What is Hydroponics?

Have you been searching for an interesting and inexpensive way to grow your favorite herbs and spices indoors? Then you might be interested in building a hydroponic grow system. To put it simply, hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. This efficient, cost effective science has changed food industry and given people all over the world a great way to grow their food quickly in a controlled environment. Here is an overview of hydroponics before we get into more details about it.

How does it work?

Every day, people and animals have to set aside some time in order to take in food for nourishment. The same thing goes for plants. The primary difference here is that plants take in the nutrients they need through their roots instead of mouths. The most common form of hydroponics involves suspending the roots of the plants you intend to grow in nutrient-rich water that circulates consistently. These nutrients feed your plants so that they can reach their growth potential.

What kind of materials do I need?

The setup for a hydroponic system can be as simple or complex as you would like for it to be, but you can accomplish quite a bit on a very modest budget. Generally speaking, the water culture system is the easiest, most inexpensive hydroponic system to build. This can be done by repurposing an old aquarium or any other basin that can hold water, and allows for the plants to be placed in a floating tray on the surface of the water. The tray that floats on the water will hold the plants in place so that the roots are suspended nicely into the water. An air pump and airstone is placed at the bottom of the reservoir to bubble the water so that the roots can receive oxygen.

The only drawback of this system is that it is primarily designed for fast growing leaf plants like lettuce. Heavier plants require what is known as a growing medium. This is a porous material that both supports the plant, and holds the nutrient solution close to the roots of the plants.

How long does it take?

Time varies with different plants, but leafy plants such as lettuce can be fully ready to eat within as little time as 3-4 weeks. With a small amount of research, you can find which type of hydroponic system that is most suited for your needs.