You can grow almost anything using hydroponics, especially tasty vegetables. In a world with lettuce recalls and dangerous pesticides, it can be fun and healthy to grow your own vegetables hydroponically.
What vegetables can you grow with hydroponics? Below is our list of 5 favorites:
The most common hydroponically grown vegetable is lettuce. This is because lettuce is quite easy to grow for these reasons:
- Grows quickly
- Low maintenance
- Grows in any hydroponic system
- Harvest leaves as it grows
Lettuce is also a very common vegetable of course since you can make salads, or add it as a topping to almost any sandwich. If you’d like to give lettuce a shot, check out our How to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce post for some great tips.
Try growing any type of lettuce! Hydroponic growers have had success growing looseleaf, butterhead and romaine lettuce varieties. Growers enjoy growing lettuce with almost any type of hydroponic system, but mostly deepwater culture/the kratky method. One benefit to hydroponic lettuce is that you don’t need to wash them since there’s no risk of pesticides or other similar issues.
It should also be noted that lettuce can be very profitable if you can make and sell enough at a farmer’s market or local grocery store. We’ve included lettuce in our breakdown of the most profitable hydroponic plants.
Is it a fruit or a vegetable? We’re #teamvegetable so we decided to include it in our list. Here’s some notes about hydroponic tomato growing:
- Doesn’t need much space
- Will need ample lighting
Hydroponic tomatoes are known to grow 25% faster than tomatoes grown using traditional soil methods.There are several types of tomatoes and each of them can be grown well using a hydroponic system. Tomato plants grow vertically so this could be a big plus if you’re short on horizontal space. If you want to give tomatoes a try, check out our How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes article for more in-depth information.
Hydroponic tomatoes are fairly easy to grow, but please note that they do require a good amount of light. If you’re not able to use natural lighting, look at purchasing an LED grow light for your hydroponic system. The good news is you can find one of these grow lights for cheaper than you think, so don’t let that hold you back from trying your hand at growing some tasty tomatoes.
Another great addition to your salad or sandwich are tasty hydroponic cucumbers.
- Fast growth
- High yield
- Loves light and warmth
Cucumber plants also love water, which make them perfect for a hydroponic growing setup, since there’s no soil and only nutrient rich water. With enough attention and help – hydroponic cucumbers can provide you with super fast growth and lots of tasty cucumbers.
For an even healthier alternative to your hydroponic lettuce, spinach is also a great veggie to grow hydroponically
- Doesn’t need much light
- Super healthy
Spice things up with some hydroponic peppers. There’s a nice range of peppers you can grow including jalapenos, habanero, green peppers, sweet peppers and more.
- Similar care to tomatoes
- 2-3 months to mature
Hydroponic peppers are excellent veggies to compliment almost any dish. Check out this article if you want to try your hand at growing green hydroponic peppers.
Are hydroponic vegetables healthy?
Absolutely! According to Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, he had this to say:
“I’ve seen hydroponic producers who have tested their leafy greens for key nutrients, and the amounts fall well within normal limits for their crop and are sometimes even higher.”
You can expect the same nutritional value in your hydroponic vegetables when compared to traditional, soil-grown vegetables.
Quick tip: Cover your water so that mosquitoes or other bugs can’t get in.
The above tip is important because there’s a misconception that hydroponic vegetables and other produce are all safe. The truth is that some insects like mosquitoes can carry diseases. Since bugs are drawn to water, hydroponics can be susceptible to these insects if not monitored closely.
How do you grow hydroponic vegetables?
We go pretty in depth with this in our lettuce and tomatoe how-to articles above, but here is a quick breakdown of the steps:
- Choose your vegetable and purchase the seeds
- Germinate the seeds – plant the seed into a seed plug to start the growth.
- Transport to hydroponic setup – Build out your hydroponic setup with all the parts including a nutrient reservoir, nutrient-rich water, possibly a grow light and more.
- Monitor growth – maintain ideal temperature and humidity levels.
- Harvest and enjoy!
Growing your own food using hydroponics is a great way to eat clean food that is ready and available for less money than store bought food.
Can you grow vegetables with aquaponics?
Yes! Aquaponics is very similar to hydroponics, except the nutrient-rich water solution uses the assistance of fish. The best part of aquaponic vegetables is that you get more food! With an aquaponic system, you have the ability to harvest fish as well as your vegetables. This means you can create legitimate meals all from your own system.
The fish in your system will typically breed and create more fish which allows you to harvest your fish from time to time. Grilled tilapia with veggies and a side salad – how good does that sound?? The best part of it all is it’s from your own self-sustaining growing system.
Our top 5 vegetables for hydroponics are simply our opinion, and we know there’s many more great veggie choices for your garden.
More great veggies to grow hydroponically:
- Green onions
- Beans (green beans, pole beans, pinto beans, lima beans)
- (& MORE!)
There’s nothing better than growing and eating your own food, and through hydroponics you’re able to do this all year round. Growing your own hydroponic vegetables is both fun, and a great way to make sure you’re eating healthier.
You can grow them commercially and sell your crops, or you can have a simple setup at home and maybe make it a family activity for the kids too. No matter what, hydroponics are fun and veggies are healthy so you can’t lose either way.