Lets talk a little about a plants requirements. All plants need 3 things to grow. "Light" Plants take the energy from the sun or light and turn it into food by chemically changing the photons in a process called Photosynthesis. You can grow indoors by using lights. There are many options for lighting depending on amount of light, color of light. More on lights later.
"Air" Plants need air to help them make food. They take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen as a waste material which is beneficial to all living things. "Water" All living things need water including plants. Water helps move nutrients up the root system to feed the plant.
Dirt is not needed for a plant to live. Dirt is used to support the plant upright and also it does get nutrients from organic particles in dirt, but in hydroponics we supply the nutrients for the plant making dirt totally unnecessary for the plants survival. Lets talk about drainage. Drainage is very important. Without good drainage your roots could actually drown and the plant die. Good drainage will keep your plants healthy and growing well. The more oxygen you can get to the root zone the better.
Always set up your growing containers by covering the drainage holes with a weed cloth, shade cloth, or rocks to keep the holes clear. Then if you use a well draining combination of median you should be alright. Remember very important good drainage. If you pour water in the top of a pot with a hydroponic median in it you should be able to see it come out of the bottom holes almost right away.
With dirt many times it will over run the top of the container because the drainage is poor. Plants like Air, Water, Light, and a well drained median so the roots can breathe! Plants need nutrients to grow and be healthy. It is important enough nutrients for the plants to grow. Too much nutrients can have the adverse effect and slow or stop growth. Use a ecc meter to measure the electrical conductivity of the nutrient solution.
Hydroponic gardening is easy and with meters for both ecc and pH your nutrient solution should help your plants grow big and give a good harvest.
pH levels range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 acidic and above 7 alkaline. The optimal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0; however, many plants have adapted to thrive at pH values outside this range.
Different grow lights for plants and vegetables. Incandescent bulbs cost just a few dollars and are the cheapest option. They are good for lighting up rooms and low intensity houseplants, but not for larger plants and vegetables.
High-Intensity Fluorescent Grow Lights give much more light and can be used for plants and vegetables. Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS). Metal Halide are more of the blue spectrum and are good for the vegetation stage of plant growth.High Pressure Sodium has more of the red spectrum and are good for the flowering stage of plant growth.Both MH and HPS lights give off allot of heat and You may need ventilation system to keep plant growing area at a lower heat level.
LED grow lights cost more initially than HPS and MH but cost less money on electricity.LED grow lights keep light intensity over the years unlike MH and HPS have to be replaced every year to maintain light intensity.LED lights run much cooler than both MH and HPS and it may be necessary to add heat to the growing area. LED lights are getting less expensive every year and the light last 10 years before needing to be replaced.
LED lights can come as more of the daylight for vegetive and they come in the flowering spectrum of plant growth.
This is a black star led I used in my greenhouse and in a shed grow room. This is more for the vegetive stage of plant growth.