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Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic gardening has become an increasingly popular medium for growing plants indoors. This popularity is largely due to the technique’s high level of efficiency and much higher yield. The name “hydroponic” is derived from Latin and essentially means “working water”. This name aptly describes the technique, as the growing process is entirely water-based.

Hydroponic gardening, Basic Hydroponic Garden

Basic Hydroponic Garden—J Wynia (Flickr.com)

What is Hydroponic Gardening?

The hydroponic gardening technique broadly refers to the practice of growing plants without soil. This is most often accomplished by cultivating plants in a nutrient-enhanced water solution; however, the term also includes the practice of growing plants in alternate mediums like bark-based mixes, gravel or perlite.

The science of hydroponics has advanced quite dramatically since its inception, and there are now a number of growing techniques used amongst hydroponic gardeners. Techniques aside, however, there are two primary components that are essential to hydroponic gardening.

The first component of hydroponics is environment. For a successful hydroponic garden, choose a relatively controlled area, as environmental stability is vital.

The second aspect, obviously, is the nutrient solution itself. Growing must occur in a soil-less environment, where the plants derive the necessary nutrients from a nutrient-rich water-based solution.

Growing Leafy Vegetables With Hydroponics

Why Choose Hydroponic Gardening?

If you’ve spent much time using traditional gardening techniques, you may be wondering if it’s worth your while to make the switch to hydroponics. While the initial set up may take some work, and you may face a bit of a learning curve, most hydroponic gardeners would agree that this technique far surpasses most traditional ones.

Hydroponic growers have found that through maintaining a controlled environment, they are able to avoid pesticides and prevent many plant diseases. The hydroponic gardener also no longer has to spend time tilling, weeding, and watering. With the right setup, many even find that their crops produce bigger, better and tastier fruits and vegetables. Many farmers and gardeners have now made the switch and are growing most – if not all – of their crops hydroponically.

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Hydroponic Systems and Techniques

As mentioned earlier, a number of hydroponic systems and techniques have been developed by the growing community. Each system has its merits, and it’s important to choose the correct system for the plants you plan to grow. Following are some of the most common techniques for hydroponic gardening:

  • Drip systems are the most common form of hydroponic gardening. The system is designed for larger plants and is quite easy to use. A nutrient solution is pumped through lines and dripped onto the base of each plant. In many cases, the water solution is recycled and recirculated.
  • Ebb and flow systems work in a similar fashion, but instead of providing a steady drip, the system floods the growing trays with nutrient water which then drains back into the reservoir. This is a fairly versatile system and it works for a variety of plant types.
  • Water culture systems are perfect for small to medium sized plants like herbs and lettuces. With this method, the plant roots are actually suspended in the nutrient solution. The water is kept well-oxygenated with a simple air pump.
  • Wick systems are the simplest form of hydroponic gardening, as they don’t use any kind of water pump. The nutrient solution is drawn up from a reservoir into the growing medium through one or more wicks. Air is kept oxygenated with a simple air pump and air stone.
  • Aeroponic and nutrient film systems are at the high-tech end of the spectrum. They require no growing medium, as the plant roots are suspended in the air. NFT systems provide a constant flow of nutrient solution through a pump and tube, while aeroponic systems spray a fine mist every few minutes.

Related Sites:

Cebu Hydroponic Garden the Hydro Garden

About.com Hydroponics




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