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Hydroponic Gardening

My mom gave me this great Long English Cucumber. I love cucumbers and I juice them often, but this one was different. It was “packaged” wrapped in a tight plastic and stated hydroponically grown.  I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I have never heard this term before. I ran to the computer to learn more and to my surprise, I knew exactly what it was, just didn’t know there was a name for it.

Here are some facts I learned:

What are the benefits of hydroponic growing?

Cultivating plants hydroponically is an easy and environmentally sound way to grow a wide variety of healthy plants. It offers numerous benefits over growing in soil, including:
• Plants grow up to 50% faster because they have easy access to food and water.
• Plants become “vacation-proof” and “neglect-resistant” as rockwool retains water so well, you only need to water every three to six weeks.
• Plants can “tell” you when to water, because they droop before wilting and damage occurs.
• The absence of a buffer in the growing medium means plants get all the nutrients available (they don’t remain “bound up” as occurs in buffered mediums like peat moss and coco fiber).
• Little or no pesticides are necessary. Plants start our in a disease-free medium.
• If disease occurs, it may only affect one plant, not a whole row.
• You use smaller containers, because the roots can grow throughout the media without being root bound.

Hydroponics Is Simple
Plants don’t use soil; they use the food and water that are in the soil. Hydroponics basically is growing plants without soil because it is simply a more efficient way to provide food and water to your plants. Soil’s function is to hold nutrients and anchor plants’ roots. In a hydroponic garden you provide your plants’ roots so they have easier access to the food and water.

In a soil garden, food and water are randomly scattered; plants have to expend a lot of energy growing roots to find them. In a hydroponic garden, the food is dissolved in the water so it goes directly to the roots. The plants will grow quicker and be ready for harvest sooner because their growth will be above the surface, not under it. Since the root systems will be compact and not competing for food and water, you may also have many more plants in a given space.

Hydroponics Is Not New
Hydroponics has existed in different forms for thousands of years. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon used hydroponic techniques. Today hydroponic installations can be found in all 50 states and many countries around the world. In fact, in colder climates, a majority of vegetable and flower crops are grown hydroponically.

I LOVE this idea and now that we’ve settled into our new house, I can consider starting the garden. The photo alone make me want to do this. It’s visually stunning to me and such a cool idea.

~Rawma

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