Plan how to support your plants early on or you will have problems


Plan how to support your plants before you plant or you will be 'tearing your hair out' at the last second. link fence,garden support

You may be saying, 'what's the big deal? As they grow I'll tie them to something...'. I said much the same when I first started hydroponics and I have paid the price for it. Now I plan for and build plant supports at the same time I plant seedlings.

The first thing to remember is that hydroponic plants develop smaller root systems than their dirt counterparts because roots do not need to grow to reach nutrients; it is readily and easily supplied in a hydroponics growing system.

Plant roots help serve as an anchoring device for the plant so a smaller root system means less anchoring. The second thing to remember is that by virtue of design, hydroponics will use a lighter growing medium (or none at all in the case of NFT) which provides plant roots with very little to grab on to and anchor with.

What this means is that hydroponic plants reaching a certain height will more than likely fall over unless supported. And hydroponic plants will grow faster and larger than when in dirt.

Here's a true-to-life example of what happened to me: I planted several beefsteak tomato plants in a mittleider growbox in a portable PVC greenhouse. Normally a 6 foot steak driven into the ground next to each plant would be enough support to tie the plant to. These plants grew to 14 feet so the top 8 feet of the tomato plants were not being supported.

Suddenly I find myself crawling in and around these tomato bushes tying them to the greenhouse support structure. It was not easy and not fun but it did work even though the combined weight of the plants bent the PVC out of shape. If I had planned ahead, this would not have happened...

With small plants a stake driven into the growing medium may be good enough or a stake nailed to the boards underneath the growing container would work. With larger plants you have to be creative with support design - just keep in mind that the combined weight of several large plants will exceed several hundred pounds.

And when you tie the plants to a support do not use string or twine as this will cut right into the plant stem. I use small 2 foot cloth strips torn from an old sheet or pillow case. So please plan how to support your plants when starting a hydroponics garden (do not put it off) and you will not be sorry...


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