Build­ing A Hy­dro­ponic Gar­den

Escalon Times - - PERSPECTIVE -

Hy­dro­ponic gar­den­ing can change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of what’s needed to grow vi­brant plants. Rather than soil, all you may need for a hy­dro­ponic gar­den is wa­ter to grow a va­ri­ety of healthy, strong plants. Although it seems like a fu­tur­is­tic con­cept, hy­dro­pon­ics – or grow­ing plants with­out soil – ac­tu­ally dates back many centuries. The hang­ing Gar­dens of Baby­lon and The Float­ing Gar­dens of China are two of the ear­li­est ex­am­ples of hy­dro­pon­ics. Ac­cord­ing to Full­bloom Hy­dro­pon­ics, hy­dro­ponic gar­den­ing is a method of grow­ing plants in a wa­ter­based, nu­tri­ent-rich so­lu­tion. In­stead of soil, roots are sup­ported by an in­ert ma­te­rial, such as pel­lets, per­lite, or ver­mi­culite. Some peo­ple use co­conut fiber, sand or gravel as well. The key is that the sub­stance not sup­ply any ad­di­tional nutri­tion to the plant. In some in­stances, the roots grow in wa­ter alone. Hy­dro­pon­ics works so well be­cause the per­son do­ing the gar­den­ing can di­rectly con­trol the nu­tri­ents, oxy­gen and light ac­cord­ing to what the plant needs. A nu­tri­tion­based wa­ter de­liv­ery sys­tem de­liv­ers food to the roots in a highly sol­u­ble form, rather than the roots hav­ing to search through the soil and ex­tract the same nu­tri­ents. Ab­sorb­ing food with very lit­tle ef­fort means the plant can di­vert its en­ergy to grow­ing and flower pro­duc­tion. This method of nosoil growth can be used just about any­where. Although it has not yet edged out tra­di­tional farm­ing meth­ods, hy­dro­pon­ics is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among en­trepreneurs and hob­by­ists. An added at­trac­tion to hy­dro­pon­ics is its ef­fi­ciency. The gar­den­ing re­source Max­i­mum Yield says hy­dro­pon­ics is ideal where tra­di­tional farm­ing is not an op­tion, such as in large cities where there is lit­tle to no ac­cess to agri­cul­tur­ally amenable land. Hy­dro­pon­ics can even be merged with ver­ti­cal farm­ing meth­ods, help­ing to save space and in­crease out­put. Hy­dro­ponic gar­dens can be placed any­where there is ac­cess to wa­ter and nat­u­ral or sim­u­lated sun­light. Empty ware­houses, rooftops, old ship­ping con­tain­ers, and much more can be turned into hy­dro­ponic gar­den lo­ca­tions with min­i­mal ef­fort. Sci­en­tists say that there can be dras­tic dif­fer­ences in growth rates and yield from hy­dro­ponic and soil plants.

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