Herbs are considered useful. With their larger role in the kitchen, it’s good to know some tips, like how to keep hydroponic basil alive.
This may sound hard to achieve. What most people don’t know, though, is that there is a way for these minty herbs to stay fresh out of the garden. Ideally, certain conditions have to be met.
Basil: A Closer Look
Coming from the family Lamiaceae (mints), basil is widely used in the culinary world. There are many uses for this tender plant, the most common of which is flavoring. Specifically, fresh basil is added to the cooked dish just before serving.
What is hydroponic basil?
This is just like your typical basil, minus one component: it is grown without the need for soil. What you need to consider first is what type of basil would be suited for germinating. It takes about 3 to 10 days to do so and a temperature of 75 degrees.
How to Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive: What You Need to Know
Modern gardening practices these days dictate that these herbs should be kept fresh for more practical use. Luckily, any basil variety will thrive in a hydroponic setting, given the right attention to detail.
Preferably, you should expose your hydroponic basil to about 14 to 16 hours of sunlight per day for the most productive results. Large LED grow lights will do just fine, or you could use T5 fluorescent lighting. At the very least, give it 10 hours a day.
A balanced ratio of potassium and calcium (1:1 ratio) must be well-maintained to release the basil leaves and branches’ oil and flavor. Nitrogen also adds to its ability to yield leaves. Make sure to keep its levels at a constant at all times.
Apart from this, magnesium must be at least at a level of 50 ppm. Remember that this is responsible for the overall flavor and aroma of the plant.
Hydroponic basil can grow in a pH as low as 5.5 but will produce best within a pH range of 6.5 to 6.8. It’s also important to use straight water (pH balanced is ideal) for the first few days after germination or just until the emergence of embryonic leaves.
Hydroponic basil grows best in day temperatures ranging from 70-80°F. Also, basil needs a warm environment protected from drafts, so night temperatures mustn’t go lower than 65°F.
When grown indoors, especially in a small room, airflow should still be maintained to ward off fungi and facilitate the evaporation of excess water from the plants in a process otherwise known as transpiration.
Pruning and Regular Manicuring
Remove any broken stems and old growth (including dying leaves). Show care in doing so and use sheers (don’t just simply pull them out) as you might accidentally pull off a whole stem.
Basil is generally considered a stem-y plant, meaning they can grow close together without necessarily crowding. This means you can have an average spacing of about 6 inches between each plant to ensure proper airflow is still maintained.
However, if you have a bigger area for planting your basil, you could place them 9 to 12 inches apart for a more spread out and lateral growth pattern. This will guarantee an increased yield as well.
Basil leaves are prone to absorbing moisture, which is how to keep hydroponic basil alive. For this reason, be sure to avoid long periods of high humidity. Otherwise, this could lead to calcium deficiency. In a hydroponic scenario, keep humidity levels within 60-65%.
The Key Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening
Did you know that if you decide to grow your plants inside any type of greenhouse (hobby, mini, or semi pro), you’re setting yourself up for the best gardening experience? Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned greens aficionado, you might want to take a closer look at the key benefits of having your own greenhouse:
The growing season is extended
Since your greenhouse provides your plants with an enclosed environment, the climate inside the structure is more controlled compared to the climate outdoors. For this reason, your greenhouse plants will have more advantage over outdoor plants because they won’t be exposed to swinging temperatures.
What’s more, you’ll be able to plant weeks or months longer than what is normally possible! This means that with greenhouse gardening, you can expect a year-round harvest!
You can keep the bad bugs out and the good bugs in
Your greenhouse protects your plants from the attacks of destructive pests such as cabbage maggots, caterpillars, cutworks, flea beetles, and other predators. Unlike traditional outdoor gardeners who are constantly on the lookout for squirrels, moles, deer, and raccoons, you can rest easy knowing that your greenhouse also acts as an effective barrier against these unwanted creatures.
While your greenhouse keeps the population of nuisance insects under your control, it also allows you to contain beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises that help fight the destructive bugs that have managed to sneak into your greenhouse. These beneficial insects also work to help your plants thrive well.
Now that you know how to keep hydroponic basil alive, perhaps you might want to try your hand at greenhouse gardening. You won’t be disappointed with the results!