Hydroponics may sound like some form of alien technology or medical treatment, but despite its big name, hydroponics is a gardening practice that is easy, inexpensive and can extend your growing season year-round. Imagine adding fresh vegetables or herbs to your freeze dried food entrees or soups – especially in the dead of winter when you’re sick of root vegetables!
How It Works
In grade school most of us learned that a plant needs soil, sunlight, and water to grow. While true for the most part, technically what a plant needs is the nutrients in the soil. Through the magic of technology, specialized systems can be built which allow the plants to absorb these nutrients without the soil. When the soil is eliminated, the plants can redirect energy that would otherwise be spent on creating root systems on growing. In addition, growers can supercharge efficiency by providing exactly the things they need, rather than letting the vagaries of soil quality and weather deciding the outcome. The result is an ultra-efficient growing method that uses a fraction of the resources of traditional gardening or farming.
Why engage in hydroponic growth? After all, you already know how to plant. Well, there are a number of benefits. Imagine that you are an athlete looking to bring your game to the next level. If someone told you they could get you exactly the nutrients, proteins, and vitamins you need in a convenient pill, you’d most likely jump at that, right? By creating an ultra-efficient environment in which a plant can thrive, hydroponics does just that for your garden. The result is bigger, better plants in a smaller space. What’s not to love? In addition, hydroponics uses about ten percent of the amount of water of other methods, making it a slam-dunk in arid climates like Arizona, where the soil may not be optimal and water is scarce.
Most vegetables thrive in hydroponic systems. You can grow tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, spinach, kale, arugula and many others all winter long. Use a freeze dryer to supplement your year-round growing and keep your pantry stocked all year.
How To Get Started
Two of the things that make people hesitant to undertake hydroponic growing are the initial cost and the seemingly technical methods it employs. Though in the long term it is more likely you’ll be saving money with hydroponics, the start-up can be intimidating. Depending on what you want to do, there are a number of kits to get you started. Check out this simple one for the beginner all the way up to a more advanced system for the commercial grower. And if you’re on a budget, hydroponics are a do-it-yourselfer’s dream. The Internet is swirling with enthusiasts dedicated to sharing their knowledge of how to build your own system.
Now that you know just what hydroponics is, check it out. It may be the solution for you. A little research can get you started, and soon you’ll be growing fat, healthy, efficient vegetables.