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Growing Plants Hydroponically

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule May 4, 2019
Hydroponics is a gardening technique in which plants are grown without soil. Growing plants hydroponically has several advantages over the conventional soil medium. Read ahead to know more.

Did You Know?

About four times the amount of plants can be planted in the same space as required for traditional soil farming, and some crops can grow twice as fast in hydroponics as they get the essential and exact amount of nutrients.
Can you imagine growing plants without soil? Well, it is possible! Hydroponics is a unique emerging technique aiming at growing plants in water without soil medium. It is now becoming a rage in many parts of the world. It is a different technique than the regular way of growing plants.
In an hydroponic garden, the nutrients are provided to the plants through the water and fertilizers solution. This is a highly advanced gardening technique which has several benefits as compared to growing plants within a soil medium. Let us have a look at it in detail in the below sections.


Growing Medium

The growing medium for hydroponic gardening is an inert medium, which does not provide any nutrients to the plant. It only provides the basis for the roots to grow in. Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber, gravel, and sand are the various types of growing mediums available for growing plants hydroponically. 
Growing medium such as expanded clay pellets, sphagnum moss, and coconut fiber add an eye-catching appearance to your garden, but they come at additional cost. However, if you are a novice in the field of hydroponics, it is wise to steer clear of them.

Nutrient Solution

Nutrient solution is the mixture of water and fertilizers. The main advantage of growing plants hydroponically is that since the nutrients are directly given through the solution, the effort on the part of plants is greatly reduced.
This is not the case with conventional gardening, wherein the roots of the plant have to search for nutrients in the soil and then extract them. The direct application of nutrients has a positive effect on the growth of plants.

Balancing pH

Every plant species needs a soil having different pH. However, in conventional gardening, the testing of pH is very difficult and time-consuming. Moreover, the process of adjusting the pH level of the soil according to the plants to be planted is much more complicated.
On the other hand, testing, balancing, and maintaining the pH is simpler in hydroponic gardening. All the adjustments are done in the nutrient solution itself, which is then directly applied to the plants.

System Set-up

There are quite a few methods that you can implement to grow plants hydroponically at home. The simplest of all the hydroponic gardening systems is the wick system, where all you need is a wick and two pots. One pot will contain your plant while the other is to be filled with a nutrient solution.
Place one end of the wick at the bottom of an empty pot and the other end deep inside the nutrient solution. Cover the first pot with a growing medium of your choice and place the plant in it. Watch the level of nutrient solution in the second pot to ensure it actually reaches the root of the plant in the other pot. Make necessary adjustments as needed.
Many hydroponic systems set up indoors require adequate amount of light for photosynthesis and proper growth of the plant. There are different kinds of light kits available in the market that will prove to be a good substitute for natural sunlight.

Plants That Can be Grown Hydroponically

It is practically possible to grow any type of fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc., using the technique of hydroponics. Cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, and green peas are a popular choice of vegetables that can be grown using hydroponics. 
Similarly, fruits such as strawberries, watermelons, and cantaloupes can also be grown using hydroponic gardening at home. Flowers show a better bloom when grown hydroponically. The flowers that can be grown are carnations, gladiolus, chrysanthemum, rose, etc.
It is very easy to grow plants hydroponically and effective in terms of end product. The entire hydroponic system can be made automated. However, while growing plants hydroponically at home, mostly basic systems are preferred. Thus, hydroponics can allow you to grow vegetables and fruits inside your apartment without mess.