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A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in water. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution or in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.

The nutrients in hydroponics can come from an array of different sources. These can include but are not limited to byproducts from fish waste, duck manure, or even synthetic nutrients. The key in hydroponics is supplying the plant roots with enough oxygen as well as the correct nutrient solution for optimal growth.

In this post, we move past the basics of what hydroponics is and go over everything you need to know about this popular method of growing a wide variety of plants.

A Brief Overview of The History of Hydroponics

Hydroponics was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs and has been used by commercial greenhouse growers since the 1920s. In 1929, William Frederick Gericke of the University of California, Berkeley began publicly promoting that plants could be grown without soil, using an inert medium and mineral nutrients. Hydroponics is not a new concept and has been around for centuries. The word hydroponics is derived from two Greek words, “hydro” meaning water, and “ponos” meaning labor. 

The first recorded mention of growing plants without soil comes from Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle who wrote the book, “On the History of Plants” in the 4th century BC. In this book, Theophrastus described how plants could be grown in water and sand without soil. The idea of growing plants without soil was also mentioned by the Roman writer, Pliny the Elder, who noted that some plants were grown in pits of sand or in pots of gravel submerged in water. 

Advantages of Hydroponics Over Soil

The benefits of hydroponics include a smaller carbon footprint, little to no water waste thanks to a recirculating nutrient reservoir, higher yields, and year-round production. You can find more here: Hydroponics even allows for greater control over the growing environment, which can lead to faster growth rates and earlier harvests.

It’s also worth noting that hydroponics is not limited by location and can be done indoors or outdoors. There’s no weeding required, and virtually no risk of pests or diseases when growing indoors with proper management of the growing environs.

Of course, hydroponics does have its disadvantages, but none that are too relevant in the context of contemporary gardening. The use of soil is generally considered the superior option when growing plants specifically for terpene yields, for example. However, growing solely for terpenes is largely considered impractical today — especially given the number of quality terpene retailers across the country. True Blue Terpenes is an example of a stellar wholesaler with significant bulk order discounts available.

Examples of Popular Hydroponic Growing Systems

There are several different types of hydroponic systems, including wick, ebb and flow, drip, nutrient film technique, and aeroponics. The type of system you choose will depend on the plants you are growing, the size of your operation, and your budget.

Wick systems are the simplest and most inexpensive type of hydroponic system. They use a growing medium, such as perlite, that is saturated with nutrient solutions. The plants are placed in pots that sit on top of the growing medium and their roots extend down into the nutrient solution. A wick, made of rope or cloth, runs from the bottom of the pot to the reservoir of nutrient solution, allowing the solution to be drawn up into the growing medium.

Ebb and flow systems, also known as flood and drain systems, are a bit more complex than wick systems. These systems use a timer to pump nutrient solution from the reservoir to the grow bed, flooding the roots of the plants and then draining the solution back into the reservoir. This cycle is repeated several times a day.

Drip systems are similar to ebb and flow systems, but instead of flooding the entire grow bed, only the roots of the plants are directly exposed to the nutrient solution. The solution is delivered to the roots through a system of drip emitters or plant misters.

Nutrient film technique (NFT) systems are similar to drip systems, but the roots of the plants are suspended in a shallow stream of nutrient solution. A pump circulates the solution through a small channel, and the roots are exposed to the constantly flowing stream of nutrients.

Aeroponic systems do not use a growing medium; instead, the roots of the plants are suspended in the air and sprayed with a fine mist of nutrient solution. These systems are considered to be the most efficient type of hydroponic system, but they are also the most expensive and require more maintenance than other types of systems.

No matter which type of system you choose, there are a few key components that all hydroponic systems need in order to function. These include a reservoir for the nutrient solution, a growing medium, a delivery system for the nutrient solution, and a way to control the environment (such as grow lights, fans, and thermostats). A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

Experimenting With Hydroponics

If you’re interested in starting a hydroponic garden, there are several things you need to do in order to get started. First, you need to choose the type of system you want to use. Next, you need to set up the reservoir and delivery system. Then, you need to add the plants and growing medium. Finally, you need to monitor the environment and make sure the plants are getting the nutrients they need.

Hydroponics is a great way to grow plants without the use of soil. By using a hydroponic system, you can grow plants faster and with less water than in traditional gardening. Additionally, hydroponics allows you to control the environment, which can lead to higher yields and earlier harvests thanks to year-round garden viability. A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

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A Beginner’s Guide to Hydroponics

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