General In The Garden

Hydroponic Gardening 101

hydroponic gardening

For those of you who do not like digging your pretty nails into the dirt, then there is another gardening solution for you. It is known as hydroponics. So for those of you who are wondering what this new system of gardening is, let us break it down.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is using a growth solution without soil in which vegetation can live and thrive. Hydro from the Greek ‘Hydor’ means water, many people have the misconception that the solution is in fact water. While it is true that water can be a solution, but it does not necessarily always have to be that. Hydroponic gardening then can be done in any inert growth medium or nutrient solution medium, such as sand and perlite. Basically it has to be anything other than natural soil or time and tested potting mix.

Is it really complicated?
The name may sound pretty complicated, but in reality, the method is not all that tough and complicated. In reality, hydroponic methods are considered extreamely simple. Even a child will be able to do it.

What are Hydroponic gardening systems?

Hydroponic gardening systems have been described as  structures, such as trays, towers, and A-frames, which will hold the medium. This is to ensure that plants have the capability of growing up properly. Hydroponics gardening systems can be basically divided into two types:

Liquid Cultures or Solutions
The plants tend to grow directly into a solution which has been filled with nutrients.

An Aggregate Culture
In an aggregate culture, such as sand, gravel, or small stones, the roots thrive in the media.
Regardless of which system you choose, both have been known to supply plants with the three most important things they need to grow: organic or chemical nutrient oxygen and moisture.

In addition, hydroponic gardening systems can also be classified as either active or passive. An active hydroponics system moves the nutrient solution. This is usually done with the help of a pump. Alternatively, passive hydroponics system rely on the capillary action of the growing medium or a wick.

The nutrient solution is absorbed by the wick or any other medium and then passed along the roots. It has been known that passive systems are considered to be too wet. Also, they do not supply the plants with too much oxygen to the root system in order to optimize the growth rates.

Hydroponic gardening systems can also be classified as recovery and non-recovery.

Recovery or recirculating systems tend to use the nutrient solution again. On the other hand, non-recovery means that the nutrient solution is applied to the medium. After that, it cannot be recovered.

However, there are different types of systems  available that suit to different preferences. These include ebb and flow, drip, nutrient film technique, aeroponics, water culture, and wick.

What time commitment do I have to invest?

Hydroponic gardening takes some time just like other hobbies. The whole process of hydroponics, then you will need some extra time. This is because you will need to learn a little of the hydroponic methods before you commit yourself. Not much time does not have to be spent in weeding, like in the case of traditional gardening, some time will have to be invested in the maintenance of your garden. Also, you may need to replace the nutrients and then harvest again.

Which plants are suitable for growing?

hydroponic gardeningSimply the best part about this system is that you will be able to grow any kind of house plants, vegetables, or fruit you wish. Generally, ‘solution systems’ are best for vegetation which have shallow roots. For example; greens with large leaves like spinach, lettuce, herbs, and radishes. Aggregate systems are generally known to be better for veg with larger roots, such as beetroot, or plants which are heavy on top, like cucumbers and squash.

How much yield can I expect?

If you ensure the right conditions (Light, nutrients etc.) the yields and growth rates have been known to be higher than traditional gardening.  

Nutrients
Most of the principles that are applied for soil fertilizers can also be applied to hydroponic fertilizers. A hydroponic nutrient solution contains all the elements that the plant would normally get from the soil. Like soil, hydroponic systems can be fertilized with chemical or organic nutrients.

Cost
The project of building up a hydroponic gardening system can be considered quite cheap, if you collect parts slowly. In addition, most of the materials can be easily found. So you will not have to break your piggy bank in order to adopt this new gardening habit

The Benefits of Hydroponics

Hydroponic gardening has many advantages over traditional ‘soil gardening’. These are as follows:

• Under the same conditions, hydroponically grown plants can grow 30-50% quicker than equivalent soil grown plant
• The additional oxygen which is found in the medium stimulates faster root development.
• Vegetation with extra amounts of oxygen within the plants root systems allows faster absorption of nutrients
• In a hydroponic system, the plant does not have to search in the soil the nutrients that it requires
• Hydroponic plants need less energy to locate; absorb nutrients
• Saved energy is then used by the plant to develop quicker as well as yield greater produce.
• Hydroponically grown vegetation faces less problems with insects, disease, and fungus’s

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