If you’re lucky enough to live in part of the world where it’s possible create an outdoor hydroponics system but have been running your garden indoors then you’ve been missing out!
Running your system indoors year round can be expensive with humdifiers, grow lights, pumps and air stones running nonestop! The bills can rack up pretty quickly.
So if you are fortunate enough, why not move your setup outdoors?
6 Outdoor Hydroponics Tips & Benefits
For many of us, part of our love for gardening comes from being outdoors. In this post, we’re going to take a look at 7 tips when creating an outdoor hydroponics system along with some of the benefits too.
So the biggest benefit of creating an outdoor hydroponics setup is that you don’t have to pay for lighting.
Instead, you get to benefit form the biggest grow light we have – the sun!
Ideally, you’ll want to put your system in a spot with good shelter and a southern exposure. Doing this maximises the amount of sunlight your plants recieve helping them grow well.
Keep Your Water Cool
While an outdoor system has many advantages, there are some new challenges that you might not have experienced before. One of these is keeping your water cool.
Here are a few ways you can keep your water from overheating:
- Keep your tanked topped up with cold water. Keep in mind that this will alter the pH and EC so you’ll need to constantly monitor this with your pH meter.
- Place your water tank in a shady location that’s out of direct sunlight.
- Partially bury your reservoir.
- Buy a special water chiller for hydroponics. While this is the most expensive option, it’s the most effective.
Keep Your Tanks Topped Up
With an outdoor water reservoir you’ll also notice that your water evaporates much quicker than it would if it was kept indoors. It’s important that you never let your tanks empty as this can be fatal to your plants. In advanced setups, you can install a float valve that will automatically top up the tank with a fresh nutrient solution if the water dips below a certain level.
Make Sure You Lower Electrical Conductivity Levels
In hotter weather it’s important to lower the electrical conductivity of your nutrient solution as your plants will need more water. By lowering the EC levels you make it easier for your plants to absorb water.
Give Your Plants A Helping Hand
During the first few days of summer your plants could really struggle. Thanksfully, there are a couple of easy options to help improve their tolerance to the head.
Liquid kelp and humic acid are both great additions to your nutrient soludion and will help your plants when it starts to heat up.
You should aim to use a 5:2 ratio of humic acid to kelp. You’re aiming to help encorage both root development which will allow for great water uptake and strengthen the plant to protect them from UV light.
This will take a while to take effect so should e done in mid-spring to give your plants the best possible chance.
Embrace The Breeze
When your plants are outside they also benefit from the wind.
When your plants have a constant breeze their pores open, this helps them absorb more carbon dioxide and regulate oxygen and water release.
Keep Pests At Bay
One of the biggest challenges of outdoor hydroponics is pest control.
To keep pests at bay, you have a number of options:
- Put plants in front of your system and hope that pests attack them instead.
- Use a pest spray.
- Use insecticidal soaps
Earth Easy has a great article on managing pests and one of their best tips is encoraging ‘good’ pests. “You can set aside a small garden plot of flowering plants designed to attract and harbor beneficial insects. These ‘good’ insects prey on many common garden insect pests and offer the gardener a safer, natural alternative to pesticides”.
Find our MoreThe guys over at Epic Gardening have a great guide to creating your first outdoor setup:
The Bottom Line
So there you have it 6 excellent tips to keep in mind for your outdoor hydroponics system.Image by Maciej Wojnicki.
Hi I'm Miles and I'm one of the growers behind AuthorityGardening.com.
Besides being a passionate gardener and writer, I'm a husband, father and a grandfather to three!