From the Latin, the word hydroponics means “water” and “labor” or, literally, “water working.” Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants (including flowers and herbs) in either a large, medium, or small bath of water and nutrients. It can also refer to plants grown in a flow of highly oxygenated and nutrient-rich water, such as filtered ponds and fountains. Discovered by researchers in the 19th century, it was found that plants can absorb mineral nutrients in water and that soil was not an essential, rather the nutrients are what is vital. Along with nutrient-rich water and plants, hydroponic gardening supplies are available to help you get the most out of your hydroponic gardening system.
In soils, biological decomposition begins to break down organic matter slowly. This helps create the basic nutrient salts of which plants feed on. Water can dissolve these salts, which allows plant roots to take the nutrients in and absorb them. A well-balanced diet for a plant requires all soil components to be in perfect balance. Finding an ideal condition in soil alone can be hard because of the lack of organic matter in water and because of the contamination as well as because of biological imbalances.
This water technology of gardening enables water to be enriched with nutrient salts and creates a perfectly balanced nutrient solution. The system does not harm the environment because it is kept contained and does not use fertilized soil. Less water than watering plants in soil is used as well.
To support these systems, specialized gardening supplies are needed. Look for items such as fiber, sand, and stone. These are inert soil-free mediums which anchor the root. They are also designed to retain air and water when necessary.
Additional supplies include:
- Air & Water Pumps
- CO2 Injectors
- Cycle Timers
- Growing modules
- Growing mediums
- System Plans
- Water meters
There are several advantages to hydroponic gardening over soil gardening, which include faster growing plants. A hydro plant is more likely to grow faster (as much as 50% faster). Additionally, the yield of plant is always greater. The hydro plants are stimulated more by oxygen, which help it grow and grow healthy. There are fewer problems with fungus in this technology. In fact, these plants have fewer infestations and diseases as well. Finally, nutrients are sent directly to the root system; there is no need for the plant to sort nutrients from the soil. Instead, the nutrients are always readily available.
The benefits to the environment from this kind of gardening are also great. Less energy is spent on hydrating soil and maintaining a perfect solution balance in the soil. Less water is used as well because nutrients can remain constant longer in water. Hydro crops also require fewer pesticides, which help both the environment and the people around the plants. We also aren’t using any topsoil so top soil erosion isn’t a problem with this kind of gardening.