Hydroponic spinach is grown without the use of soil. The roots of the plant are submerged in a nutrient solution that provides everything the plant needs in order to thrive. Growing plants hydroponically offers various benefits. Pests are much less of a problem than in a conventional garden, yields are larger and crops can be grown in areas that otherwise could not be used for vegetable production. Hydroponic growing also makes good use of available water and can be used for home or commercial production of spinach.
Things You'll Need
- Hydroponic frame
- Nutrient solution
- Floating trays
- Perlite rooting medium
Fill the hydroponic frame at least 5 inches deep with a good-quality nutrient solution. You can buy a commercial solution or make this yourself by adding 2 tbsp. of general-purpose fertilizer and 1 tbsp. of Epsom salts to each gallon of water in the frame. Mix well.
Fill the hollows in one or more floating trays with perlite. This serves to give the seeds a place to start and to give the plants stability as they grow. Fill just to the level of the tray surface. Overfilling will cause waste and result in much of the perlite ending up in the nutrient solution instead of in the trays.
Sow seeds directly into the rooting medium. The seeds will grow in the perlite and will ultimately put roots down into the hydroponic solution.
Float the trays with the perlite and seeds on top of the nutrient solution inside the hydroponic frame. You can float as many trays as you have room for. The seeds will get enough moisture from the liquid below them.
Monitor the hydroponic solution and do not allow the level to fall lower than 5 inches deep inside of the frame. Add water every two or three days, as needed, and add 1 tbsp. of water-soluble fertilizer once a week.
Tips & Warnings
- According to studies published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, properly aerated hydroponic spinach produces seven times the amount of spinach than non-aerated growing does. An aquarium pump with airstones or special hydroponic fans can be purchased for this purpose.
- Do not allow roots to dry out or plants will die. Keep children and pets away from the hydroponic solution, as the liquid fertilizer may be harmful and should not be ingested.
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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