Let’s Get Hydroponic

Ever wanted to grow your own plants? Fresh veggies in your own home may be easier to master than you ever thought possible with the help of hydroponic gardening.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants, such as vegetables, fruits and herbs, in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. Rather than using soil, plants’ roots are supported using an inert medium like perlite, clay pellets or peat moss, allowing the roots direct contact with a nutrient solution and access to oxygen. The use of the growing medium aerates and supports the plant and channels the water and nutrients.

The easiest and most common hydroponic system is Deepwater Culture, or the reservoir system. With this method, the plant’s roots are suspended in a nutrient solution with an aquarium air pump oxygenating it to keep the roots from drowning. Other types of systems include Nutrient Film Technique (a continuous flow of nutrients over the roots) and aeroponics (where roots are suspended in the air and misted with nutrient solution).

Benefits of growing plants hydroponically include:

Speed.

A hydroponic plant can have a growth rate 30% to 50% faster than a soil plant grown under the same conditions.

Yield.

Plants grown this way often have a larger yield. Scientists believe the extra oxygen in the growing medium stimulates root growth.

Environment.

Hydroponic gardening can benefit the environment as well. It uses less water, as the water is constantly reused. It also requires little to no use of pesticides, and removes any risk of topsoil erosion, as soil isn’t even used!

Though hydroponics has a lot of benefits, one of its largest disadvantages is the cost. Compared to soil gardening, it’s more expensive due to the cost of equipment and nutrients. Depending on the type of system you use and the amount of plants, it can also take up a lot of space. However, if you’re interested in trying hydroponic gardening, research what plants and method work best for you.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from www.hydroponics.net/learn/hydroponic_gardening_for_beginners.php and www.fullbloomhydroponics.net/hydroponic-systems-101/