Hydroponic gardening is one of the easiest ways to grow herbs, and you can enjoy fresh basil, chives, mint, rosemary and thyme all year long. Here are some useful tips and tricks to starting your own indoor hydroponic herb garden.
Plants grown in an indoor herb garden require less water compared to soil-based gardens, as hydroponic systems are able to recycle the nutrient solution. Use purified or reverse osmosis filtered water, as poor water quality can have an adverse effect on your plants. Before adding fresh water to your reservoir it is important to allow it to reach room temperature, as plants do not like rapid temperature changes in the root zone.
The hydroponic nutrients you choose are the most important aspect to grow hydroponic herbs. Make sure to use a high-quality line, such as House & Garden Nutrients. Several different herbs may be grown in a single nutrient solution; however, care must be taken to avoid minor nutrient deficiencies. Make sure to monitor and control the balance of the nutrient solution on a daily basis. Completely replace the nutrient solution every 7 to 14 days, depending upon plant size and nutrient usage.
We strongly recommend that every hydroponic herb grower should have a digital pH tester and EC/PPM meter to accurately check the pH and nutrient strength of the system. Generally the nutrient strength should run between 800 to 1500 parts per million (ppm), though the exact ppm requirements will vary depending on circumstances and style of growing. The pH of the nutrient solution should be between 5.5 and 6.0.
Environmental Conditions –
Most herbs grow well at temperatures between 70-80°F. They prefer relative humidity levels around 40-50%, some sun, and adequate drainage. You can also propagate some herbs from cuttings.
It is important to provide enough light for your herb garden. If your light levels are low, give them a boost with a couple fluorescent lights about 12” above the top of your plants. This will greatly increase growth and yield.
Pesticide Use -
With herbs, pesticide use should be kept to a minimum. A good preventative, such as insecticidal soap, will usually keep most pests under control. Sticky traps should be used for indicators of what is present. Indoors, herbs tend to be more attractive to aphids and whiteflies.
Choosing Your Herbs -
Some herbs naturally lend themselves better to indoor growing conditions. Parsley, basil, sage and thyme are known to hold up stronger inside.