Edward's Garden Center

Forty Fort, PA

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Try something new this year: Hydroponics

Looking for a new type of gardening to add to your repertoire? Maybe something you can start during the winter and carry through the year?

Why not try hydroponics?

OK, so many of your are probably saying, what is hydroponics and why would I want to invest time and money into it?

In simple terms, hydroponics is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid (or other mediums), with added nutrients but without soil. Hydro is Latin for water and Ponos means works or labor. Water works! The main principles of hydroponics are increased oxygen to the root zone and liquid feed delivered directly to roots. These factors result in increased growth rates and increased yields when compared to tradition soil gardens where much lower oxygen and often nutrient levels are present. (http://www.hydroponics.com/faqs/)

Gardening experts that have successfully grown food and plants using hydroponics, say that the food is of better quality and more plentiful than the food grown using a traditional method.

To begin your own hydroponic garden, you will need to do a little research and spend some money.

You can purchase a beginners hydroponic kit online or you can put your own kit together depending on what you need. Before you purchase your kit, decide what kind and how many plants you want to grow. You should probably start out small, growing just one variety of plant.

You will also need to decide on a medium in which to grow your plants. Those mediums range from fiberglass to sand and from fired clay balls to nothing at all. Several branches of hyrdoponics include aeroponics (using air as the grow medium), aquaponics etc.

After doing some research you will learn that there are a few methods for creating hydroponic systems. The less expensive, yet still effective method, is a bubbler system. In this method, keep your pots filled with your choice of medium just barely above your nutrient solution level — then keep the solution well aerated. The popping of the air bubbles will keep your medium moist.

Other methods are the ebb and flow method, where you temporarily flood your plants and then let them drain; the NFT  or nutrient film technique – where you stream a thin layer of nutrient solution over the roots (method common in professional systems); aeroponics and drip systems.

Whichever method you chose, know that there is some extra time involved with beginning this new hobby. Once you get the hang out of it, growing through hydroponics is easy!

Here are some other links that you may want to use as resources before you start:

If you decide to try any of these systems, please leave us a note and let us know how do!