The next time someone tells you that the single most important part of plant growth is soil, tell them they’re wrong. Of course, the quality of the soil is very important when you’re planting vegetables and fruits, but soil is not actually crucial for a plant’s growth. However, water is.
During the 1900s, it was learned that inorganic ions in water are the important mineral nutrients that are absorbed by plants. Soil does fulfill the role of a mineral nutrient reservoir in nature, but it is not required for plant growth. When those essential mineral nutrients are brought into a plant’s water supply through an artificial method, soil is not really needed for the plant’s growth. That’s what hydroponic gardening is all about.
Hydroponic gardening can be quite challenging, especially when you first give it a shot, but it’s also very rewarding after you learn the basics. Once you’ve chosen your indoor grow lights, understood the different types of hydroponic systems and learned some of the skills of indoor gardening, you may find this method just as or even more enjoyable than outdoor gardening.
Among the many components of this comprehensive system of gardening are the nutritional and lighting requirements of the specific plants that you’ve decided to grow, and developing a feeding plan prior to planting.
For people such as me who don’t have as much patience as they used to, one of the things that I consider a big advantage with hydroponic gardening is the unusually fast growth rates that occur. This is made possible by the plant not having to grow roots down into soil to mine for food.
Among the different hydroponic growing systems are hand watering, the reservoir method, the flood and drain method, the drip system, the nutrient film technique, the wick system, and aeroponics. Instead of soil, you can grow your plants in an inert medium, such as rockwool, expanded clay pellets, perlite, perlite/vermiculite mix, perlite/coconut coir mix, or volcanic rock chips.
Have you tried hydroponic gardening yet? If so, what have your experiences been with this very different method? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them? I’d love to hear from you about this interesting subject.