What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is simply gardening in water without soil (to be precise: In a soil-less medium with highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water). It is a term devised in the middle of the last century but is an ancient technique, the Aztecs & Ancient Egyptians used reed beds and grew crops hydroponically in much the same way as modern farmers do today; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are among the first recorded examples of hydroponics in action. Commercial crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, capsicum and herbs are all grown hydroponically now. Both commercial and hobby growers alike benefit from the increased growth rates and yields that hydroponic systems have to offer. For a full history of hydroponics, click here
In soil we rely on micro-organisms to break down organic material into basic nutrient salts. When these salts are dissolved in water the plant absorbs them via the roots. For a plant to achieve optimal results the soil must be in perfect balance (i.e: contain the right amount of both macro/micro nutrients, water and biological activity). Unfortunately such conditions are rarely met and nigh on impossible to maintain.
In hydroponics, however, water is enriched with the same nutrient salts, but in the right concentrations to provide our favourite plants with everything they need. Maintenance is therefore easy as regular nutrient changes ensure the perfect balance of salts in a highly soluble and hence available form. When we couple this ideal nutrient schedule with a highly porous growing medium like rockwool, perlite, vermiculite or hydroton (grorocks) we achieve everything vital for healthy and vigorous growth. As a result of hydroponic plants having their food delivered directly to their roots, the energy normally used to develop long roots can be redirected into growing more plant matter.
In effect when gardening the soil-less way we create greener and healthier plants that have a 30% faster growth rate and hence a greatly increased yield. When you can eliminate disease, weeds, pests and the need to re-pot whilst still increasing plant numbers per square metre it is difficult to see why people still grow any other way!
Is it difficult?
It's as difficult as you want it to be really. We have very simple systems that require little knowledge or maintenance all the way through to computer controlled growing environments and cutting edge additives. Obviously: As ye sow, so shall ye reap and the more time, effort and resources you put into your hydro grow, the better the result you are likely to end up with. It takes very little to learn how to use a simple and cheap hydro system. In next to no time you will grow faster, healthier and higher yielding plants than you ever could in soil .
But you would say that...
Well yes....you could look at it that way. But we're here to help every step of the way. The better your experience of our products and customer service, the more likely you are to come back (and tell your friends). No question is too stupid or trivial, we are passionate about hydroponics and are happy to talk about it all day (great for a hydro shop...not so good at parties). We have helped many new growers with all the details, from deciding on their first purchase all the way through to their first successful harvest and with experience ranging from growing in small cabinets to supplying quality produce to supermarkets using acres of commercial systems, we're bound to have a couple of tips for even the most seasoned vets.