Hydroponics Gardening – Moving Beyond the Hobby Stage

Hydroponics Gardening – Moving Beyond the Hobby Stage

Hydroponic Gardening can be a fun activity with rewarding results. These results, however, beg the question can I do this to make money as a commercial venture. We then look to expand out of the hobby growing scenario and move to a more serious production-based method of growing. This move fueled by a desire to see hydroponics as a viable, sustainable and profitable venture would mean changing the outlook from a hobby grower to one that will use data and replicable models to attain growth throughout the year.

Firstly commercial hydroponics farming in Hyderabad or Chennai or anywhere will first need a careful examination of existing resources. Top of the list being open flat land, water, and electricity. Next would be to specify the type of hydroponics, climate control, and polyhouse that one will use to achieve this kind of farming on a large scale. These components will decide the kind of crops that you can grow throughout the year. One must remember to survey the market and see the viability of growing particular crops at a particular time of the year. For example, one doing hydroponics in Gurgaon it would profitable to grow lettuce in summer but resort to things like swiss chard or kale in winter when lettuce supply is usually more abundant.

The type of hydroponic equipment used will dictate what one can grow in their farm, A NFT set up would likely work for leafy greens and herbs but would not be successful in growing larger rooted crops. A DWC system or dutch bucket system would make the cultivation of tomatoes or strawberries much easier. Another factor to consider is the type of climate and temperature for growing a plant needs, set temperatures can be achieved with the use of climate control such as air conditioners, fan and pad systems, and even chiller tanks to reduce water temperatures. Material that a polyhouse is made of can also help with temperature control.

The most important aspect is the market. Does it make sense to invest a vast amount in a technologically advanced farm with better quality and quantity of output? Does my market need the benefits that hydroponic growing give? Does it market as a better product than its soil or organic counterparts? The answer to this can only be tested with a marketable product, there is always a need in one part or another for production of a particular crop variety and hence one must constantly look for new opportunities to refine current crop production methods to achieve better yields or quality and look at new crops for more options of products to take to market. Packaging and collateral educating people of the benefits of these crops is also something farmers must focus on to spread the word of the little-known benefits of this type of farming.

The shift from hobby to commercial growing means more thought on the overall product than just the growing, with hydroponics we can use data to follow fool proof growing SOP’s to get recurring and consistent quantities and qualities of the crop but selling the end result is the main gateway to running your farm profitably.

Adopt Hydroponics to get better yield

Adopt Hydroponics to get better yield

Throughout our schooling we have been taught that India has an agriculture-dependent economy, or that agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy, today, however, there is some disconnect with this statement. Our government has come to realize that agriculture is not serving the nation and developmental goals very well and has hence looked at other ways of increasing employment and inclusiveness. Before we jump into this topic please read these few stats that will help paint an image of the state of affairs in the Indian agriculture sector. We can start with employment, the profession of agriculture and its allied industries employees more than 50 % of Indians employable workforce. this makes agriculture a very important driver of our economy. The other problem with such a large mass of people involved in agriculture promotes very cut-throat pricing strategies where the only differentiator is the price due to which farmers are barely able to recover their investment cost.

The second major issue is the average land holding size in India which as per the agriculture census is on average under 1 hectare, of the total holding over 85% is held by small farmers who have no access to new technologies, high-quality inputs, credit etc. this number is set to cross the 91% mark. This small land holding size is leading to a steady decline in profitability of the farming sector. Yield per acre for farming in India is lower than China, the US, and Europe by a wide margin. Even though we are major producers of a variety of food items across the world. A new avenue that the govt should explore is hydroponics this allows farmers with small land holding size to improve their productivity while at the same time renders them immune to vagarities of the weather. This allows farmers to build a sustainable source of income, with a little help from the government in ensuring market support prices, the farmer can avail of credit facilities to set up the entire farm. High-quality inputs can be provided at a subsidized rate so that the farmers don’t try to improve profitability by cutting cost by opting for lower quality inputs. This allows for 2 things an improvement in the quality of the product as well as the consistency by which we can produce the same.

This will allow for the decrease in price fluctuation allowing for the farmers to make more constant returns, which improves their creditworthiness and also their bankability. Currently, there are 30+ hydroponics plants in India that are using hydroponics equipment that is indigenously designed and built. This is an indication that the technology has already entered India and is in its nascent stages. Over the technology will only become cheaper Today there are already a number of hydroponics companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc.

Types of Hydroponic Gardening Methods

Types of Hydroponic Gardening Methods

Since there are many different options when it comes to hydroponic systems, it can be hard to decide what method may work best for home hydroponics or commercial farming. Here’s a quick overview of some of the different types of hydroponic equipment and systems.

Nutrient Film Technique

One of the more intricate hydroponic arrangements is known as nutrient film technique (NFT). This also involves the use of a reservoir and pump system. The plants are situated in net pots that allow the root system to hang down, and these pots are aligned in a row down the center of a channel. The channel resembles a hollow tube with a flat bottom and holes in the top for the plants. The nutrient solution is pumped up from the reservoir to the top of the channel. The channel must be positioned at an angle so that the water flows over the lower tips of the roots and back into the reservoir. The flat bottom on the channel allows for an even layer of solution to cascade over its surface, feeding the root system on the way down.

Due to the size of the channels, NFT hydroponic systems work best for plants that have a small root system like leafy greens and herbs. NFT is the most scalable hydroponic system available which typically makes it a go-to method for commercial farming. At Future Farms, we have the Leaf Station Series for NFT home hydroponics.

Deep Water Culture

With Deep Water Culture (DWC) hydroponic systems, the plant’s roots are suspended in the nutrient solution and the air is provided directly to the roots with an air stone or diffuser. Plants are placed in net pots with growing media like light expanded clay aggregate (LECA) to help secure them.

DWC works well with almost all plants but is especially useful for growing large plants with extensive root systems like fruiting vegetables. The Future Farms Air Buckets Series is an ideal DWC solution for home hydroponics.

Wick Hydroponics

A wick system is basically a pot connected to a reservoir by a large wick that soaks up the nutrient solution and delivers it to the root system. As the root system absorbs the solution, more is pulled up from the reservoir below. The best media to use in a wick system is coco peat or perlite, as they have a high level of absorption and water retention. However, wick systems are more basic than other types of hydroponic systems and they have their drawbacks.

Unlike other mechanisms that deliver water to the root system, the wick method does not always provide enough water to completely saturate the media. So, even though wick systems are simple to use, they are best reserved for small plants or if you have limited space.


Plants are suspended in the air and nutrient solution is sprayed over the plant’s root system. The nutrient solution is pumped into piping that’s fitted with mist nozzles. As the pressure builds the misters spray the plant’s roots and the solution falls back into the reservoir.

With the right setup, aeroponic hydroponic systems can grow just about any types of plant. The difficulty lies with making sure the mist nozzles are able to spray the entire root system. Aeroponic systems are fairly simple in design but can be expensive and tricky to put together, so they are not ideal for a beginner to hydroponics or for home hydroponics.

Drip System

A drip system is another more advanced hydroponic system. It has a reservoir system that utilizes an air pump to keep the reservoir solution moving and a nutrient pump that sends your solution up to the plants. In this case, the root system is not exposed. The plants are grown in your standard hydroponic medium like coco peat or vermiculite.

When the water is pumped up from the reservoir, it is fed to the plants through from hoses above the top layer of medium. The water literally drips from the hoses onto the medium and is controlled by a timer to go on and off at specific intervals. Set up can be complicated, so they should probably be reserved for more advanced hydroponic gardeners.

Ebb and Flow

In this hydroponic method, the plants are placed in large grow beds filled with growing medium. The grow bed is flooded with nutrient solution until it reached a certain point. A drain allows the water to only get a few inches below the top of the growing medium to keep it from overflowing. The pump is controlled by a timer which shuts the pump off after the grow bed has been flooded, to drain it completely.

These hydroponic systems work great for all types of plants including root vegetables. Ebb and Flow hydroponic systems are popular with home hydroponic gardeners.

In conclusion, it’s important to consider what plants you wish to grow and how much space you have available before choosing the ideal hydroponic system for your home hydroponic needs or commercial farming. At Future Farms, we cater to the needs of both and also supply hydroponic equipment for those looking to build their custom solutions!

Hydroponics – The Profitable way of Growing

Hydroponics – The Profitable way of Growing

Let’s make one thing clear: Hydroponic farming at home can become expensive if improvements are not made continually to achieve greater production efficiency.

For hydroponic farming to be profitable, close attention must be paid to the hydroponic equipment, crop management, and water-use efficiency. The good news is that most home hydroponic growers can improve these aspects of production without extensive capital outlay. Water availability is a concern for the undercover farming industry worldwide, and it would be advisable for farmers to implement suitable water management strategies as soon as possible.

Water recirculating systems are cost-effective and efficient, and any such hydroponic equipment or system can reduce water use in a home growing set up, as well as cut fertilizer bills by between 30% and 40%. Studies that showed that recirculation lowered water use to the extent that only 14l of water were required to grow 1kg of tomatoes, for example.

Regular plant maintenance, such as pruning and trellising, extends the productive life of a crop. Growers sometimes neglect this step, and this has a negative impact on the bottom line.

Greens such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale, Herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro and mint

For optimized home growing, a modest investment in the right equipment, such as knives for de-leafing, will optimize the number of hours that workers dedicate to plant maintenance. Equipment should also be stored in the same place to avoid delays; searching for tools wastes production time.

No matter how you look at it, hydroponic growing looks more and more like the way of the future – not only environmentally-friendly but more economical than traditional methods for better and more consistent results. And best of all, new and affordable hydroponic systems make hydroponic growing open to any and all willing to give it a go, and many of those who make the switch find the benefits and long-term profitability far outweigh the cost to get started.

How Hydroponics farming differs from Regular farming?

How Hydroponics farming differs from Regular farming?

Gardening has evolved to the next stage with the introduction of growing methods like Hydroponics. “Hydro” meaning water and “Ponics” meaning working is the shortest and most direct interpretation of this method. It essentially removes the need for soil as the medium for growth, support, and delivery of nutrition and replaces it with soil. The benefit of this is apparent in the basic consistency of these mediums. Water is easy to work with has a great solubility factor and can be controlled to have no added material(RO) except that which we add for the benefit of the plant’s growth.

This method leverages the superiority of controlled production to give a more guaranteed crop result than soil where mass production is a hit or miss and the plants themselves are subject to the goodwill of the seasons and mother nature.

The fundamental difference is that Hydroponic growing requires specialized hydroponic equipment, which also optimizes the growing process. For ex. NFT(nutrient film technique) commonly used to grow leafy greens and herbs uses a thin film of water that completely reduces the plants need to grow long and thick fibrous root systems and focus on growing their leaves and stems thus greatly reducing seed to harvest times and increasing the harvestable material from the plant. The nutrients that are added can also be designed to cater to the plants leafy growth and boost this production even more. A combination of modern agricultural practices, protected farming, and automation of farm processes have greatly brought down the cost of hydroponics farming in India to make it a viable and lucrative business opportunity right now.

Unlike soil gardening, hydroponics can be done anywhere and by anyone. It reduces the complexity of problem-solving that soil farming has left us with. Hydroponic home systems are easy to install and dismantle to transport. Someone doing hydroponics in Gurgaon could very well pack up their hydroponics system and shift it to another place of residence. One no longer needs to start a whole new garden when moving from place to place.

Another change that hydroponics brings to the table against traditional methods of soil farming is the power of data and technology. In one year of soil growing the number of factors affecting soil fertility and composition could be too vast and difficult to control or correct sometimes a single seasonal event can render acres of land useless for farmers. But hydroponics can be as controlled as tracking the growth in internodal spaces at a particular season, under set temperatures and nutrient levels under monitored light intensities. Data gathering and inference could lead to the development of proprietary farming practices for a guaranteed quantity and quality of the crop. This is an advantage even organic farming cannot provide. Hydroponics raises farming to meet the standards of the “Scientific Revolution”.
Hydroponics blends the best of modern agriculture to provide a clean, efficient, replicable and controllable method of growing.