Do you want to keep the hydroponic basil alive year-round?
The great thing about hydroponic farming is that it allows you to maximize the life of the crop. It is because you can create conditions artificially to sustain the crop.
So how do you maximize the life of the basil?
Before answering that question let me brief you about the conditions required for basil. So that you understand how you will be able to achieve those conditions using a hydroponic system.
What Are The Perfect Conditions To Grow Basil?
Basil comes from a family of herbs called Lamiaceae. Though available worldwide, it originally has roots in Central America and Southeast Asia.
When you look at the conditions of these regions it is typically hot and receives a lot of rain throughout the year.
To grow basil, you will have to create similar kinds of conditions using a suitable hydroponic system.
To give you an idea, look at these facts:
- Typical basil requires 6-8 hours of sunlight.
- Optimum soil temperature to grow basil is 70ºF but it should not go down below 50ºF at night.
- The pH level should be around 5.5-6.
- And it requires a nutrient mix with high nitrogen concentration.
If you are able to provide these conditions for a long period of time, you will be able to keep the hydroponic basil alive for a long period.
How Do You Create Conditions To Keep The Hydroponic Basil Alive?
Now, let’s look at the way we can create these conditions using a hydroponic system
For growing herbs like basil, the best hydroponic system you can use is DWC (deep water culture). The system is easy to build as well as maintain.
Also, if you want you can buy an automated system for basil, AeroGarden Black Harvest is one of the most popular hydroponic systems for herbs. Just buy the kit and you won’t need anything else.
However, if you don’t have a budget to buy such a kit, you can simply go for a DWC bucket kit.
Whichever system you use, you will have to create the right conditions. So let’s take each condition and see how can you achieve it:
The first and foremost thing is to provide basil the right amount of light. I have already mentioned, typical basil requires 6-8 hours of sunlight.
If you are growing hydroponic basil outdoors, the light won’t be an issue. Just place the plant in a spot that receives 8 hours of sunlight.
However, if you live in a hot climate, the plant may need some shade.
If you are looking to grow it indoors, you can use the programmable LEDs to provide the light. With artificial lights, you can provide light for up to 10 hours.
For small set up, fluorescent lights are enough. You don’t have to go for expensive LEDs.
But for large setup, LEDs will give you more flexibility.
Basil is native to tropical regions like Central America and Southeast Asia. You will have to keep the plant in a condition where the temperature is between 70ºF-50ºF.
You don’t need any elaborate setup if you live in America or Canada. With your home heater or air conditioner, you will be able to maintain such a temperature.
In case you live in colder regions, it would be wise to use a grow tent. You can raise the temperature inside the tent just with the help of lights alone.
And in case you live in hot regions you will definitely need an air conditioner or cooler to keep your basil alive and fresh.
As I have already mentioned basil is a tropical plant, it can tolerate direct light.
For optimum growth, it needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. However, if you live in a hot climate make sure to keep the plant in a shade during the afternoon hours.
If you are growing basil in your kitchen or any other indoor room keep the hydroponic basil near a window.
It is the best place in the house where you get maximum sunlight throughout the day.
And in case you are planning to use artificial lights to grow the basil in unfavorable weather conditions, you need can use white light with a mix of blue, green, red, and a far-red.
Depending on the type of basil, you will need the right ratio of these different colors of light.
Among all the colors blue has the most effect on the taste of basil.
There was a research carried out on the percentage of the blue light that provides the best results.
In a test carried out by LumiGrow, a grow light manufacturer, it was found that blue light should be 16 percent of all the colors to yield a high density of plant mass.
The Mosthink LED Grow Light is one of the best-LED lights that you can use for your hydroponic Basil.
The growth of any kind of plant depends a lot on the nutrients it takes.
For herbs, nitrogen is the most important nutrient. You need to make sure that whatever nutrient solution you use has a good amount of Nitrogen.
In addition to nitrogen, it also needs calcium and magnesium in appropriate amounts.
Typical basil requires 80 mg of magnesium and some growers like to add Epsom salt. But make sure the measurement is accurate otherwise it can spoil the crop.
I advise you to use a commercial hydroponic nutrient solution for the best results.
5. pH And Electrical Conductivity
Though the pH and Electrical conductivity are different they influence each other.
Just with pH meter you can tell the conductivity in the solution and vice versa.
By measuring both in the hydroponic water you can determine the nutrients and minerals in the water.
Though the basil grows right out of tap water without the addition of minerals or nutrients, if the conditions are adverse for the basil you will have to take note of the dissolved minerals and nutrients in the water.
Use any good quality pH meter to measure the pH. Or use a good EC meter to measure the electrical conductivity.
For basil, the pH value of the water should be in the range of 5.5 to 8.5.
Anything higher or lower you will have to adjust the pH. For that, you can use any commercial hydroponic pH adjuster solutions.
And the electrical conductivity that you need to maintain is 0.5 to 4 mS per cm.
to maintain electrical conductivity within this range you will have to add nutrients or adjust the water.
Also, both of these factors are good indicators of when to change the water for the basil.
As you already know basal is a tropical plant that indicates it requires a good amount of humidity.
As a matter of fact, typical basil requires 60- 65% humidity for the best growth.
However, any basil will grow within the humidity range of 45 to 65%.
To achieve this precise humidity for hydroponics basil, you can use the following methods:
- Use fans to control the ventilation in the grow room.
- Use humidifiers.
- Even an air conditioner will help you to control the humidity in the room.
A combination of two methods is more effective compared to one method.
However, if you are looking to deploy only a single method we advise you to buy a good quality humidifier.
The TaoTronics Humidifier (Click to check it on Amazon)is a perfect unit for small or medium growers.
This will also work if you are using grow tents for your hydroponic basil.
However, we advise you to use exhaust fans with humidifiers to control the humidity more efficiently.
THe most simple answer for question, how do you keep hydroponic basil alive, perfect condition to grow.
Just provide these conditions and you will have fresh basil every day.
If you have any suggestions or tips and tricks please comment below.