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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Extension Today: Home Hydroponics

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Grow your very own fresh vegies, or herbs, inside this winter? Most definitely! You really can grow fresh vegetables at home while the snow flies outside. It takes a little bit of preparation, but it can be time well-spent when you get to top your next sandwich with a fresh juicy tomato slice without heading to the grocery store. First, spend a little time setting up the proper equipment. Then add light, plant food and water; and in just a few short weeks, you can put homegrown tomatoes, lettuce, basil, and other tasty garden treats on your table.

This is a great way to have more control over the nutrition and irrigation of your home-grown crops, and that can mean shorter growing times indoors as well. The scale is up to you – larger or more technical equipment equals more investment, but also more homegrown items on your table.

We have many free fact sheets available on Ohioline. Check out these resources for research-based tips and techniques for optimizing your home hydroponic and other growing systems.

What do you need to get started? The proper growth chamber and lighting, water, nutrients, soilless media, seeds or plants, and the desire to learn. 

Experts in the Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) spend a lot of time working on ways to grow – and continually improve the growth – of many vegetables. Their work benefits you at home, as well as many greenhouse growers and indoors farmers around the world. Like we said... Juicy tomatoes in the winter? Thank hydroponics. Hydroponics is just one way to grow things quickly indoors. It's not just for tomatoes. And there are many benefits to using this process.

Check out this Chow Line item about how you too can Grow your own veggies even without access to a garden.

Ohio has a thriving greenhouse business, and many of Ohio's commerical greenhouse veggies are produced by hydroponics. Again, the benefits are many – from conserving water and limiting nutrient loss, to more control over the entire growing environment. Read on to learn more about Summer in Winter: Ohio's Red-Hot Greenhouse Industry.

CFAES is doing our part to improve the industry as a whole, educate the future researchers and growers needed to help the industry continue to thrive, and provide the research knowledge needed to create modern, sustainable food production technology. We are making significant investments in the infrastructure at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Columbus campus. Our work at Waterman can serve as a hub for science and public engagement related to the food system, agriculture, and natural resources. There are many benefits of controlled environment agriculture. Learn about the Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex under construction right now.

There's always something to learn! Registration is open for the annual Greenhouse Management Workshop to be presented virtually by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) on Jan. 26-28, 2022. The workshop will focus on integrated management of insects and diseases. Learn from experts with CFAES, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, and industry.

If you are a student at Ohio State main campus, you can take an Introduction to Hydroponics class offered by the CFAES Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. There are several related classes offered as well.

And in spring 2020, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (Ohio State ATI) announced that its greenhouse students can also learn in a hydroponic crop production course. The course is available to students in the greenhouse management and greenhouse engineering technology specializations.