Ever wanted to take up a fun hobby that pays you as well? Well, then consider earning money hydropnic gardening at home and have some fun while at it.
Hydroponic gardens are all the rage these days. Gardening requires a lot of space. With most of us in pigeon-hole like apartments, we can’t afford that much of space.
What is Hydroponic Gardening?
Hydroponics is a form of gardening where you grow plants without soil. The plants and herbs are grown in water and nutrients, instead of soil.
That’s right. There is no soil involved. You may use gravel, coir, pebbles etc to support the roots. But that is pretty much it. The roots of the plants are immersed in the nutritious liquids and that provides the nutrients and food for the plants to grow up.
There are multiple techniques to do this. That is not the point of this article though. In this article we explore the advantages and disadvantages and if it makes sense to earn cash with a hydroponic garden.
Let’s get to it.
Earning money with hydroponic garden
Yes, it is profitable and if done right, you just may be able to build an indoor plant business empire.
Plants in a hydroponic system usually produce 30% or more than traditional garden plants that grow in pots and soil. They require a lot less space. Plus zero pesticids and little water consumption costs.
With the fast growth rates and high yields, hydroponic gardening can be a great investment and passive income stream.
And don’t forget, passive income is not only about earning income, it is also money that you dont spend and save instead. On that note, a hydroponic garden can help you reduce your expenses on fresh vegetables and greens.
For instance, say, you start growing spinach in your hydroponic garden; ideally, you’d start harvesting in a month after planting your seed and then harvest again twice with an interval of about three weeks after regrowth.
You could either keep enough pots for your personal use, or have more and get extra harvest. Depending on how many pots you decide to keep; if you keep more than required for your personal use, you could consider selling.
But more importantly, there is an incomparable sense of satisfaction in having a thriving home-grown garden with (just a little of) your care.
How much land is required for hydroponics
With hydroponic systems, it is possible to use the latest ideas and techniques available presently to set up a garden at home in a small balcony or terrace.
You can set up a plant system for as little as Rs.8000 in a area as small as 5 feet by 4 feet. You would be able to grow about 32
If you are short on budget, space or both, forget a plant system. Go for a pipe kit worth about Rs.1000 which is about 2 feet and can be placed on a table at home.
Advantages of hydroponic gardens
Why even consider hydroponic gardening? Of course, there are a myriad of reasons for you to consider it. Lets look into each. First the advantages:
Sustainable and less water requirement
Growing plants hydroponically requires 10 times less water (zero water wastage), less nutrients (rules out the need to use excessive fertilisers), less maintenance and they have way higher growth rates.
Shorter harvest time
Plants grown through hydroponics provide higher yields in shorter time. That’s right, if you are looking to grow vegetables/crops- you have the advantage of a shorter harvest time.
Hydroponics gives us more control over the plant’s ecosystem. In conventional gardening, you grow plants that suit the weather and soil conditions of that particular geographical area or season.
Since the water and nutrients given to the plants are monitored, one can grow anything they want, regardless season and indigeneity of the plant.
Low space requirements
This has been discussed before. You can get started with as small as a 2 feet pipe. Check this example out from Amazon that gives you a starter kit to get started.
Low time requirement
Apart from space issues, there is also the matter of time. Time needed to maintain and nurture a garden. Who has that kind of time these days? What if I were to tell you that even with a busy life and chaotic schedules you could have your own garden? Yep. I am talking about soil-less gardening or hydroponics, which has become increasingly popular.
Having their own controlled environment also protect the hydroponic plants from common pests and predators which otherwise invade your plants. This gives you another advantage: no pesticides.
In conventional agricultural practices, the use of pesticides is inescapable in order to protect your crops until harvest. Run-off pollution from these agricultural lands causes significant pollution to our freshwater reservoirs, oceans and eventually, us.
Whereas large-scale hydroponic farming scraps the use of pesticides altogether, making it the better option in terms of eco-friendliness, sustainability, and even profitability.
Dis-advantages of the system
Steep learning curve
It takes time and lot of homework to set up your perfefct system. There are various types of hydroponic systems, and it is important to broadly understand them in order to choose the appropriate type. It would depend on what you want to grow, space and accessibility to resources (water, sunlight, electricity).
But after the initial efforts, one merely needs to take 5 minutes a day to oversee the plants, and once in three days to monitor the water quality. Generally, the water (reservoir) needs to be changed once in 3 days.
High initial set up costs
The initial set-up costs for hydroponics could be quite expensive depending on what you have in mind. But once you set it up, it’s absolutely easy on your pocket in the long run.
You might want to start small with a budget of Rs.2500 or so to see if this is something you will ‘grow’ to like!
Is it safe to eat hydroponic vegetables?
There is a common misconception that the hydroponic technology is unnatural, or that crops grown hydroponically are unsafe to consume. It is not. Let’s look at it in the simplest approach.
What do plants need to grow? – Water, light, carbon dioxide, and macro and micro nutrients. The only thing that is being done differently here is how the nutrients are provided to the plants- through water instead of soil.
This and the fact that hydroponic gardens dont need pesticides etc get them into the realm of organic.
How to set up a hydroponic garden
If you are a dexterous person, who likes to be thorough and do things independently, and have time on your hands, you can very well build your own hydroponic system. The information on how to build different types of hydroponic systems is exhaustive on the internet. Not to mention, the numerous support groups on Facebook which I must say are very active. You could learn, experience, educate others and also get guidance from the community along the way.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the time and liberty to make that effort, and if you want to surely get it right, you could always get a starter kit below from Amazon that will get you started in no time.
Some common questions on hydroponics
Leafy vegetable and greens are a great pick. Tomatoes, spinach, basil, herbs, chilies, lettuce are great picks for hydroponic gardens.
This depends on how large your garden is. With yield greater than 30% compared to traditional gardens, you will be able to make a lot more. In India a 4ft by 5ft planter can generate anywhere between Rs.2000 to Rs.10,000 a month depending on what you grow, your efficiency and techniques.
No, hydroponic gardens are self sustained ecosystems and are pest resistant. You don’t have to use pesticides on them.
It is absolutely healthy as the plants are organic and grown without the use of pesticides. It is no different from traditional gardening or farming methods.
Yes, hydroponic plants yield about 20% to 30% more than traditional farming or garden plants.