Hydroponic Gardening: What Is It?

As our awareness of our influence on the environment grows, creating and implementing sustainable practices is becoming not just necessary for the environment but also for the economy. These facts are more apparent than ever in the field of sustainable agriculture, namely in hydroponic gardening and farming.

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Although hydroponics has long been used in agriculture, technological advancements have made this formerly industrial technique affordable for everyone. These days, you can cultivate your own fruits, herbs, and veggies at home—even in the middle of winter, regardless of where you live or whether you have any outside space.

In this article, we’ll examine hydroponics in more detail, including how they operate, how to set up a home garden, and the many advantages of hydroponic farming.

A Synopsis of Hydroponic History

As early as 600 BCE, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been irrigated by a river using a pulley water system that is now known as hydroponics.

German botanist Julius Sachs made the initial discovery that plants could grow without soil—that is, they just needed the nutrients found in the soil that microbes in the earth provided. He published the “nutrient solution” formula for water-based farming in the 1860s, which served as the model for contemporary hydroponic farming.

A scientist from America named W.E. Gericke conducted more research on the technique by demonstrating how plants cultivated in water absorb nutrients more effectively than those produced in conventional farming, producing harvests with larger yields and superior quality.

Nowadays, hydroponic farming is regarded as one of the greatest approaches to plant growth in terms of quality, productivity, and environmental effect.

What Is Gardening in Hydroponics?

A sustainable way to grow plants without soil or sunlight is through hydroponic gardening. Essential minerals are supplied to the plants by nutrients dissolved in water, and hydroponic farms and gardens may be located indoors thanks to LED lighting customized to meet the energy requirements of the plants. This technique is sometimes referred to as indoor vertical farming, climate-proof farming, or controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

Hydroponically, any plant can be grown, although the most common uses are for leafy greens, herbs, and greenhouse commodities like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Compared to earth farming, hydroponic gardening requires less water and requires less space.

Thanks to advancements in hydroponic technology, you can now create and manage a year-round crop-producing hydroponic garden at home.

How Does Gardening with Hydroponics Operate?

The complex techniques of modern hydroponics allow plants to be grown in controlled conditions with light, air, and nutrients. Three essential components make up hydroponic systems:

nutritional remedy. The water reservoir that supplies the plants with food has a nutritional solution dissolved in it. Major nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and sulfur are combined with trace elements like copper, iron, and zinc in small amounts in this solution.

Air (oxygen). To create oxygen bubbles and maintain enough aeration in the water reservoirs, the majority of hydroponic systems rely on an air pump and air stone, which are often seen in fish tanks.

Possible monitoring of hydrogen (pH). In addition, pH levels, which control how acidic the water is, are regularly checked and kept between 5.8 and 6.2 for best outcomes. Baking soda raises pH whereas citric acid decreases it.

illumination. Hydroponic gardening in the summer or outdoors might benefit from sunshine. However, artificial lighting—typically fluorescent or LED bulbs—is needed for indoor systems and winter gardening. Depending on what you’re growing, these bulbs can emit different light spectra.

Hydroponic System Types

Hydroponic agriculture may be done in three primary ways, each with a few minor differences and benefits based on the crop’s kind and size.

the method of ebb and flow. With this method, plants are partially immersed or inundated in nutrient-rich water in a tray or tank. Water is actively replenished and reused once the plants have absorbed the nutrients. Known by another name, “deep water culture,” this is the most basic and often used kind of hydroponic system seen in home gardens and small-scale businesses.

the method of nutrition film. With this method, plants are positioned at an angle on a tray over a reservoir of nutrient-rich, aerated water. As water circulates through the tray and water reservoir, a water pump continuously pumps a constant stream over the plants, giving them oxygen, water, and nutrients. The most widely utilized hydroponic method in industry is the nutrient film technology.

The system of wicks. This method, which is also popular in indoor and domestic gardens, is providing plants with nutrients passively via a wick or thread that connects the roots to a nutrient-rich water reservoir. In order to assist anchor their roots, plants cultivated in this hydroponic system are usually set in rock, sand, or clay.

Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

A hydroponic garden offers a lot of advantages.

These gardens may be supported indoors, need less room, and are less expensive to construct and maintain. Because of these advantages, hydroponic farming may provide fresh food even in regions with harsh weather or inadequate soil.

It is also possible to measure the precise amounts of light, water, and nutrients that plants receive in a controlled setting. With this optimization, the best harvests are produced.

Furthermore, since hydroponics does not use soil, crops are not exposed to any of the microbes or pests that are often found in the ground. Therefore, there’s no need for pesticides or herbicides, which leads to higher-quality and higher yielding crops.

Lastly, hydroponic gardening and farming have enormous environmental advantages. Every year, the fact that hydroponic systems need up to 90% less water than traditional agriculture does becomes more and more important for the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

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About the Author: VyVy Aneloh Team