Hydoponic farming is a great way to exact more precision in plant propagation. Without soil as a substrate, the hydroponic farmer has greater environmental control over almost all aspects of their plants.
If you already have a general grasp of the principles of hydroponics and what a basic set-up entails, you’re naturally left with the question: What should I grow?
The simple answer?
Whatever you want.
There are natural limitations to this. Some plants grow better than others in a hydroponic agriculture…. But first and foremost is intent. What plants attract you? Are you trying to grow food for your own subsistence, or to market? How about flowers? Selecting plants will also be dependent on what kind of hydroponic system you use and what growing mediums you are considering.
Here are some general things to consider.
It’s a good idea to grow hydroponic plants from seed. You could go and get starts from your local nursery and wash their roots clean, as they have to go in a soil-less growing medium, or be suspended in water. But this could damage roots, stress the plant and potentially introduce unwanted microbial life into your system. Starting with seeds minimizes all these risks. Starting with smaller, more compact varieties may suit your needs, if you’re new, as larger, sprawling plants need to be tended to with more attention than plants that would grow well in soil. Trellising can be done in a hydroponic setup, so, depending on your comfort level, you could grow snap peas, squash, or any vine plant that would take to a trellis. Squash, however, takes up a lot of space, so think of layout and succession (check the maturing dates in a seed catalog or on packets). Grow what is most valuable to you.
Whether your setup is indoor or outdoor will have an impact for what you grow. If you’re indoor and can adequately control variables such as light levels, temperature, etc., then you have nearly limitless control of what and when you’ll grow. The only drawback is the need to hand-pollinate plants that would normally be pollinated by insects. If your setup is outside, then you’ll have to grow summer crops during summer and fall crops during the fall.
This page (http://www.hydroponics-simplified.com/hydroponic-plants.html) gives you a general list of each.