What is a Hydroponic Gardening System?
Hydroponics is a process whereby plants are grown without traditional soil. Typically using a variety of substrates such as liquid, gravel or sand, the inclusion of additional nutrients is the key element. The purpose of this way of growing plants is in essence to increase the productivity of the plants.
Key points of hydroponics
Hydroponics is typically used in situations where there is no soil. This can be for a variety of reasons. For example in locations where there are serious risks of soil organisms which can damage the plants, then hydroponics is the ideal solution as it eradicates the risk of organisms within the soil causing disease. if looking to work with high value crops, it is to many people the preferred choice.
Controlling the pH
One of the most critical elements of any form of hydroponics is the control of pH. This relates to the acidity or alkalinity of the growing medium, whereby 7 is classed as neutral. Water in its pure state has a neutral pH and it is the addition of elements that changes the pH value of the medium. With hydroponics, the ability to accurately determine and adjust the pH levels of the growth medium is a distinct advantage over soil based mediums.
This is the material that the plants are grown in. It is the substrate that the actual roots of the plant are grown. In reality this can incorporate a wide and varied type of materials including perlite, coconut fibre and gravel as well as sand. In essence the medium itself is inert, in terms of that it does not provide any particular nutrients. The nutrient solution provides the nutrients and this is normally made up of water and relevant fertilizer.
Hydroponics doesn’t have to be complicated. Home based systems can be inexpensive and easy to use. Most will comprise of a growing tray, submersible pump, reservoir, timer which constitute the main parts whilst most kits will also include an air pump and stone for oxygenation.