Hydroponics for beginners: How to grow herbs at home without soil


How to grow herbs at home without using soil

You only need water — we aren't kidding

By Sonali Shah  May 7th, 2020

You can be a newbie to gardening, have absolutely no plant-related equipment at home, and still grow your own mint leaves. Surprised? Try your hand at the hydroponic method and let us know if the homegrown produce tastes sweeter. Hydroponics, as the name suggests, uses water as the main medium to grow plants. Instead of soil, the roots derive nutrition from water. So, here’s how to grow herbs at home with a basic set-up that consists of things easily available in most homes.

What you need:

– Handful of seeds from your spice-box (mustard, fenugreek or coriander), or wheat grains
– A few stems of freshly bought (non-refrigerated) mint or spinach
– A sieve or a plastic storage basket with tiny holes at the bottom, commonly used in kitchens
– A container for the sieve to sit on
– Filtered water

The set-up:
hydroponics

Image credits: Cooking and gardening in a easy way/YouTube

Here’s what you’re going to do – fill the container with enough water so that when the sieve is placed on it, the sieve only barely touches the water. Ensure it doesn’t submerge. Now hum a tune as you disperse the seeds on the sieve with your hand, so that they don’t clump together. Sprinkle water on the seeds to wet them. And that’s the total set-up required. Place it in a partially sunny spot and wait for the magic.

Farm to table:
hydroponics
Image credits: Container Gardening/YouTube

Through the next week, ensure that the seeds remain moist – sprinkle water twice or thrice a day. Every three days, refill the container with fresh filtered water. And just like that, in a week to 10 days, you’ll see the seeds germinate, and their roots grow towards the water. Every few days, there will be a remarkable increase in the roots, and soon, you should see some leaf growth too. And voila! You’re successfully growing your own herbs – ready to be harvested in a few weeks and garnished on your salad.

Propagate the greens:

hydroponics
Image credits: Cooking and gardening in an easy way/YouTube

For mint and other leafy greens, the set up remains the same, but you don’t necessarily require seeds. You can propagate new plants by the stems bought from the vegetable vendor. Choose a few healthy-looking stems (about 5-6 inches long), and pluck out all the leaves except the top two. Once you’ve gathered about 10 such stems, insert them – carefully, without damaging the tender stems – through the sieve holes, into the container filled with water. The following process is the same as with seeds – refill the container with fresh water every 3 days.

In about 3-4 days, you’ll spot tiny white roots growing from the nodes of the stems. In the coming weeks, you’ll spot new leaf-growth at the top of the stem, and at the nodes. Give them a couple of more weeks and you can begin harvesting leaves from your own hydroponic setup! Fresh mint tea, anyone?