How long to grow lettuce in a hydroponic nutrient solution depends upon the type of lettuce you are growing, the space available, and the initial cost of purchasing the seeds or starter plants. You should ensure that you purchase enough hydroponic nutrients for all of your crops to flourish. If you do not provide the correct number of nutrients your hydroponic crops will become short-lived. However, if you give all of your crops enough nutrients they will be healthy and produce healthy leaves.
Most hydroponic enthusiasts recommend three weeks to get optimum results from your hydroponic system. Three weeks is considered a medium-term growing period as opposed to one month, one year and two years as the normal growing period recommended by the organization. It really comes down to what type of hydroponic crops you are growing. Lettuce, chives and other vegetables are usually considered to be annuals. Many people that grow lettuce think they should grow for two years as part of their planting strategy.
Although it is true that hydroponics can give you a continuous supply of nutrients, there are some disadvantages associated with hydroponics. The main disadvantage of hydroponics is that you do not have the control of how much water or nutrients go into the soil. This means that you could over-water the plants resulting in excessive waste of nutrients and water.
One of the most common disadvantages of hydroponics farming is the amount of work needed to maintain the system. There is a need to regularly change the water, fertilize the beds and adjust the nutrients. Some of the disadvantages of hydroponics are the amount of maintenance involved in the upkeep of the system, the size of the containers used and the lack of choice in materials. The fact that you have little control over the quality of the soil makes the operation of the system more problematic.
One of the best ways to overcome these problems of maintenance and control is to use an aquaponics system. A hydroponic system combines hydroponics and aquaculture to create a self-sustaining system that uses natural fertilizers and water to feed the crops. The primary difference between hydroponics and aquaponics is that hydroponics uses the nutrient rich water of rivers and ponds and aquaponics uses fish tanks full of natural ocean organic products. Aquaponics allows you the choice to use fish, worms or algae to feed your crops.
As a result of the fish tank, there is very little need for constant attention to the crops. When a hydroponic system is started, the water contains all the nutrients the plant needs for growth. The plant roots filter the nutrient solutions and then use them to break down protein complexes, amino acids and carbohydrates into simpler nutrients that can be used by the roots. This process results in less fertilizer to be required and with less waste it also results in a reduction in the amount of harmful toxins floating around in our lakes, rivers and streams.
It is important to use a good compost and a good water softener to make sure your nutrient mixes are of the right consistency. Your hydroponic systems will require constant monitoring and if you intend to keep a crop of lettuce indoors, you will be constantly monitoring the condition of the plants. Air or water temperatures and light intensities are necessary for the appropriate nutrition of your hydroponic systems.
When you compare the advantages of using hydroponics farming hydroponics vs. conventional farming, there are some obvious differences. Although they both use limited amounts of pesticides, the hydroponics farming system is not without risks. Lettuce is a sensitive crop that is best cultivated in a controlled environment. The disadvantages of using hydroponics are minimal compared to the advantages. These include the need for controlled environments, specialized nutrients that are processed differently, and the use of less than ideal supplies of water and nutrients.