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You see fish nibbling on plants in an aquarium, and seaweeds in the ocean, and you observe�these plants can grow without soil. You call this technology, hydroponics. Hydroponics is also called soil-less gardening, soil-less culture, chemiculture, and water gardening.

Taken from two Greek words��water� and �work�, hydroponics simply means growing plants without soil. Hydroponics system is used to grow plants without soil in water to which nutrients have been added. Thanks to the people who conducted experiments on the feasibility for growing commercial crops using the hydroponic system in the early 1900s�a century before that, hydroponics was just used as a research technique.

Now, you will practically find hydroponic home gardens and commercial cropping operations all throughout the US and other countries�indoors or outdoors in various mediums, like water, gravel, sand, sawdust, vermiculite, or other soil-less materials. But don�t think that hydroponically grown plants are entirely different--like all plants, plants that are grown hydroponically need light, water, and oxygen to survive.

Hydroponic home gardens

Since hydroponically grown plants never come in contact with disease-ridden soil, they are healthier than their garden counterparts. In a hydroponic garden, the plants are also given an optimum balance of the nutrients they need. Hydroponic kits give specific instructions on how this is attained. The fruits and vegetables that are grown are therefore rich with the desired nutrients and vitamin content that are delivered via a solution rather than via the soil as in a regular garden.

Some mediums that have been successfully used are shredded compound like coconut or peat, rockwool (may come in cube form, a spun synthetic fiber found in potted aquarium plants). One of the best horticultural rooting medium that has been developed for hydro systems is a sponge, which is quite expensive. Another one that has been used is in grow rooms is perlite.

Hydroponic systems for commercial operations

For commercial operations, a big advantage for growing using hydroponics is that plants can be grown closer together rather than if they were grown in the field. The yield is much greater n volume. Multiple cropping or growing several plants or crops in the same tank can be practiced. Space is saved, and weeds and pest problems are eliminated when you use the right hydro sysmtem.

One downside that can be told for hydroponic systems is that the equipment can be costly, and personnel needs a lot of training. In addition, the amount of physical support required is tremendous. The plants are usually held upright by wire supports. Another option to grow hydroponics is to root them in a sterile medium, like pure sand or gravel. The elements, like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other essential nutrients that are normally found in soil must be supplied not only in optimum concentrations but in correct balance.

And more�eliminating toxins from the soil

Grow hydroponics�but there is more to this. Inversely, contaminated land can be cleaned up�by harvesting waste. It may seem strange, but possible by using plants that could suck up toxic metals from the soil. Land contaminated with metals can be cleaned up in an environmentally friendly way�by simply harvesting and disposing the plants that were earlier made to suck up the toxic metals from the soil.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Mark Saunders
For more information please visit www.hydroponics.com/

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