Hydroponic Gardening

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 19, 2015)

What is hydroponic gardening? Simply put, it's gardening without soil. The word hydroponic is a combination of the Greek words hydro and ponos; hydro means water, and ponos means labor. Soil less gardening is not a new concept; hydroponic gardening was used by the ancient Babylonians, Aztecs, and Chinese; in 1627, Sir Francis Bacon published a book about growing plants without using soil; and German botanists perfected mineral nutrient solutions for soil less culture of plants in the 1860s. Most recently, scientists have experimented with hydroponic gardening in the 1950s through today, and have perfected the method for crop production with amazing results.

The premise of hydroponic gardening is simple: No matter the growing method, all plants need water, oxygen, light, carbon dioxide, and minerals in order to grow and produce. Instead of obtaining those requirements from the nutrients contained in soil, plants grown hyroponically simply acquire some of those needs from an alternate source.

What makes a plant grow? Nutrients—and not soil—make a plant grow. Recognizing that fact has made hydroponic gardening possible. When you give the plant roots the liquid nutrients it needs to grow, the roots do not need to grow in search of the nutrients. So, instead of wasting its energy probing for food and water, the plant can focus that energy to serve its purpose: grow the product above the root level.

While it may sound complicated to have a hydroponic garden at home, it is quite attainable. There are quite a few advantages to gardening hydroponically at home:

  • Hydroponic gardens need less space than soil gardens. Because the root systems of plants grown hydroponically are significantly smaller than those grown in soil, plants can be planted closer together, resulting in more plant growth, with a larger crop yield.
  • Soil contains diseases and pests. Hydroponically grown plants are fed exactly what the plant needs to grow, without harmful ingredients found in soil, so you will produce healthier vegetables.
  • Since most hydroponic gardens are cultivated within a controlled environment indoors, you can grow vegetables all year long, even during winter. And since your garden is indoors, varmints cannot dig up your garden.
  • You can plant your hydroponic garden anywhere you can provide a supply of light, water, and the proper nutrients. If you live in a high rise apartment building, use a spare bedroom or extra bathroom for your hydroponic garden.

Fertilize your plants with hydroponic-specific products. You can find prepackaged hydroponic growing systems at a nursery, gardening center, or home improvement store. Whether you want to grow plants as a hobby, or for commercial use, there are kits suited to your level of building expertise. Grow a garden hydroponically this year and enjoy your produce all year long.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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