The definition of hydroponic gardening “the cultivation of plants in water” or “the cultivation of plants without soil.” Hydroponic gardening works great for any types of plants, including flowers and vegetables. Sometimes called “water gardening”, hydroponic gardening should not become confused with water gardens which are small ponds with Koi, water lilies, and other water-only plants.
Hydroponic gardening methods can be used indoors, but you can also use them outdoors. The term means “water works”. When little water or fertile land is a problem, the hydroponic gardening methods can allow you to implement a stable and very steady supply of crops from your garden.
Home garden enthusiasts use hydroponics to grow vegetables all year long. Often, people living in apartments or condos use indoor hydroponic gardening because it provides a large output in a small space.
Plants need no soil to thrive. They can grown in a variety of media, from nutrient-rich soil to peat- or bark-based growing media. You can use hydroponic gardening techniques indoors or outdoors. Literally, it means “water works.” The benefits include:
- Rapidly maturing plants
- Harvest are earlier and provide greater yield
- Ability to grow plants all year
- Ability to garden indoors
- No environmentally dangerous fertilizer or pesticide runoff
- Saves land, space, and water. Conserves greenhouse space for gardeners using greenhouses.
- Ability to grow in areas not hospitable to the type of plants grown such as in a hot, arid desert
Plants require nutrients, water, air and sunlight (or some means of lighting – see below for more on indoor garden lighting). Plants growing in soil obtain nutrients and water through that soil. Plants growing water or a soil-less medium, means you must provide the nutrients in a steady pattern to the garden plants.
You can create an automated hydroponics system by adding timers, reducing the time required for gardening even further. Hydroponic gardening kits and all the necessary supplies are available online, and you will find systems ranging from small and simple to large and elaborate.
Challenged land areas will readily see the many advantages of hydroponic gardening. Using hydroponic systems, a stark, barren desert can be used to produce as many edible crops as an area with perfect growing conditions because the precise nutrients and water amounts are provided directly to the plants’ roots. This conserves water and allows for thriving, lush, healthy plants.
Indoor hydroponic gardening means you have to be the provider of sufficient light and good air circulation so that your indoor garden will thrive. Indoor hydroponics systems frequently use a small fan for air circulation. Good circulation of air is necessary for photosynthesis to be accomplished by the plants and it reduces the change of fungal outbreaks.
Indoor light sources:
- metal halide lamps
- sodium vapor lamps
- fluorescent lights and incandescent light bulbs
- natural sunlight from a window facing south
About nutrient solutions:
Thirteen 13 elements are necessary for plant growth (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, manganese, boron, copper, zinc, molybdenum and chlorine).
You must have a fertilizer solution that is especially formulated for gardening the hydroponic way. You should never use fertilizers which are formulated for amending soil because they do not contain all the necessary nutrients since soil provides nutrients, too. Manufactured solutions are easy to by at any of the many hydroponics or organic gardening stores, or you can buy online.
Gardening Tip: You must change the nutrient solution exactly as often as the instructions and your test kit results indicate, because some of the nutrition will have become depleted. Do not toss out the old solution, but instead use it to water your soil-potted plants.