Consider the space you have available for your intended garden. Don't forget that if you plan to grow indoors in a tight space you will also need room to access your garden and perform routine maintenance such as pruning and nutrient changes. For this purpose, leave yourself ample space to work. Too many people try to fit too much garden into too small a space. Remember - a hydroponic garden will give you a significantly higher yield than a soil garden of equal size. If you plan to grow indoors, consider the location for its access to direct sunlight. Most plants need a minimum of 4-6 hours direct sunlight and a total of at least 12-14 hours of light daily. Your garden will not benefit from more than 18 hours of light daily however. A south facing window is a great place to start (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere) and to provide supplemental lighting, or in the case of providing exclusive lighting indoors, consider purchasing a High Intensity Discharge lighting system. HID lighting systems are available in either High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH) configurations. HID lighting systems for horticulture provide maximum efficiency in converting electricity to light and will provide your garden with sufficient intensity of light to thrive.
Outdoors you can take advantage of the natural sunlight to supercharge your garden. Outside you will have to consider the effects of the weather including temperature and heat/cold. Direct sunlight will heat up the nutrient solution in your garden. Maintain the nutrient temperature between 65 and 75 degrees for best results - temperatures outside this band will slow the growth of your crop. Rainwater will cause the pH and concentration of your nutrient solution to drift if it gets into the system. Make provisions to keep rainwater out of your hydro-ponic system - This is more of a problem with the hydroponic planter design as it has a large exposed area to receive precipitation. Plastic skirts can be cut from plastic bags which when placed around the stems and over the grow sites will keep rainwater out of the other two hydroponic garden designs. To protect your nutrient solution from excessive heat and strong direct sunlight, consider using celotex or another type of reflective insulation commonly available at building supply stores. Make sure all electrical connections are kept dry as per manufacturer's instructions. Most timers ARE NOT WATERPROOF!
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