Soil-less hydroponics farming is gaining popularity in India. While several people are wondering how to grow vegetables using this method, getting into the hydroponics market isn’t as simple as starting a terrace garden.

Dr Praveen Singh, who has over two decades of experience in the hydroponics and urban gardening sector, shares five simple tips to help you get started.

Select the right crop: Dr Praveen suggests growing crops depending on the season and after studying market demands such as analysing nearby market demands and the economic value of the crops.

Identify the infrastructure: One requires a greenhouse, growing systems, nutrients, and a microclimate controller to grow the crops. “These aspects must be well thought out, depending on the size of the farm and the budget.”

Convert produce to commodity: One should not only focus only on selling the produce directly in bulk but also think of innovative marketing methods.

For example, instead of selling lettuce by kilos, it can be value-added by selling it as a salad mix along with other vegetables, he suggests.

Have essential skills to manage the farm: Depending on the size of the farm, it is essential to have 1-2 persons to maintain cleanliness and other processes.

Be patient: “The process of launching a hydroponics business may seem long but it is important to stay patient. The initial months are the gestation period before the venture becomes profitable,” he says.

Dr Praveen advises those who wish to start a hydroponics business to test the desired crops and grow them as a pilot project first.

Once the crops show a success rate at the pilot level, the owner can expand into a commercial cropping set up.