any type of herb plant is suitable for this type of gardening system. So if you’re someone that not only enjoys herb gardening but also cooks with them frequently, growing an urban windowsill garden hydroponically is the way to go – you’ll have healthy herbs right at your fingertips all year long.

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