Introduction to Hydroponics

MATSUDO, JAPAN - JUNE 02:  Leaf vegitables are...
What is hydroponics gardening?
Derived from the Latin Hydro, meaning water and Geoponics, meaning the study of agriculture, hydroponics is the science of growing plants using a solution of suitable nutrients instead of soil. Most types of plant can be grown very successfully using hydroponics.

In conventional gardening the plants are grown in soil and take their nourishment from the chemical compounds contained within that soil. The hydroponic gardener replaces the soil with a balanced, nutrient rich, solution that the plant can absorb with ease. Because the plant does not have to work so hard to absorb the available nutrients it saves energy which can then be utilised for stronger growth.

Because of this energy saving, plants grown using hydroponic methods outperform conventionally produced plants in both growth and fruit production. Due to the consistent results and good profit margins, more and more commercial growers are turning to hydroponic production. Totally organic production is possible using specially designed organic nutrients, giving excellent, inexpensive, vegetables and herbs.

There are several different types of hydroponic system, but all share the same basic principle of supplying the plants with nutrients and water. The most common systems are:

Water Culture, Aquaculture, or Nutriculture
This is a Hydroponics system in which the plant roots are immersed in water containing a complex mixture of dissolved nutrients. A simple example of water culture is the Hyacinth bulb growing in a wine goblet shaped glass, its roots growing down into the hollow goblet stem.

Aggregate Culture
In this system a material such as sand, gravel, or marbles supports the plant roots. It is important to note that the support material, unlike soil, does not absorb nutrient. It merely traps it in the spaces between the grains or stones allowing the plant roots to freely take up the liquid.

Continuous Flow Hydroponics Systems
In these types of system the nutrient solution flows constantly over the plant roots. This is the most commonly used system for commercial production.

Aeroponics
This system is one in which the plant roots hang in the air and are misted regularly with a nutrient solution.

There are a number of pre-packaged hydroponics systems available for both the commercial grower and hobbyist. Individuals, who lack building skills, or are inexperienced plant growers, should consider one of these kits as an introduction to hydroponics, a fascinating and challenging hobby. Similar systems can be built at lower cost, however, by those of you who have the expertise.

The requirements for healthy, strong, disease-free plants are covered in my next article entitled — What do your plants need?

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2 Responses to “Introduction to Hydroponics”

  1. hydroponics says:

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  2. admin says:

    Thanks for this 😀