Herbs are considered valuable. With their more significant role in the UK kitchen, it’s good to know some tips, like how to keep hydroponic basil alive.
Keeping hydroponic basil alive may sound hard to achieve. Most people don’t know, though, that there is a way for these minty herbs to stay fresh out of the garden. Ideally, one has to meet certain conditions.
Basil: A Closer Look
From the family Lamiaceae (mints), people in the UK widely use basil in the culinary world. There are many uses for this tender plant, the most common of which is flavouring. Specifically, chefs add fresh basil to the cooked dish just before serving.
What is hydroponic basil?
Hydroponic basil 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 proper 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 flavour. 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 flavour and aroma of the plant.
Hydroponic basil can grow at 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 purified 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, one should still maintain airflow 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 pull them out) as you might accidentally pull off a whole stem.
Experts in the UK generally consider basil as a stem-y plant, meaning they can grow close together without crowding. Growing without crowding 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 more extensive area for planting your basil, you could place them 9 to 12 inches apart for a more spread out and lateral growth pattern. A more extensive scope of planting 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 polytunnel Gardening
Did you know that if you decide to grow your plants inside any polytunnel (hobby, mini, or semi-pro), you’re setting yourself up for the best gardening experience? Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned greens fan, you might want to take a closer look at the key benefits of having your greenhouse:
How to extend the growing
Since your polytunnel provides your plants with an enclosed environment, the climate inside the structure is more controlled than the climate outdoors. For this reason, your polytunnel plants will have more advantage over outdoor plants because they won’t expose to swinging temperatures.
What’s more, you’ll be able to plant weeks or months longer than what is usually possible! Planting longer means that with polytunnel gardening, you can expect a year-round harvest!
You can keep the nasty bugs out and the good bugs in
Your polytunnel protects your plants from the attacks of destructive pests such as cabbage maggots, caterpillars, cutworks, flea beetles, and other predators. Unlike traditional outdoor UK gardeners who are constantly on the lookout for squirrels, moles, deer, and raccoons, you can rest easy knowing that your polytunnel also acts as an effective barrier against these unwanted creatures.
While your polytunnel 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 polytunnel gardening. You won’t be disappointed with the results!