Saturday, April 4, 2009


The term Hydroponics comes from two Greek words, hydro which means water and ponics which means labor. Hydroponic gardening has been practiced by people since thousands of years. The best examples of hydroponic gardening are the Gardens of Babylon and the Floating gardens of China. Countries like Australia, Germany and Holland have used hydroponics since 1050 and they have procured amazing results.

Hydroponic gardening has a lot of advantages over soil gardening. The most common advantage is that the growth rate of the plants under hydroponic gardening is 30% to 50% than plants grown under normal conditions. Scientists believe the presence of extra oxygen in the roots of hydroponic plants stimulates growth faster. Also the plants are able to absorb water faster from the soil. The plants do not have to search in the soil for the nutrients that they require. The hydroponic plant uses very little energy in absorbing the nutrients from the soil and then the saved energy is used to grow faster and to produce more fruit.

Hydroponic gardening also offers several benefits to the environment. This is because hydroponic gardening uses considerably lesser water than soil gardening because of the constant reuse of nutrient solutions. Fewer pesticides are also used on hydroponic plants and there is no issue of topsoil erosion. The purpose of the growing medium is to aerate and support the root system of the plants. There are different growing mediums that work well in different types of hydroponic systems. A fast draining medium such as Hydroton works very well in the flow type system. Rockwool is also an extremely good medium. Rockwool holds 10-14 times more water and also retains 20 percent air and it can be used in any hydroponic system. Other common mediums uses in hydroponic gardening are perlite, vermiculite and different grades of sand.

In case of nutrients, a hydroponic nutrient solution contains all the elements that the plant gets from the soil. All of these nutrients can be bought from a hydroponic supply store. The solutions are highly concentrated and come in liquid mixes or powdered mixes and only 2 to 4 teaspoons are needed in a gallon of water. The liquids are slightly more expensive than powders but they are comparatively easier to use. The powdered mixes have to be dissolved more thoroughly and often don't dissolve completely in water. However the hydroponic systems can be fertilized with organic or chemical nutrients.

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