Hydroponics is, simply put, growing plants without soil.
Instead, plants are grown with nutrients dissolved in water, and they absorb the nutrients through their roots.
Hydroponic growers use a variety of techniques to get the best results.
Some growers use complex nutrient solutions, called nutrient mixes. Others grow plants in vertical, hydroponic gardens. Still, others use wicking beds, which involve keeping a layer of water above the growing medium.
Regardless of the technique used, hydroponic growers have to make sure their plants get everything they need.
- Plants absorb nutrients through their roots.
- Different nutrients are absorbed in different rates.
- Plants need specific nutrients at different stages of their growth cycles.
- Hydroponic growers have to use multiple nutrient solutions, or nutrient mixes, to get the best results.
- The nutrients in a nutrient mix may be delivered in two, three, or more stages.
Hydroponic growing is a form of plant cultivation in which plants are grown in water containing nutrient solutions. Hydroponic techniques have been used since ancient times, but the modern practice emerged in Europe as early as the seventeenth century.
Hydroponic growing has the advantages of growing plants in controlled environments, and not using soil or peat. Hence, hydroponics enables the year-round production of crops and has the potential to produce larger crops than can be grown using soil.
Hydroponic systems can be indoors, outdoors, or in greenhouses. Indoors, they are most often located in warehouses or old factories. Often they are suspended from ceilings or raised on frames. These systems are often fully automated and controlled by computers.
Indoors, most hydroponic systems are suspended from ceilings or raised frames. The plants grow in large, shallow trays filled with water, nutrient solutions, and a recirculating pump. The water and nutrient solutions are usually delivered from a reservoir. Plants roots are suspended in the water, and nutrients are delivered to the roots by capillary action.
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