I first heard of hydroponic farming in Qatar back in 2020. The onset of the pandemic led to the popularity of home-based activities including backyard farming, thus the re-birth of our very own plantitos and plantitas, which is a Filipino word-play for plant+titos (uncles), and titas (aunties). And while there were two types of plants that boomed during that period: the edible plants and the decorative plants – raising the latter became a more popular pastime endeavor. But for some, due to the rising cost of many food items, growing vegetables, and other edible plants are more practical.
So when we were invited to a friend’s house in Al Hilal to check out their own hydroponic garden, we were so amazed to see the lush greens and the technology they used to maintain it. Simply put, hydroponic is a gardening technology without the use of soil. Other textbooks also call it aquaculture, nutriculture, soilless culture, or tank farming, since it involves the cultivation of plants in nutrient-enriched water. And that’s very interesting, especially for Qatar where farming spaces are limited and rich soil is not abundant.
During our visit, Mr. Jaecim Adaya and his wife Misty, gave us a tour of the garden and the basic concept of growing a plant in a hydroponic setup. Seeds are initially planted in a small plastic cup container with cocopeat (a natural fibre particles made out of coconut husks which is a 100% natural growing medium – the substitute for soil). This has to be kept moist by constant watering and by putting it under direct sunlight for a few hours every day. When the sprouts grow and the roots also begin to grow in length, they will now be transferred to a styrofoam container half-filled with a mixture of water and plant nutrients. Vegetable plants like kangkong (water spinach) can easily grow in 20-25 days, pechay (snow cabbage) can be ready for harvest within 25-30 days after sowing, and lettuce grows within 40-45 days period.
What’s also amazing about hydroponic farming is that it is a concept that is not difficult to maintain or even start. But learning the basics and keeping the discipline is necessary in order to grow a successful hydroponic garden. Jaecim also shared how he first started hydroponic in 2020, and failed. But his interest and determination pushed him to try again in October 2022 until he was able to grow his first set of ready-to-harvest vegetables.
Learning the basics is very important which is why he also shared with us that he is also planning to conduct a sharing session for those who are interested to start their own hydroponic garden. Several plans are also on the drawing board and he will gladly share it to everyone through their Facebook Page – Hydroponics Gardening For Family and More. So make sure to follow them for future announcements.