Hydroponic Gardening - What is It?

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There is no doubt that the average horticulturalist and gardening is used to getting dirty. After all, they are constantly rooting around in soil, applying pesticides and fertilizers. They often plant, divide, and plant again. They do this so they can see and eat the nutritious and lovely plants they've grown. What if these values could be gained without ever having to come into contact with soil of any kind?

Hydroponics is the science of growing healthy plants without the use of soil. The most common medium used for this is water. There are definitely definitions that are more technically accurate, but for the occasional teacher, home gardener, or hobbyist, this definition is fitting.

But how is such a thing even possible? Don't plants need soil for nutrition, heat, support, water and all the other things they need to grow and reproduce? Not necessarily.

Plants definitely do need water. But they needn't get it from the soil, even though that's one of the most common methods. Even in nature, some plants grow in sand, gravel or even on the surface or underneath a body of water.

Plants need a certain amount of energy, in the form of sunlight and/or heat from their surroundings. But soil warmed by sunlight isn't the only way to get that. Direct sunlight still works on leaves, the same way it does for plants in soil. Leaving the upper part of a plant exposed to sunlight supported by a string atop a container will allow vital photosynthesis to occur. As with nearly anything in botany, there are exceptions. Some plants survive and reproduce with no light, though they still need some energy to drive biochemical reactions.

However, there artificial ways to support these plants that work very well. Some of these methods include using string or ice cream sticks that have been glued to the top of the container.

One of the most important factors to growing a healthy plant is undoubtedly nutrients. Potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and a number of trace elements like iron, copper, and zinc are essential to plant growth. The usual way of obtaining these nutrients is by absorption from the surrounding soil. However, there are a variety of ways that the plants can receive the necessary nutrients.

One very effective method would be to immerse the plants roots in water that contains liquid nutrients. There are other methods as well. People that are involved in hydroponic gardening house their plants in an enclosure that will retain moisture. The roots are sprayed frequently with a mister that contains a nutrients solution. This method does cross into an area that is known as aeroponics.

Hydroponics can be used to grow a wide variety of plants: strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and many non-fruit or vegetable plants, such as orchids. The list is long. Thousands of species can thrive without soil, provided they're cared for properly. That effort can be fun and instructive. It can also produce beautiful or nutritious plants without many of the drawbacks of soil-grown plants.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: David P Lee
See our site for giant tropical Hibiscus. www.plumeriatreasure.com

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