Simply put, hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants, without soil, by providing food and water directly to the roots of the plant. By doing so, we eliminate the need for the root system to expand looking for food and water, so the energy normally used by the plant to search for food is used for faster upward growth and fruit production.
Since we don't have competing root systems, we can grow significantly more plants using hydroponics in a given area than those grown in soil. In addition, we recirculate the water and nutrients, so hydroponic gardening ends up using a fraction of the water, with no fertilizer run-off.
Another primary advantage to hydroponic gardening is control. You can quickly make adjustments as necessary to the strength of the nutrient solution, the pH, temperature, etc. to provide the perfect growing conditions and you eliminate soil as a breeding ground for common garden pests, reducing the need to apply harmful pesticides.
Maintaining hobby hydroponic systems is really very easy, requiring a minimal amount of time. Daily maintenance should take no more than about 5 minutes, just checking to make sure the nutrient reservoir is topped off and the pH levels are correct. Every couple of weeks, your nutrient solution should be replaced with a fresh batch. The old nutrient can be used to water houseplants or landscape plants around the home.
What is the hardest aspect of hydroponic gardening?
Learning to pronounce the word 'hydroponic' correctly! Seriously, while hydroponic gardening may sound like rocket science to many, it is a very easy to master method of gardening.
What is a hydroponic medium?
Even though we have eliminated the soil, plants still require a place for their root systems to develop. A hydroponic media is an inert substance that can provide some support for the root system that has no nutrient value. Almost any inert substance can be used. A few examples include sand, gravel.
Are there any drawbacks/setbacks to hydroponic gardening?
Are there any drawbacks to hydroponic gardening? Since we don't have a large, supportive root system, heavy fruiting crops like tomatoes and peppers may have to be trellised, depending on the hydroponic system used and variety. Root crops like carrots and potatoes present a special challenge as well, although while a bit more difficult to grow hydroponically, it can be done and with pretty spectacular results as well.