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.

Hydroponics as a Hobby

By Susan Slobac

If you love gardening, it can really be a drag when winter approaches and puts a chilly end to your outdoor activities. But you don't have to stop gardening if you would like to try hydroponics gardening. You need no soil for this type of gardening, but instead you grow your plants in mineral nutrient solutions. It is pretty easy to grow vegetables, fruits and flowers indoors even in the depth of a bitter winter when you choose hydroponics gardening as a hobby.

Hydroponics Guide

You might find it easiest to start in with this style of gardening by purchasing what you need in kits. All plants require adequate light in order for them to thrive and grow well, so grow lights are an important part of your hydroponics system. Grow light kits are available, including all the parts you will need, including the grow lights, digital ballast, and reflectors. Many gardening enthusiasts like to use LED grow lights, because they are small but don't overheat. They also produce a tremendous amount of light efficiently in the light color spectrums you will need in order for your plants to flourish.

There are several different ways to go about hydroponics gardening. Static solution culture is one method used. The plants are grown in solution in some kind of container to hold the liquid, such as a jar, plastic tank, tub or bucket. You can cut a hole in the lid of the container to hold the plant out of the liquid, but allow the roots into the solution so they can take up the nutrients they need. Roots also need oxygen, which is why many gardeners use some type of aquarium aerator to get adequate oxygen to the plant roots. As solution is depleted by the plant roots, the gardener replenishes the supply on a regular basis.

Some methods of hydroponics require the use of a growing medium. This soilless product can be gravel, perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, or clay granules. Passive subirrigation allows plants to sit in the growing medium, which brings the nutrients and water to the roots from the bottom of the growing medium. Because the growing medium is coarse, oxygen also has easy access to the roots as well. The container that holds the plants can sit in nutrient solution or on top of a mat that is saturated with the solution. This easy method is fairly low maintenance, because you only need to occasionally refill the nutrient and wash out the system to get rid of salt buildup, which can kill plants.

There are many advantages to hydroponics, including no weeding. Diseases that lurk in the soil are not an issue in this soilless gardening form. This also means that you will not need to use a lot of pesticide to control diseases. Less water is used for hydroponic gardening than for crops grown in soil outdoors. So try a new winter hobby: hydroponics gardening.

Susan Slobac works at a Hydroponics supply store and is knowledgeable about hydroponics systems. She enjoys assisting people who want to get started with hydroponics gardening. From choosing the right grow light kit to deciding which hydroponics system is best for you, Susan has advice you can use.


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