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What is Hydroponics?

What Can You Grow Using Hydroponics?

What is Aquaponics?

The Kratky Method of Hydroponics

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What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is the agricultural practice of growing plants in nutrient rich water, without the use of soil. Soilless gardening and farming are not new concepts. The Aztecs practiced hydroponics. They floated seeded rafts made from reeds out onto the lake. The seeds sprouted, sending roots into the nutrient rich waters. The plants grew on the rafts, anchored by the reedy grid.

Today, you can have a hydroponics garden on your windowsill, in a room in your home, on your patio or porch. There are numerous hydroponics systems, all based on the concept of plant roots drawing nutrients directly from the water.

Seeds are started in an inert growing medium such as rock wool or grow plugs that are set in water. As they sprout, a diluted nutrient solution is added to the water. Once you have seedlings, you can transplant them to a hydroponics system.

The seedlings are anchored in a growing medium such as clay pellets within net pots. The net pots are anchored within the system of choice. The roots continue to grow, fed by oxygenated, nutrient rich water.

Essentially, a hydroponics system will have a reservoir that contains the water. The reservoir can be a separate container feeding several systems or it can be built within the system itself. The water may be pumped into the plantís net pot via tubing and washes over the plant roots. The reservoir may be within the system itself, and the roots grow within the water, the water being oxygenated by an air stone.

The basic principle of hydroponics is plants need nutrients, light and air to grow. Soil is a medium that anchors plants and stores nutrients. The roots must search out both water and the nutrients stored in the soil. In hydroponics, the nutrients are delivered directly to the roots. As long as there is sufficient light and the water is oxygenated, the plants will grow in the nutrient rich water, without soil.

Article copyrighted: Shelly McRae
Reproduction of all or part by permission only. Contact shelly@justaz.com