What is a Hydroponic Garden?

Gardens are very popular ways for people to grow plants and food that they would normally have to go to the store and buy. Recently, a new twist on gardens has developed and it is called hydroponics. Hydroponics is basically growing plants without using soil and only using nutrient solutions and water. Hydroponic gardens are becoming more common and many people believe that they could eventually replace soil gardens.

Hydroponics is derived from two Greek words: hydro, meaning water and ponos, meaning labor. Hydroponics involves growing a plant that is normally terrestrial in a nutrient solution or other inert material like perlite, gravel or mineral wool. This kind of gardening started to develop in the 19th century when scientists discovered that plants can absorb nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In normal growing conditions, the soil acts as the site of mineral reserves, but the soil isn’t what is essential to the growth of the plant. When the minerals dissolve in water is when plants can absorb them and take them in. Because it is only necessary for the plant to get the mineral nutrients and because they can be provided through water alone, most terrestrial plants can also be grown hydroponically. Hydroponics is actually a subdivision of soilless culture which designates ways that plants can be grown without the use of soil.

Hydroponic gardens are common today and are much more efficient for growing some things than traditional farming or culture. Billions of plants are grown each year through the use of hydroponics. Some of the plants that are produced are fruit, shade and ornamental trees, shrubs, forest seedlings, vegetable starters, perennials and vines. Most container plants that you will find at nurseries or big box stores are grown in soilless media. Hydroponics has become very important to plant growers and many people believe it has advantages over soiled culture.

Hydroponic gardening offers many benefits. One of the most important is that it allows for total control over the ‘diet’ of the plants. This can result in more uniform size and health among different specimens. This is particularly important to large scale producers who rely on consistency to market their products. Hydroponics also allows pH and nutrient levels to be easily measured and maintained. This provides a more predictable growth pattern and cycle. While many say that soil brings added benefits to the growth of plants, it also provides more opportunity for infestation by pests and diseases. Hydroponics allows for much easier control of these problems that are typical of traditional gardening.

Hydroponic farms hydroponic farming and gardens can typically produce a much higher quantity of plants per unit of area as well because they don’t have the space limitations imposed by root structures underground. This is particularly important with larger plants like trees, whose roots can become quite large. Therefore, use of space is much more efficient and plants can also be grown on several different stacked levels, depending on the layout of the garden. One other benefit of hydroponic gardening that has become very important in the global view is the use of water.

Because hydroponics uses concentrated nutrients in the water, much less water is used and therefore, less water is wasted. There is also less waste with fertilizers and mineral nutrients because there is no possibility of them seeping into the soil and degrading before the plants can absorb them. Hydroponic gardens can also be located practically anywhere. Because most of them are indoors in a greenhouse, hydroponic gardens are temperature and humidity controlled producing an environment that is always ideal for growing plants no matter where the farm or garden is located.

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