Growing Hydroponic Melons – vertical farm

growing hydroponic melons

How To Develop Hydroponic Melons

Rising hydroponic melons is a wonderful alternative for hydroponic crop cultivation. Most melon varieties, i.e. Cantaloupe, Watermelon and Honeydew cultivars will thrive in hydroponic gardens when given sufficient house, wholesome air, gentle and good vitamin.  Melons love water, so water tradition methods like DWC (deep water tradition) and RDWC (recirculating deep water tradition) are an particularly sensible choice when rising hydroponic melons.

Manufacturing will be prolific and hydroponic melons are agency, juicy and candy as sweet when vine ripened.  The distinction versus grocery retailer purchased is akin to a homegrown backyard tomato versus retailer purchased within the winter time.  In reality, individuals who claimed to not particularly like melons typically change their thoughts after sampling a vine ripened hydroponic melon; actually, they’re that good!

Cultivar Choice

Relating to rising hydroponic melons, we’re followers of harvesting particular person sized melons–ie mini melons are good for a person feast, snacking amongst a couple of pals and even halved for tasty fruit primarily based dessert bowls. This fashion there’s much less waste, no must take up beneficial fridge house and the melons are loved at peak freshness. 

In our trial for rising hydroponic melons we chosen an heirloom number of cantaloupe known as “Minnesota Midget”.  It’s been round for a really very long time and seeds are simple to get—we are able to extremely advocate it primarily based on manufacturing, hardiness and style too.

Different nice selections for rising hydroponic melons embody:

Hearts of Gold (Medium sized Cantaloupe)

Sarah’s Selection (Medium sized Cantaloupe)

Sugar Child (Mini sized Watermelon)  

Tam Dew (Small to Medium Honeydew)

Earli Dew (Small to Medium Honeydew)

Most melons will take from 70 to 90 days from sowing seeds to maturity when grown with hydroponics in a heat local weather. One of many advantages of water tradition methods is that with a small aquarium heater in your development module that accommodates the nutrient answer you’ll be able to lengthen the rising season, whether or not beginning earlier or going later (or each).  Crops will tolerate cooler air temperatures so long as rootzone temperatures stay optimum–that is rather more economical than attempting to warmth massive volumes of air for the shoots.

Beginning Hydroponic Melons

After getting your seeds available, you’ll be able to start the germination course of to get began on rising hydroponic melons.  You received’t want a lot house for the primary 4 weeks—easy nursery flats or hydroponic propagation methods must be ample with some supplemental lighting (LED or Fluorescent gentle strips).

Be sure you can preserve a gradual heat environmental temperature, with round 21 deg C being optimum in most cases. A heating mat with a thermostat for trays or an aquarium heater in water tradition methods are good methods to keep up optimum temperatures whereas retaining energy payments cheap.

A soilless germination medium is beneficial, ie clear, sterile and never liable to water logging. iHort Plugs, Oasis cubes or rockwool plugs are good selections.  Peat pellets may additionally be used, however these have a tendency to remain too moist as soon as transplanted to hydroponics and will promote stem rot or different points.

Pre-treat your rising medium or put together your water tradition system with lighting earlier than planting seeds—examine the surroundings will be maintained at optimum. Regular even temperatures are finest for germinating most seeds. A superb temperature vary for germination is 72 to 78 deg F, some varieties will reply higher to hotter temperatures.

One or two strips of fluorescent or LED full spectrum or horticultural lighting helps to maintain the air heat and stimulates sturdy younger vegetation–lights must be round 12 inches from the highest of the expansion medium. Eighteen hours of lights ON and 6 hours of lights OFF is an efficient photoperiod for germination and establishing younger vegetation. 150uMol-s of PPFD is an efficient gentle stage for younger gentle loving vegetation in case you are utilizing a lightweight meter.

If utilizing humidity domes on trays, take away the domes as soon as 50% of the seeds have emerged (don’t fear the remainder ought to observe; even with out the dome).  This helps preserve seedlings sturdy, wholesome and reduces the probabilities of propagation illnesses like stem rot or root rot.

After the primary set of true leaves emerge you’ll be able to feed with a whole hydroponic fertilizer at round 0.2 to 0.3 EC and a pH vary of 5.8 to six.3.

Attempt to preserve the air humidity from 65 to 75% RH, drier will stress younger vegetation.  An occasional misting of recent, clear water will help.

Hydroponic Melons, Methods & Environmental Necessities

As soon as your seedlings are properly established, normally after three to 5 weeks, they are often transplanted into your RDWC or DWC hydroponic system. 

The nutrient answer temperature must be from 67 to 75 deg F, though hotter is normally OK if sustaining “clear” nutrient options. Good aeration of the nutrient answer is essential for achievement and quick lush vegetation in DWC and RDWC rising hydroponic melons. 

Rising hydroponic melons within the greenhouse, a hotter air temperature vary of 75 to 85 deg F provides glorious outcomes and yields wholesome vegetation.  As soon as properly established, hydroponic melon vegetation will tolerate drier air to a degree, however favor to be within the 60 to 70% RH vary.

Relative humidity turns into particularly necessary as soon as hydroponic melons begin to flower. Flowers will drop off or not pollinate if the air is excessively dry or humid. Further calcium provided to vegetation when flowering strongly helps. Keep in mind, no pollination means no fruits!  Gently shaking vegetation will help, particularly with mild air motion—bees are undoubtedly your buddy!

Rising hydroponic melons in full solar or sturdy develop lighting is suggested for finest manufacturing, for instance 900 to 1800 uMol-s after vegetation are properly establsihed.  Generally massive and plush melon foliage will wither a bit within the hottest a part of the day–don’t panic and do something drastic. Typically, you’ll discover they return to regular over the course of the night or darkish cycle.

Feeding established hydroponic melons with a full spectrum hydroponic Bloom components is beneficial; usually you’ll be able to observe a good producers’ feeding chart with success, however you’ll do exactly nice with a easy full bloom fertilizer.  Keep in mind, they’re rising and flowering on the similar time.  Below heavy fruit load, contemplate including a excessive potassium Bud or Bloom booster.

Preserve an EC of 1.2 to 1.5 and pH of 5.8 to six.4 in your RDWC or DWC hydroponic system.  Weekly additions of hypochlorous acid helps preserve roots clear and hygienic, particularly in hotter circumstances.

Cultural Practices

When rising hydroponic melons, trellising can be required, except you need to prepare vegetation to develop on the bottom.  Maintaining the fruits up and off doubtlessly contaminated surfaces retains your meals hygienic and produces and abundance of fruits.  Tomato clips and wire work nice; utilizing netting is an possibility too (though it poses a hazard to wildlife outdoor or in landfills).

Its’a superb to see how a properly trellised hydroponic melon vine can assist the load of many heavy fruits–they keep very connected to the vines till totally ripened. Some growers will assist particular person fruits with netting and even previous bras (nice for watermelons), though we didn’t discover it was needed rising “private sized” cantaloupe cultivars.

Look ahead to the standard pests and illnesses, like powdery mildew, downy mildew, fireplace blight, spider mites, moths, caterpillars, and so on.  We encountered no issues rising hydroponic melons within the greenhouse, heirloom varieties are particularly good at resisting issues, seemingly. Yellow sticky traps are a great way to watch any potential insect pressures.

When to Harvest Hydroponic Melons

The unique flower normally stays connected to the fruit (look on backside) that has developed.  When this falls off on it’s personal or pulls off simply is an efficient signal of ripening.

Within the case of cantaloupes, they develop a really distinct webbing or netting to the fruit as they mature.  They begin off as very darkish inexperienced and look nearly pale to yellow when mature.

When close to peak maturity, the melons give off a candy melon scent; you must get fairly near detect this usually. That’s proper, stick your face proper as much as these melons.

Ripe melons will break freed from the vine with only a mild tug; you shouldn’t want to drag very arduous in any respect for a correctly ripened melon. Additionally look on the bottom a pair occasions a day–they’ll simply randomly drop off the plant if totally ripened.  Within the case of cantaloupes, their pores and skin is agency, and no injury occurred to the internal fruit if “fall down ripened”.

Get pleasure from your harvest!  You’ll seemingly discover you might have an abundance for gifting or swapping with pals.  Hydroponic melons will be eaten recent, cleaned and frozen for smoothies and even juiced.  You’ll additionally discover that hydroponically grown melon can preserve a very long time within the fridge versus retailer purchased.

Prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe slices is a timeless basic when entertaining; that mixture of salty and candy!