For saving space and soil, this method also has several
other benefits, including no soil-borne diseases, no
weeds to pull and no soil to till, run-of-the-mill side
benefits of soil-less gardening.


Although silicon has not been recognized as an essential element for higher plants, its beneficial effects have been shown in many plants. Silicon is abundant in all field grown plants, but it is not present in most hydroponic solutions. Silicon has long been recognized as particularly important to rice growth, but a recent study indicated that it may only be important during pollination in rice (Ma et al. 1989). The beneficial effects of silicon (Si) are twofold:

  1. it protects against insect and disease attack (Cherif et al. 1994; Winslow, 1992; Samuels, 1991), and
  2. it protects against toxicity of metals (Vlamis and Williams, 1967; Baylis et al. 1994). For these reasons, I recommend adding silicon (about 0.1 mM) to nutrient solutions for all plants unless the added cost outweighs its advantages.


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