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General: Hydroponics

Updated: Jun 18, 2018

A quick outline of growing hydroponically!

by Nicholas Tan

Many gardeners are beginning to switch to hydroponic gardening for many different reasons.  These types of gardens are small, can easily be grown inside and are perfect for most vegetables, especially the red tomato. 

The equipment required for hydroponic gardening does not have to be expensive and it's relatively easy to manage. Hydroponic gardening is the growing of plants without soil, in other words, 'dirtless gardening'.  There are many methods of growing hydroponically, most of which work better than regular soil gardening because it is easier to give the plant exactly what it needs when it needs it.  Plants will only receive what you give them; therefore you will be able to regulate the pH, nutrients, nutrient strength, water amount, and light amount.  This makes it imperative that you research the kind of plants you will be growing so that you know what they need to survive.

Hydroponics is only as difficult as you make it.  It can be complicated if computers with sensors are used to control water cycles, nutrients, and light for the plants.  However, it can also be as simple as a hand watered bucket with a single plant.  The normal home hydroponics system is usually made up of a few basic things: a growing tray, light (natural or artificial), a reservoir, a water controlled pump for watering (or some type of watering equipment), and some form of air pump to give oxygen to the nutrients. The growing medium used in hydroponics can be any number of things, such as rockwool, perlite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand, vermiculite, or even air. 

There are kits already assembled for sale in gardening supply stores.There are certain micro-nutrients that are necessary for healthy plant growth including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, cobalt, boron, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.  These nutrients are absolutely essential to plants and if missing could cause the food to not be as healthy and in some cases even cause health problems for those who eat it.  It is very important that you use a quality fertilizer. Another important aspect of hydroponics that must be closely regulated is the pH balance.  When the pH balance varies the plants will lose the ability to absorb nutrients that it needs.  The ease with which the pH in hydroponics gardening is tested and controlled give it a huge advantage over regular dirt gardening. Even though there are hundreds of different variations, Wick, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, Drip, N.F.T., and Aeroponic are the six most basic types of Hydroponics gardening systems. 

Hydroponics gardening is easy, affordable, and you can have fresh produce, flowers, herbs & spices all year long!