A hydroponic garden is used to grow plants in water or soilless media. A water system provides a large amount of soluble nutrients to the roots of the plants. A system with soilless media, or aggregates, uses clay pebbles, gravel, perlite, vermiculite or rock wool to hold water and nutrients around the roots.
A system consists of a dark-colored reservoir of nutrient solution, a way to aerate the solution and a way to support the plants above the solution. You can build your own system or buy one from a garden center, hardware store or online supplier. The system is easy to set up and maintain and requires less work than an outside garden. Special hydroponics fertilizer is used that contains all the nutrients plants would normally get from the soil. The plants are healthier and bear better vegetables and fruits than plants grown in the soil.
Improved Plant Growth
The precise application of water and nutrients in a hydroponics system causes less stress on the plants. They grow faster and produce more than plants grown in soil. The fruits and vegetables have more flavor and nutrition. Since the factors that affect plant growth are controlled in a hydroponic garden, plants can grow all year or out of their natural areas.
A hydroponics system eliminates weeding and reduces the risk of soil borne diseases and pests, so most pest and disease control is reduced. Tilling, plowing, hoeing and other methods of working the soil are not necessary. A timer can be used to automate the watering cycle.
More plants can grow in a hydroponics garden than can grow in the same area of soil. The system can be set up in a closet, room, garage, porch, patio or greenhouse. Since a hydroponics system can be set on a table or shelf, it is easier for people to use who cannot bend or stoop, or who are in a wheelchair.
The water in a hydroponics garden is recycled, and does not evaporate or run off as it does in the soil. When the water is changed in the reservoir, it can be used to water houseplants or outside plants. Most of the nutrients have been used out of the water, so there is less chance of the fertilizers polluting natural bodies of water. The risk of pesticide pollution is also less because there are fewer pests and diseases to treat chemically. In addition, garden soil does not become depleted where too many crops have grown.