When most people think of gardening, they think of plants growing in dirt, but this isn’t the only way to grow plants. Hydroponics is another method to grow plants that doesn’t use soil. Many of you might be wondering how can you grow a plant without soil? Well, it is quite easy to grow plants without soil. To explain this, lets first explain how plants grow. Plants receive the bulk of their nutrients from the soil and these nutrients are basic minerals and vitamins.
When growing a plant without soil some type of nutrient free medium is used to hold the plant in place and the actual food and vitamins are feed to the plant via a complete fertilizer. I use the term complete fertilizer because most fertilizers are designed for plants that grow in soil, so they are missing a few key vitamins that the soil is expected to provide.
There are dozens of ways to construct a hydroponic garden. There are passive systems that do not use electronic pumps and bubble machines, and the plants simply grow roots that are submerged into the water. The Kratky method is a good example of this and is being used by commercial lettuce and vegetable leaf gardens.
Other methods use a recirculating pump to aerate the water to provide plants an abundance of oxygen and water. Some use misters that directly spray water on the roots of plants.
So, why would anyone want to do hydroponic gardening. There are several benefits to using hydroponics and I will list then bellow:
(1) Hydroponic plants grow faster
(2) Hydroponic gardens have fewer insects
(3) Hydroponic gardens grow bigger plants
Plants grown in hydroponic gardens grow faster and larger than plants that are grow in soil. How is this possible? This is possible because when plants grow in soil, their roots have to stretch and search for water. In a hydroponic system, plants always have access to well oxygenated water, this allows them to grow at a faster rate.
With hydroponics, you also deal with fewer insects and diseases. The soil that plants are grown in is often a major cause of infestation. The carries insect larvae and gives them the perfect environment to grow, you do not have this with hydroponics.
Another benefit of hydroponic gardening is that they are easier to maintain. You don’t have to carry around bags of dirt or deal with weeds. It is even possible to automate the water and feeding process so that your garden is self-sufficient.
Is hydroponic gardening better than growing in soil? This is a difficult question to ask. Hydroponics does have some major benefits over growing over soil, which we listed above. Better is such a value judgment. I will only say that hydroponics requires less maintenance.
As you can see, hydroponic gardening is a great alternative to growing plants in soil. It is easier to maintain, plants grow faster and bigger in hydroponic gardening. Give this method a try and you will be pleasantly surprise at how well it works.