When I talk to a lot of people about hydroponics, the first thing most of them say to me is, “Who are you and how did you get in my bathroom?”.
After that, they usually ask what hydroponics is, or if that’s “the weed stuff”.
Many people will still automatically think of marijuana when they think about hydroponics. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But regardless of how legal or illegal marijuana is in any given area, there will always be some people that want nothing to do with it. And that’s 100% their right.
But there are so many non-drug products that can be grown hydroponically – some of which that may be surprising.
Flowers love the hydroponic method. So stick it to Big Floral and instead of being gouged on Valentine’s Day, just grow your own and surprise your loved one. Or, better yet, grow & give them flowers at random times throughout the year JUST BECAUSE. And then on Valentine’s Day, do something creative like naming a star after them, or buy them a jar of olives, or some toast, or some birth control. Nothing says I love you like telling them you don’t want to have kids with them…
Or, at least the ingredients FOR salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers (and SO MANY other veggies) are extremely popular items to grow hydroponically. They’re done on a massive, industrial level, as well as a small, personal level. Many vegetables work great in hydroponics. To be fair, I’ve never seen a crouton tree. And you can’t grow an actual bag of salad. Plastic doesn’t grow well in any garden. And you need to make your own salad dressing, but that’s a whole other article. I can’t do everything for you.
This is one of the more surprising ones. But it IS possible. Recently, a young gardener grew a 600+ pound giant pumpkin hydroponically (https://www.google.ca/amp/www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/ph-cc-qanda-pumpkin-20140928-story,amp.html).
You need quite a bit of room to grow something so big. And pumpkins are notoriously thirsty. They’re almost as thirsty as any dude on Instagram as soon as a girl posts a picture.
Here’s an interesting time-lapse video of a hydroponically grown pumpkin (https://youtu.be/vNS7VUrhchg).
For the record, pumpkin flavored ANYTHING is the Devil. Yes, even pie. ESPECIALLY pie. So I don’t know why anyone has any desire to grow pumpkins except for Halloween. But hydroponic jack o’lanterns could be scarier than regular ones because you can basically tell people you grew them in a lab…
Okay, you technically can’t grow beer. I planted a six-pack and suddenly there were drunk gophers stumbling everywhere.
But you CAN grow hops. Hops are normally VERY limited in the time of year they can be grown and harvested. Which means that many breweries have to buy hops that are already old, which affects the flavor of your beer.
But hydroponics can allow hops to be grown and harvested numerous times a year, which allows breweries to acquire FRESH hops. Fresh hops mean better tasting beer. It’s a game changer (https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.fastcompany.com/3061900/beer-brewers-are-growing-fresh-local-hops-in-led-lit-greenhouses).
Hops need quite a bit of space and care, so you do need to know what you’re doing. They might not be worthwhile to try on a small scale. But here’s the basics of how to grow hops hydroponically (http://www.gardenandgreenhouse.net/articles/september-2016/grow-hydroponic-hops/).
Here’s a time lapse video of hydroponic hops being grown (https://youtu.be/2DaQSRQB_tw).
But not all plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables are created equal. They’ll need varying amounts of water and/or light. Also, like humans, they have different diet requirements. Different kinds and amounts of nutrients will be required in order to get maximum growth & potential out of them. Also, just like humans, some like to be spanked and call you “Daddy”. To each their own. No judgments here. (Psst. It’s cabbage).
To figure out which item needs what (not about the spanking), your best bet is to check out Complete Hydroponics (https://completehydroponics.com) or Complete Gardening (https://completegardening.com).
Search the sites, email them, call them, send a carrier pigeon, use smoke signals. Just let them know what you want to grow, and they’ll help you from beginning to end.
What can’t you grow? Well, regardless of how much of a fun guy you are, mushrooms don’t really work hydroponically.
Also, I’ve never been able to grow any self-worth for myself with hydroponics.
Otherwise, there are MANY different things you can grow. Aside from the few discussed above, here’s a list of all sorts of items you can grow hydroponically: http://modularhydro.com/ArticleLibrary/WhatCanYouGrowHydroponically.html