Cheap, Fresh Herbs Year Round
Herbs are a natural way to add an extra element of flavor and flair to your dishes. You can easily grow your own tasty herbs at home and in relatively little space.
Instead of growing your herbs indoors in soil and pots, try hydroponic herbs in a hydroponic system. With a hydroponic herb garden, you can grow fresh herbs year round in any area without having to rely on natural growing conditions.
The best hydroponic herb garden system is the AeroGarden Harvest, an indoor gardening system specifically designed for herbs and vegetables.
What's great about the AeroGarden Harvest is that it automatically waters, fertilizes, and prunes your herbs right in the comfort of your kitchen. It comes with nine seed pods, but you can buy additional seed pods to grow a wider variety of plants.
The AeroGarden Harvest is also easy to use. Simply add water, wait for the automatic timer to remind you to add more water, and harvest as needed.
Herbs are ideal for gardeners who want to grow their own food without having to deal with the hassle of a large garden. Herbs are easy to grow, and they are versatile and can used in many different ways.
If you’re thinking about growing herbs at home, you are probably wondering where to start. Fortunately, an herb garden is a very simple and easy-care project that you can start with minimal gardening experience.
Growing a herb garden in your home is an easy task and it can also be a fun one. There are a lot of gardening guides and manuals with detailed information on how to grow a successful herb garden in a container. It is really a simple process that needs little maintenance. There are many advantages of having an herb garden inside your home including having the option of using the freshest possible herbs for use in cooking, and they can also make your home smell fresh and clean.
Growing herbs in containers are easy to do because all you will need to do is place the herbs inside a small container. Select a sunny spot in the house which is not directly in the heat of the sun. When growing herbs inside, it is important that you choose herbs that are considered good growers. Herbs like parsley, chicken-oregano, chives, dill and any of the mints are easy to grow and will allow you to plant them directly in potting soil without the use of a container. If you want to have a more visually appealing herb garden any variety of basil, oregano, parsley, sage or thyme will look lovely when planted in a flower pot.
Step 1 – Wash and Tape Reservoir
A large reservoir is required to keep the water as still as possible. It needs to be able to contain enough water so that it doesn’t dry out during the plants’ growing season. A 5 to 25-gallon container will be sufficient if the plants are small. Once they are larger, however, your best option is to get a much larger reservoir, like a 55 gallon aquarium.
To begin, fill your reservoir with water. It is important to use chemically soft water to eliminate the buildup of mineral salts. The reservoir should be glass or plastic. This helps to maintain a clear liquid and still water. If you are using a plastic reservoir, make sure the type of plastic used is food grade. This is important as some plastics can break down and leach into the water.
The next step is to add bottles to create your reservoir. You can add bottles to add structure, to hold the water, and to direct the water. It is very important that the bottles are clear, food grade, and made from a BPA-free plastic.
If your bottles are not clear, you can paint them with a food grade silicone. To set up the reservoir, cut some small holes in the bottles. The holes will create an overflow system. You can also add small holes in the reservoir to direct the water from the fill tube, in a consistent stream.
Step 2 – Spray Paint Tote
The flower pots don’t need to be fancy; what really matters is that they can be used for a variety of different plants that tolerate different potting materials.
Of course you can use whatever you want for your reservoirs. We’re just going to use mason jars (16 oz) and paint them black. Why black? Because black will absorb any heat from the light and not reflect it, keeping the pedals inside cooler.
First, drill a bunch of holes at the bottom of each pot. Then fill them with perlite. To ensure drainage, you want to have a lot of little holes. At the end of this chapter, there’ll be pictures to show how I suggest you do this so the pots are easy to fill and easy to drain.
Step 3 – Drill / Cut The Holes
For the actual plant bed, measure the width to be used taking into account the additional width for the overflow and the space between the buckets. Remember that the hole needs to be large enough for the gravel.
Check the plant's bed is no longer than the height of your bucket. If it is, you will need to cut the plant bed. For best results and stability, try and achieve 90° angles.
Now drill the holes into the bucket. Use the marker pen to mark the position of the holes before you start drilling. This will mean a greater accuracy and make the next stage a lot easier for you.
If the drill you are using will not allow a hole to be drilled accurately, next time, try using a jigsaw. Or, you could always mark your position accurately with a pencil and then a sharp knife.
Whatever you have used to drill the holes, remember to drill two opposite sides before moving on to the third. This will ensure the maximum stability against the elements without reducing the surface area of drip irrigation.
Step 4 – Install Air System and Add Water
First, using the drill attach the female end of each Tee fitting to the inside of the lid of the planter box with a hose clamp.
These will be the air holes for the plants, so you can put them in the center for easy access of the plants in and out for maintenance.
Now, once the holes are in place, use the male end to directly connect the air pump to the lid of the planter box. You have to make sure that the tank is installed at least a foot or so away from the planter box to keep water from being sucked into the pump.
With the lid and the air pump connected, fill the planter with water.
Once you fill the planter, you will be sure to not overfill it and end up with water all over the place.
So you will want to wait for all the air to bubble out of the planter, which will allow for plenty of room for your plants.
If you get to the end of the process and do not have any air left, that is a good sign because you will have extra room for your plants to grow.
If you have an overflow hole on your planter, it will be a good idea to cover it with the mesh wire to prevent any bugs from getting inside your system.
Step 5 – pH and Add Nutrients
You will want to start your garden off right with the pH level turned to the proper level. Even though there will be a naturally occurring amount of nitrates in the water, you will want to add a little more to make your fruits and vegetables grow quicker than they would naturally.
You can use either liquid or powder nutrients. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Liquid nutrients give your plants an immediate and large hit of nutrients, but over time they can build up inside the plant, which can cause it to be slightly toxic.
Powder nutrients are digested in stages by the plants, and add nutrients slowly and gradually. Adding a powdered nutrient is a great way to supplement your existing liquid nutrients, or to replace them if you use a liquid that has high levels of nitrates.
Once you have added the nutrients to your water, you will need to add the plants.
Try to plant the larger seedlings, like tomatoes and carrots, deeper, as they will have longer roots compared to the tops of the plant and have a better chance of surviving when they are mature. Depending on the variety of the plant, the roots will grow about an inch per week, in order to keep the plant healthy.
The smaller seedlings will need to be planted higher because they have a much smaller root system, which will mean they will lose out to competition more quickly in the bottom area of the pot.
Step 6 – Add Growing Media and Plants
You need to put growing medium into the cells between the pebbles.
Use something like Rapid Rooter, hydroton, potting soil, or perlite. It will help hold moisture in the cells and provide nutrients to the plants.
Place them inside your growing cells. Use your fingers to push it down lightly, being careful not to push them all the way down. You don’t want to totally bury them.
A good rule of thumb for depth is to have the top of the growing medium flush with the top of the cell.
Place your plants into each cell. Make sure the growing medium is covering the roots, but make sure that the tips of the roots do not touch the water below.
If it looks like there is too much growing medium and it’s hard for you to place the plants into the cells, you can pull out some of it.
Leaving the media in the tub, then push it down at the end.
The system itself is constructed to be modular, so it's possible to build the system so that it fits whatever space you have available.
Which Herbs To Grow?
When you plan your hydroponic herb garden, it's a good idea to start with the ones that you frequently use on your table. Picking which herbs to grow is also what will make you want to start growing herbs!
Also, whenever your guests ask you if you have fresh basil, cilantro, tarragon or mint, you can show off your green thumb!
Here are some popular herbs and the directions to grow them in your hydroponic herb garden:
Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
If you love Italian food then this is the first herb you'll want to grow. Basil has a highly concentrated aroma and flavor, so you'll want to start small. Start with a starter kit if you have never tried growing herbs before. When shopping for a variety, the key is to find one that works best for you.
Taking Care of Your Garden
No matter if you use a hydroponics system or different style, your plants will need to be taken care of at some point.
The process is easy and very straightforward. You can either grow a hydroponics herb garden inside or grow hydroponic vegetables on your own.
In This Chapter I Will Tell You about the Very Basics of How to Grow
A hydroponics system, the necessary conditions for your plants and how to take care of them in the best possible way.
Your plant system need a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients that you supply yourself.
So you have to add oxygen that is usually found in the air to your system and you do it with an air pump.
The air pump must be placed on water and it correlates to the surface of the water level.
Because the plants are usually placed in the water, the water level has to be higher than the surface where the pump is.
The surface water level should be about 1-2 inches higher than the plants.
Like every organism, your plants also need nutrients in the form of food and your job is to provide them.
It is recommendable to use a nutrient solution for your herbs.
These pumps do not take care of the oxygen issue.
But for oxygen, you will need to use an air pump that is submerged in the water.