The IKEA Växer series is an entry-level hydroponic set. Sure, hydroponics can get very complicated, but that doesn’t need to be the case. In simple terms, seeds are germinated in water, and then left to grow in a growing medium (in this case gravel, but often also clay pellets). The roots of the plant are left to sit in a nutrient-rich solution which feeds the plants directly, while LED grow lights replicate the suns rays, and allow the plants to photosynthesize.
I’ve shied away from hydroponics up until now for a few reasons –
- It’s expensive to set up
- It takes up a lot of energy
- It seems really, really complicated
- I eat organic, and this is chemical based
But with the Växer kit IKEA seems to have addressed most of my concerns.
Is it expensive? When compared with the kit from other manufacturers, no it isn’t. The baskets and trays are a lot cheaper, and also more aesthetic. This is clearly designed to be on show, and to be functional. The seeds themselves were 3chf for 3 packs, which runs to about $1 per 50 plants, which is very inexpensive.
Does it take up a lot of energy? Again, not really. Sure you have to consider the energy and materials needed to manufacture it, and to ship it, but those would be replicated by any other plant pots or hydroponics sets that I would buy elsewhere. The LED lights themselves are only 10w each, and will run on a negligible amount of electricity, especially in my case as my house has solar panels which will, in my case, offset it completely.
Isn’t it really complicated? Look, I know IKEA get a lot of stick for their instructions, but in reality everything I have ever bought from them has been quick to assemble from easy to follow instructions. This is no different. Sure, it is a simplified form of hydroponics (more akin to Kratky than the traditional pump and air brick method), but it is still hydroponics and will hopefully produce delicious results.
But what about the chemicals? Yep. You got me. This is a real problem for me. I wouldn’t dream of putting anything other than organic fertilizers in my garden, so the concept of putting chemical based nutrients into my indoor setup seems a little ridiculous. Well, here is the compromise I’ve made myself. I’m going to grow the first batch or two with the Växer liquid fertilizer. I’m going to get used to how the system works, and then I’m going to switch it up and move to something like BioBizz (an organic liquid fertilizer). So yeah, chemicals, but only temporarily.
Now, a lot of the reviews that I read online mentioned a fundamental flaw with the system – the fact the lights couldn’t be adjusted. Ideally, when using grow lights, you want to be able to move them further from the plant as it grows. With that in mind, you’ll notice that I’ve not bought the frame that comes with the system (the Krydda). I plan to MacGyver something out of a shelving unit and will report back once that’s done.
Today, just to get us started, I soaked the grow plugs, put on the seeds, and left them in a warm place to germinate. This should take around 5 days, and once that’s done I’ll be back with an update on the next steps with the IKEA Växer hydroponic set.
Has anyone else used this set? Or got any insight into hydroponics growing? I’d love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment below.