Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in water without the use of soil. The grower is able to tailor the nutrient solution to the individual plant's needs rather than using too much or too little fertilizer as they would in field-grown crops.
Hydroponics is used to produce high-quality and high-priced fruit and vegetables by directly controlling the growing environment. Controlling the growing conditions with precision eliminates many problems such as pests and diseases, and produces better products.
Hydroponics delivers exactly what a plant needs to produce at its maximum capacity through balancing the nutrients in the water in which it is grown. In the field, it is very difficult to control ever-changing temperatures and soil nutrient conditions for each individual plant.
Terrestrially grown plants devote a lot of energy to root production and nutrient storage. Hydroponics eliminates the need for this type of growth, so energy is transferred to fruiting and flowering.
Although crops grown in the field produce more, hydroponically grown plants produce higher-quality products. There is less waste and loss due to pests and diseases or adverse climate conditions.
Indoor or greenhouse grown crops are able to produce year-round and are not limited by growing seasons. Usually artificial light is used entirely or to supplement sunlight on short winter days that would normally inhibit reproductive growth.
- University of Arizona: Hydroponics
- Texas A&M: Hydroponics As A Hobby
hydroponic nutrients, indoor gardening, winter vegetables
About this Author
Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.