Growing up in America I knew the word hydroponics. It was, and still is, used to cultivate really good marijuana indoors making it harder for cops to bust you. My friends and I were never smart enough or motivated enough to try anything that technical. Plus we were all afraid of our parents. But now-a-days hydroponics is used as a really innovative way to cultivate crops such as lettuce, tomatoes and even peppers.

The reason Hydroponics got popular (apparently use began around 300 years ago) was due to the fact that hydroponically grown plants can grow indoors and use no soil.  Hydroponics are grown in a nutrient rich water based solution. This allows for the plant to grow smaller roots because the roots don’t have to stretch very far to obtain food or water. Less roots means less space. Less space means more productivity per garden. Also the water solution can be loaded with nutrients, like a plant on steroids, causing the plant to grow faster and stronger. Think of your plants and vegetables as Lance Armstrong…but without cancer…or cool wristbands.

A few more cool things about growing hydroponically is that it uses less water. The water, and the solution, remain in the system and can be reused. One website makes another great point:

(It) Lower(s) nutrition costs as it is possible to control the nutrition levels completely, because of this level of control there is no nutrition pollution

 I have no idea what that means, but it sounds amazing. Also little or no pesticides are needed. Especially if grown indoors or in a regulated greenhouse.

Now there are some things to worry about when growing hydroponically. One big concern is the temperature. Too hot or too cold and your crop is wasted. Hydroponic systems are not cheap. Set up and initial cost can be high and the plants don’t grow themselves like a traditional garden. You need to be skilled or have a skilled worker on site. Different plants can grow in the same water solution, which is great, but water based diseases can spread rather quickly. These types of gardens need to be tended to daily.

During my research I found amazing things about Hydroponics. The good points outweigh the bad for sure. But this is not just throwing seeds in a field and hoping something sprouts. This is science. Really cool science.

 

Interersted? For more info check out

http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110342/lessonplan/howtogrow.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics