About the Author: Today’s post is from Chris Wimmer of Health Smart Living. Chris is an urban hydroponic hobbyist who uses hydroponics to maximize his 400 square foot yard and extend the short Chicago growing season.
What is Hydroponics:
Translated from Greek or Latin, hydroponics means “working water”. However an easier way to explain this to a friend is gardening without dirt. Yes, that’s right. No dirt! The dirt is replaced with an inert medium such as rockwool, coco coir, or clay pellets. The plants receive their nutrient from a fortified water solution. This spoon feeding of nutrient to the plants let them grow bigger, faster, and healthier than their soil based counterparts.
Benefits of Hydroponics:
I’ve already mentioned my big 3 of Bigger, Faster, and Healthier but that’s just scratching the surface…
- You can create a growing area in very small or unique places that traditional gardens just don’t work very well. Examples include using a bare wall in your yard or a sunny window.
- Reduced labor. No more weeding and the watering system is completely automated.
- Save water. Hydroponic gardens only need 10% of the water of a conventional garden
- Less fertilizer. Hydroponic gardens only need 25% of the fertilizer of a soil based garden as nothing is lost due to run off
- Grow year around: Hydroponic gardens can be easily moved inside. The biggest adjustment you must back is to ensure the plants still receive plenty of light. This can be through a sunny window or a simple grow light. I made this light for less than $10 at Home Depot. (Recommended link: http://captainhydroponics.com/homemade-grow-light-dyi)
Common Hydroponic Systems:
Here are a few common hydroponic systems. While they may look drastically different at first, they actually are pretty similar and each operates with the same 2 key hydroponic principles: Delivering liquid nutrition directly to the plant root & Eliminating soil which can increase the risk of contamination.