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Best Hydroponic Systems for Schools

The global hydroponics market is predicted to exceed $22 Billion by 2028, roughly a 133% increase from the market size in 2020. Hydroponics has proven to be a highly-efficient and environmentally friendly growing technique that could help address global food insecurity in coming years.

student preparing a hydroponic garden

In addition to being a growing method with a huge present and future, it also provides accessible opportunities for students, old and young, to gain hands-on experience with this incredible process. 

Why Students Need to be Taught Hydroponics in School?

Hydroponics is a versatile and brilliant growing process that peaks the interest of students, amplifying a wide range of school topics, while also teaching real world skills. Below are some of the top reasons why students should learn hydroponics in an educational setting.

Hands-on Learning

Introducing hydroponics in the classroom will provide more and more students hands-on experience in growing their favorite vegetables and herbs. Students can get a practical and real-time view of the plant life cycle, watching as their plants grow and develop to produce fresh and edible vegetables and fruits. 

Growing plants inside the classroom will bring a sense of satisfaction and will encourage students to eat healthy, fresh and local food. Beyond providing a deeper understanding of the science behind growing, students are equipped to leverage their newfound knowledge to create hydroponic growing systems within their homes and communities.

Practice Soft Skills 

Perseverance, teamwork and problem solving are some valuable soft skills that students can practice and develop as they work together in growing at school. This stimulating activity forces students to think critically, making timely decisions to solve the problems they encounter. Students are also very likely to experience some degree of failure (this is a good thing), learning to adapt, move forward, and "grow" from their mistakes.

Achieve Sustainability for the Future

As mentioned, a huge driver for teaching students about hydroponic systems is encouraging them to build a sustainable future. Traditional farming is limited by space, and is often linked to high greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water pollution and water waste. Hydroponic growing systems can be part of the solution.

Students will learn to respect nature and the environment around them, maximizing the resources they use in the process. Hydroponic systems use a nutrient-rich solution, can be setup in a small space, and can be utilized for year-round growing. They also include a reservoir to save excess water, while leveraging high-efficiency grow lights.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hydroponic Systems For Schools

Plants need four vital elements to thrive: water, oxygen, light, and nutrients. A successful hydroponic gardening system must supply an adequate amount of all four of these elements.

For those new to indoor hydroponic gardening systems, the options may seem confusing, but today’s manufacturers create hydroponic gardening units that automate and simplify much of the growing process.

Type and Experience Level

While all hydroponic systems supply plant roots with adequate water and nutrients, the method varies. All of the below-mentioned types of hydroponic gardening systems have strong points, but some are better suited for educational settings than commercial operations (and vice versa).

Two students cleaning a hydroponic system

To operate or teach on a commercial hydroponic growing system, the operator must have advanced experience in monitoring water flow, nutrient levels, and the water pump. Even a little system downtime can cause the plant roots to dry out and die.

Fortunately, with today’s consumer hydroponic growing systems, indoor and school gardening is much more straightforward. Systems like the popular Hydroponics Growing Center HGC-52 come with mesh pots and soilless medium (often coconut coir plugs) as well as a pump or mister that’s preset to turn on & off at optimal periods for circulating adequate water and keeping roots moist and healthy. Most of today’s in-home growing systems also feature grow lights on timers that provide the appropriate amount of light.

Available Space

With hydroponic systems, users can effortlessly grow more plants on a smaller footprint because the roots of plants don’t need to spread out to seek vital nutrients. A typical home hydroponic growing system can be as large as a few feet deep and wide or as small as a few inches deep & wide, depending on the type of hydroponic setup and the number of plants. The most common systems can fit on a kitchen countertop or a table and take up no more than 1-2 square feet of space.

Plant Types

When growing plants and herbs indoors, opt for dwarf and small plant varieties. The most appropriate types of plants for a home hydroponics growing system include herbs like dill, chives, and basil; leafy greens; bush-type cherry tomatoes; and peppers. Flowers also can be grown in hydroponic plant systems.

Temperature 

Consistent temperature is crucial to plant growth, so commercial hydroponic growers often have some kind of water heaters to regulate the water temperature, usually between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. In-home hydroponic growing systems don’t need the same temperature control level because they’re usually placed in a home where the temperature remains between 60-80 degrees.

Maintenance

Today’s automated hydroponic growing systems need minimal maintenance, although the grower should clean the unit thoroughly after each harvest before starting another herb or crop. Plants grow quickly in hydroponic growing systems; in fact, they may reach the end of their useful lives in just 3-4 months.

During the growing cycle, simply wipe down your unit’s surface with a clean, damp rag. If the local tap water has a lot of minerals, such as calcium and iron, then consider filling the reservoir with filtered water to reduce any mineral deposits in the tank.

The EVE Indoor Hydroponic Home Garden

The Eve is a modern sophisticated hydroponic garden tower specifically designed to fit in the tiniest of areas while blending in as a beautiful piece of furniture in your house. The Eve allows you to have an indoor garden in the comforts of your living room.

EVE garden in a school

With the EVE system’s 12 pockets, you can select from a variety of herbs & plants to grow anything from leafy greens and herbs to flowering plants! Some popular plants for hydroponic school gardening include lettuces, broccoli, strawberries, & herbs.

The Eve is extremely easy to use and takes just 10 minutes a week to keep your plants happy. You only need to add a small amount of water and nutrients once every two to three weeks. You can expect to pay between $3-5/month in electricity with this growing unit. 

Moistenland Hydroponics Growing System Starter Kit

The Moistenland Hydroponics plant Growing System offers you 12 powerful growing stations, yet it costs less than many six-station growing systems. The system has a water reservoir, an overhead beautiful LED grow light, and a small fan to circulate air through the plant foliage. 

This system comes with a 12-station grow deck and a see-through water level window, so with a glance, you can see how much water is available in the reservoir. The grow lights are on an 18-hours-on, 6-hours-off timer, & water circulates every 30 minutes. Buyers get 12 mesh pots, 12 coconut coir seed plugs, and 12 clear covers to protect their seeds until they sprout. Seeds & nutrient liquid are not included.

AeroGarden Bounty Elite Indoor Hydroponic Garden

The AeroGarden Bounty Elite Hydroponic growing System features nine growing stations and has a powerful LED grow light that extends about 24 inches above the grow deck to accommodate tall herbs and plants. The Bounty Elite’s grow light has dimming/brightening modes that simulate sunset & sunrise. 

It comes with nine beautiful pre-seeded pods: three basil, two parsley, & one pod each of thyme, chives, dill, and mint. No sowing is needed, just drop the pre-seeded pods into the mesh pots, insert them in the grow deck, & set the display-the system automatically operates the grow light & circulates the water. 

Hydroponics Growing Center HGC-52

With the Hydroponics Growing Center, you can teach your students about gardening and can teach basic botany concepts right in your classroom. This self-contained system has a grow light, water pump and two adjustable timers. 

Hydroponics growing center for classroom or school

You can easily customize the amount of light needed for plants and water your herbs and plants receive each day. Other accessories include a small plant tray with net pots, nutrient reservoir, submersible pump, and air stone. 

The durable frame is made of solid maple and maple veneers. A lower locking cabinet keeps the timers & air pump of this system protected. 

iDOO Indoor Herb Garden Kit, Hydroponics System

Those new to hydroponics are likely to succeed with the iDOO Indoor Herb Garden System, which offers 12 growing stations, an automatic LED grow light, and an automatic water recirculating system. The grow light features full-spectrum lamps that simulate natural sunlight, and users can choose between two different light modes (vegetable or fruit) for a custom light sequence that best suits the type of plant. 

The reservoir comes with a see-through water level window that lets users see at a glance when it’s time to add more water, and the system features an overhead fan that offers gentle air circulation to increase pollination and reduce foliage moisture. The automatic lights turn on for 16 hours per day, and the circulation pump cycles every 30 minutes. Liquid nutrients are included.

Miracle-Gro Indoor Growing System, LED Side Table

If space is an issue, this Miracle-Gro Indoor Growing System is built into a chic side table that complements the living room, family room, or even the bedroom. The Miracle-Gro system features four growing stations, which can be used to start plants from seeds or to accommodate four mature plants. 

On the tabletop’s underside, an integrated LED grow light automatically turns on for 14 hours per day to keep plants happy and healthy. The Miracle-Gro hydroponic system features a large 2-gallon reservoir and an automatic water recirculation pump. The unit syncs with a Bluetooth-capable smartphone, PC, or tablet to remotely configure the light and circulation system. Nutrients are included.

Get Growing NFT 288 Home & Classroom Bundle GGPNFT288

This very efficient and productive hydroponic growing system boasts more productivity per square foot than other hydroponic growing systems this size. This growing system has 288 plant sites, about 144 plant sites in finishing channels - the 2 weeks before you harvest; & 144 plant sites in nursery channels - the 2 weeks before finishing. And has over 300 sites for growing plant seeds into seedlings (also called propagation).

lettuce growing in hydroponics system

This hydroponic bundle has got everything you need based on AmHydro's 30+ years of plant growing experience. In addition to the hydroponic system, not-so-obvious items like nutrients, seeds, spare parts & even a scrub brush are included.

VegeBox Smart LED Hydroponics Growing System

If you’re looking for a simple and smart hydroponic garden for your kitchen, the VegeBox Smart LED hydroponic growing system is both affordable and flexible. A standout in our book is the LED grow light panel that provides everything your plants will need to produce and flourish. The four-color light system helps improve photosynthesis, flavor, and overall plant production.

This system accommodates 12 different plants and comes with all you’ll need to get started except for seeds. It includes 20 planting baskets, 18 sponges, eight caps, the cultivation box, a non-woven bag, a measuring cup, and tweezers. The light panel is adjustable to be more efficient as your plants grow in height. 

Conclusion

A hydroponic gardening system is a phenomenal teaching tool that empowers students to take control of their food sources, while also teaching valuable gardening and non-gardening lessons.

As the industry continues to shift to hydroponics, it's imperative that educators convey and teach the benefits of this artful growing method to students. 

Educational Gardening Systems from SproutRite

If you'd like more information on our educational gardening systems, please email us at info@sproutrite.com or call us at 833-777-6882.