Backyard gardeners as well as horticulturalists are accustomed to getting grungy. Applying plant foods, pesticide sprays and rooting around in the garden soil is just a part of the job. Plants are planted divided and re-planted. They do all this for the rewards of producing beautiful and healthy plants and flowers to look at and consume. But let's say you could acquire those values without coming into contact with any dirt at all?
That is what hydroponics is centered on.
Hydroponics is the science and practice associated with growing plants without the need for garden soil. Water is the most common medium used instead. There are other technologically appropriate meanings, to be sure. As far as the average hobbyist gardener is concerned though, that's pretty much there is to it.
You might wonder just how hydroponics gardening is possible. Don't plants and flowers require soil for nutrition, heat, support, water and all of the other things they need to grow and reproduce? Not necessarily.
Water is an essential ingredient for plants. They do not always need to get their water from the soil. Even in nature, several plants and flowers grow in sand, gravel or even on the surface or underneath a body of water.
Plants and flowers need some heat energy which usually comes from the sun, or from other heat sources within their natural environment. But soil warmed by the sun's rays is not the only method to get that. Direct sunlight still works on leaves, exactly the same way it does for plants and flowers in soil. Exposing the top part of the plant to direct sunlight will allow the natural and crucial process, photosynthesis, to occur. There are however exceptions to this rule. Some plants survive and reproduce with no light, although they still require some energy to drive biochemical reactions.
Most plants that interest the home garden enthusiast or hobbyist do require physical support. Growing them in soil is one common and efficient way to accomplish this. This is partially why plants have evolved wind resistant stems, as well as roots that spread. Those species of plants that didn't evolve in this way likely died off thousand or millions of years ago. You can provide artificial support for your plants by use of ice cream sticks, chop sticks and numerous other methods.
Undoubtedly, the most important element of growing plants is using the proper nutrition. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium along with a host of trace elements (zinc, copper, iron among others) are crucial to plant development. Taking in those elements from the surrounding soil is, of course, one usual way of acquiring them. You will find, however, alternative techniques in which the nutrients can be absorbed by the plants.
Through hydroponics, the roots are totally submerged in water and nutrients are regularly fed through that medium. There are others. Some hydroponically grown plants are housed within an enclosure that maintains moisture well. In this container the roots are sprayed with a mister which contains a nutrient solution. This crosses into the gray area referred to as aeroponics.
There aren't many limitations when it comes to what you are able grow with hydroponics. This consists of growing strawberries, lettuce, orchids, tomatoes along with a host of other fruiting and non-fruiting plants. Most soil-based plants can thrive with hydroponics if they are taken care of. That effort can be fun and instructive. It can also produce beautiful or nutritious plants without having many of the negatives of soil-grown plants.
As far as the average hobbyist gardener is concerned though, that's pretty much there is to it.
Sure To Grow introduces their new hydroponic inserts
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