Hydroponics is a highly discussed subject right now, and for good reason. It allows you to grow food and other plants in a safe, well-managed, contained environment and without the need for toxic chemicals used in traditional soil-based farming. But how does hydroponics work? Yes,it’s an alternative to traditional gardening, but how do you grow plants, produce, and vegetables in this way?
If that’s the question on your mind, we have the answer. Imagine producing more crops and using less water, than with traditional farming and gardening methods. Allowing you to save resources. In this article, you are going to learn just that.
What is Hydroponics Anyway?
We briefly touched on this earlier, but here is a more formal explanation. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. Instead, nutrient-rich water is all that is used for your plants. You no longer need to cultivate your soil to plant your plants.
How Does Hydroponics Work?
When you begin the steps to growing your plants with hydroponics there are several ways you can approach it. Just like most things, there is more than one way to do it. The general idea of how this works starts with the root of your plants.
When you select and begin using the hydroponic system, the first thing you must do is make sure the roots of your plant come in contact with the nutrient-rich water. What do we mean by nutrient-rich? Plants take nutrients from soil when grown in a traditional way. In order to mimic these behaviors with hydroponics, specific nutrients a plant needs must be added to water—creating a solution the roots of the plant will use for food.
When the plants begin to use the water, the roots will grow. Naturally, the water will decrease and create space between the base of the plant and the water; the space created is where the oxygen the plant needs in order to grow is created.
In the seventeenth century, John Woodward an English scientist discovered hydroponics, he grew mint leaves with the absence of soil in 1699. He is considered by many to be the father of hydroponics. Keep in mind he did not have the technology we have today, leading us into the choices available for you to hydroponically grow your plants.
How Many Hydroponic Systems Are There?
Today it’s rare to be the first in anything, John Woodward paved the way. But now there are many ways to grow your plants, and it only depends on how complicated you want to make it. You can grow vegetables in your home with the Kratky method, which requires no electricity, or you can get extreme and grow enough food for your entire neighborhood.
Let’s touch on just a few hydroponic systems you can use to get started easily.
There are seven different ways you can use hydroponics to grow your garden. We will touch on the three simplest methods to get you started. If you want to learn more read our other in-depth articles. Let’s get into how hydroponics works with these methods.
Kratky Method – This is a way to grow plants, in the most minimalistic way. All you need is a base container, like a milk carton, or a milk jug, the nutrients for your water and your plants. Normally lettuce and other simple vegetables are grown with the Kratky method. It’s a set it and forget it method, great for beginners.
Wick System – This is also an easy system; it requires no moving parts just like the Kratky method. Start with a holding container that can hold 3 or 4 plants, then you have a wicking material the brings the solution to the plant, so the roots don’t have to touch the water.
Aeroponic System – This is a hydroponic system in where plants are hanging from something, suspended in mid-air and the roots are sprayed periodically with the nutrient-rich water. This method requires electricity because the nutrient spray is on a timer.
You can see how simple this can be, and you can reap the rewards of growing your food this way. The advantages of hydroponics are praised far and wide by the many people growing gardens this way. Food is healthier because of no chemical, you save time, you control exactly how much nutrients are provided to your plants, and you don’t need to concern yourself with soil and the headaches that come with growing a garden that way.
How does hydroponics work? It’s a way for plants to grow without soil. Enhancing the yield of what’s grown, creating a safer environment free of pesticides, and offering safer food to eat. In this article, you learned about hydroponics and some of the methods used to garden in this way.