One of the wonderful aspects of hydroponic gardening is that it can take up less square footage than traditional gardening. In fact, the incredible range of hydroponic kits, planters, and tools means that hydroponic gardening offers uniquely flexible solutions for space restrictions.
However, even in hydroponic gardening, the need to utilize space must be balanced by leaving individual plants sufficient room to grow. How do you know how much room you’ll need for your hydroponics garden or farm? Properly sizing your hydroponics system relies on taking some time, planning ahead, and employing a couple key strategies.
Step 1 is to work backward, in two separate ways. First, determine your desired crop yield. How many of each fruit or vegetable do you or your customers need? You may want to have your business model and marketing strategies handy as you calculate this.
Once you have the necessary number of plants nailed down, you then need to estimate the size of each fully-grown plant. Knowing this will ensure that your rapidly growing plants can get to full yield. Check out ZeroSoil’s Plants Per Square Foot Chart breakdown as a guide to some common crops.
With the rough square footage estimate of plant number x fully grown plant size determined, you can now go on to experiment with strategies to increase crop yield and space utilization!
One way to do this is alternate your crops by height so that your towering tomatoes and peppers don’t shade each other out. Inserting rows of shorter plants such as spinach and lettuce will ensure that all the plants get the space and light they need.
You’ll also want to acquaint yourself with the wonders of plant training. Plant growth is accelerated in hydroponic gardening, so you can quickly tease a plant to grow in the direction you wish.
For this, you’ll need to employ a couple tools, such as horizontal screens or vertical tying. In no time, plants that normally sprawl horizontally can instead be trained into unused vertical space.
So, how much room do you need for hydroponics?
In summary, with a little thought, strategy, and planning, you can quickly calculate the room you need for your desired hydroponic crop size.
By working backward from your desired crop yield and full-grown plant size, you’ll get a rough estimate of the room your hydroponics garden needs. Some smart strategies such as alternating crops and integrating training techniques can help you utilize the space still further. Good luck as you grow in your hydroponic adventures, and don't forget to stock up on Suppleplant products to help accelerate the growth and strength of your precious plants!