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The Basics of Hydroponic Gardening

What is Hydroponics? Simply put, hydroponics is the practice of growing terrestrial plants without soil. The word derives from the Greek “hydro” (water) and “ponos” (labor.) The two main forms of hydroponics are solution culture and medium culture. In a solution culture, there is no solid mass for the roots, just the nutrient base, which is changed regularly. A medium culture method uses a solid medium for the roots and is named for the type of medium it employs. Common mediums* include clay pellets, growstones, coco peat, rice hulls, perlite, pumice, vermiculite, sand, gravel, sheep wool, rock wool, brick shards and–surprisingly enough–packing peanuts.

And there are further variations of solution-based hydroponic methods! In a static solution culture, plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution, such as mason jars, buckets, tubs or tanks. This is usually the preferred method for personal home hydroponics. The solution may be gently aerated to ensure that plants get adequate oxygen, or maintained at a level that allows healthy oxygen flow. Clear containers are usually covered to exclude light and prevent the formation of algae. The solution is changed on a schedule, or whenever the concentration of nutrients drops below a certain level as determined by an electrical conductivity meter. Alternatively, a float valve can be used to automatically maintain the solution’s nutrient level.

A continuous-flow solution culture is substantially more advanced and involves nutrient solution constantly flowing past the roots. These automated systems are exponentially more complex and expensive, but well worth the trouble when tending to plants in massive numbers. Do your research on designs for popular continuous-flow systems such as the nutrient film technique, or NFT. Design precision is necessary when employing such a system–but overall, it is probably one of the most productive techniques. As a general guide, flow rates for each row or “gully” should be 1 liter per minute. Nitrogen may be depleted over the length of each gully, so row length should not exceed 15 meters in order to ensure adequate nutrients for all plants. hydroponics wholesaler

The most important part of a hydroponic system is the nutrient solution. A basic solution consists of the following: calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, sulfate and dihydrogen phosphate. Hydroponic gardeners often develop their own ‘secret recipes’ for attaining a particular result from a certain species of plant. Some typical additives for nutrient solutions are iron, copper, zinc, boron and chlorine. Speculation holds that various combinations of chemicals produce a strong plant with high yield and exceptional nutritional value.

The benefits of hydroponic cultivation are many. Indoor-growth integrated pest management means a lack of pesticides. Large-scale hydroponics may use as little as 1/20 the amount of water as a regular farm to produce the same amount of food. The environment of a hydroponics greenhouse is tightly controlled, meaning maximum efficiency. This means we can grow food using hydroponic systems anywhere in the world, at any temperature, in any season! Furthermore, hydroponic crops can be enhanced to provide more nutritional value.

Learn more about the gardening technique of the future and how to get started at Rogue Hydroponics.

What is Hydroponics? The way of the future! The most efficient and versatile technique of indoor gardening is swiftly gaining popularity for its incredible results, regardless of weather and season. Get on board with this technique to experience unrivaled quality crops no matter where you are

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