Growing Broccoli Hydroponically
Broccoli is a vegetable that is very well suited to being grown hydroponically. The best way to accomplish this is to plan out your method in order to make sure you are able to give your plant the right conditions in which to thrive. Being able to control the conditions will give you a great crop each and every time.
Step 1 – Controlling Temperatures
Like many hydroponic vegetables, broccoli will benefit from the ability to control the temperature it is grown in. You can be sure your crop will never have to face extreme temperatures such as a premature frost, or a hot flash. Growing broccoli indoors is ideal because of the cool environment the vegetable prefers. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 60 degrees. A good target area for the environment is around 55 degrees.
Step 2 – Control Light
Broccoli grows best with a lot of light. The optimal conditions will include a 16 hour period of light followed by an 8 hour period of dark. You can use the artificial lighting inside your hydroponic system in order to control the light it is receiving. You can cover the whole thing with a blanket on order to make sure the light source is steady and will be on it's own cycle. The light source should be no closer than six inches from the actual plant.
Step 3 – Controlling the Nutrients
Broccoli responds well to the right amount of water and nutrients. You can find a good solution of hydroponic nutrients at any good hydroponic retailer. Introducing this into the irrigation system will allow you to control the amount and delivery of the nutrients to your plant. The best idea is to have the nutrients added to the irrigation about twice a day. No matter what nutrient solution you use, you may want to add extra B vitamin. This will not only help the plant to grow quicker, it will elevate the levels of vitamin B in the vegetable when you eat it.
Step 4 – Controlling Irrigation
The broccoli plant does not like a lot of water. It is difficult to control water levels without drying out the roots. In order to do this, use gravel. The roots will be able to grow through the gravel in order to dangle in the hydroponic solution. Netting can be used as well, but is not as effective as gravel is in allowing the roots to have as much water as they desire. A drip irrigation system will make sure the rest of the plant gets hydrated without becoming oversaturated. Broccoli that receives too much water will be subject to rot.
Step 5 – Controlling Pests
The best part about growing in a hydroponic environment is your crop will not be subject to any pests. Should an insect make it's way into the environment, simply remove it at once before it has a chance to take hold and lay eggs.