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Things To Know About Hydroponic Gardening

Feb 29, 2008
If you are considering starting a hydroponic garden, there are some basic facts you should know. Hydroponic gardening presents many challenges, but also has many benefits.

The name, hydroponics, suggests plants grown in water, and that is the basic method. However, it really refers to any method of horticulture that doesn't use soil. It is sometimes called S/CEA or soil-less controlled environment agriculture.

Light control is the most important aspect, although water and nutrient control can be the most difficult. Of critical importance is the pH adjustment. When you have a soil based garden, these factors are mostly self-regulating. However, in a hydroponic garden, you must take a little extra care.

Hydroponics can actually yield larger fruits and a larger output, since more and larger plants can be produced in a smaller space. A larger yield often comes with less effort than a soil based garden. For example, weeding is much less of an issue as the medium makes it harder for the weeds to get started, and they can easily be pulled out if they happen to show up.

One way to begin a hydroponic garden is by purchasing a complete hydroponic kit. These kits usually come with all the trays, tubing, lights, air pumps, and nutrients that you will need to get started. These are especially good for the beginner, since they have everything you need to assemble your first hyroponic garden, including complete instructions.

Of course, even a garden started from a kit needs some care. You must make sure the right nutrients are being fed to the plants. An automatic feeding system should be set up, filled and checked regularly. An automatic watering system, such as drip irrigation or under-the-tray tubing, will need to be built. Everything should be monitored for fungi and cleaned or sterilized frequently.

Just as in a regular garden, pest and disease control is required in hydroponic gardens. The constant moisture provides a fertile environment for bacteria and mildew. Common garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, caterpillars and others, must still be dealt with.

There are many easy-to-use methods to take care of this problem. There are insecticide soaps, botanicals, fungicides and other compounds which run the gamut from century old methods which are still in use today to chemicals fresh from the latest laboratory inventions.

Some hydroponic gardeners prefer the all-water systems. These have trays that hold the roots and solutions, then are fitted with supports from which strings can hold the plant upright. Others prefer working with rockwool, perlite and other highly useful media for the hydroponic garden.

A more experienced gardener might incorporate all of the above in a convenient greenhouse. This allows them to control the air, water and light much easier than other settings. There are greenhouses available that can be expanded as the garden "grows".

Of course, it is helpful, no matter what method you use, to have some knowledge of elementary botany. Plants have unique needs, and knowing what factors they require to grow and flourish will get the hydroponic gardener off to the right start.

I hope you will get started on your own hydroponic garden today and join the fun!
About the Author
Joyce Boulan owns a website dedicated to the enjoyment of hydroponic gardening, with all the supplies that you will need to get started, including a video on building your own hydroponic garden.
Please visit The Hydroponic Garden Shop
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