Hydroponics is a form of gardening that uses other mediums besides soil. Therefore, you can maintain a flourishing garden by using water or one of the various mediums to stimulate root growth. This form of gardening has been around for several millennia and is depicted in such legendary gardens as the Gardens of Babylon and the Floating Gardens of China. However, scientists did not begin experimenting with this kind of gardening until about 1950.
Interestingly, contrary to popular belief, hydroponics has been proven to provide several advantages to gardeners and landscapers over traditional gardening. For example, the growth rate of a hydroponic plant is about 40% faster than a plant produced in the soil, but it is cultivated under similar conditions. Yields of plants are also greater by comparison.
Why Hydroponics is a Better Form of Gardening
Researchers believe that there are a number of reasons for the distinct differences between soil and hydroponic plants. The extra oxygen, using hydroponics, assists in stimulating growth. Plants that receive ample oxygen absorb nutrients faster too. That is because a plant does not have to search within the soil for the nutrients it needs. The nutrients are delivered, instead, several times during the day.
Thy hydroponic plant also needs very little energy to break down food. Therefore, the plan uses the saved energy to grow at a faster rate. Hydroponic plants or the plants that are found in a water garden also suffer less from fungus, disease or infestation. As a result, any water plants are normally healthier overall.
Hydroponics or water gardening also provides several environmental benefits. Gardening of this type uses much less water and pesticides are not used as readily as they are on soil-based plants. Topsoil erosion is not an issue either. Therefore, not only is hydroponics used in producing a variety of beautiful floral plants, it can be used for crop production too.
If you grow plants in a pond, you also must make sure you use the right filtration system for the pond. Otherwise, dirt and algae can collect and ruin the pH and looks of the water. Not only is it important to know how to grow plants in a watery garden, but it is also essential to maintain the water so it is healthy and safe for growing plants. Maintaining the ecological balance will help the plants you plant and grow thrive. Filtration systems are featured online through sites such as Water-Garden in the UK.
Grow Rocks in Hydroponics
The purpose of a growing medium is to support the root system of a plant and aerate the soil. The medium is also used to channel the nutrients and water. Different growing mediums work out well in various kinds of hydroponic systems. Grow rocks are used, such as expanded shale or a clay aggregate. The expanded shale tends to break down more often and therefore may not last as long as an aggregate of clay. Grow rocks of this kind are exceptionally stable and hardly affect the pH of a nutrient solution.
Types of Containers
Several kinds of pots can be used in a water garden for aquatic type plants. Whilst many kinds of containers will work, some pots are better than others. The best way to select the best container is to acknowledge the differences.
Pots with drainage holes can be made of terracotta, plastic, etc. These kinds of containers are usually utilised for planting terrestrial plants. Because soil is not used, pots with drainage holes are not used in hydroponics. If these kinds of pots are used in a pond, the holes can cause the soil to escape into the water. This not only can make a mess of a pond but also encourage the growth of algae.
Whilst containers with drainage holes are affordable, they definitely cannot be used for water gardening.
No-hole Aquatic Baskets
For planting plants in a pond, it is better to use no-hole aquatic baskets made of plastic mesh. However, just as with pots with holes, the openings in the baskets may allow soil inside the pot to leech out in the water. Better to go with no-hole pots for use in water gardens. These pots are not only easy to use but also simple to transport. If you use these containers, it is important not to allow the water level to drop below the container’s top.
Fabric pots are the second type of pot for a water garden. These pots mix the best features of baskets and no-hole pots. The material is woven tightly. Therefore, soil will not leak into the pond’s water. The pots can also be adjusted in height. Simply roll the fabric’s edges down if the container is too high. Compared to no-hole pots, fabric pots are more challenging to transport and are more expensive.
Aquatic mediums can be made of grow rocks, such as expanded shale or clay. Clay is especially useful in a water gardening setting as if not only anchors plants, it hold the nutrients. However, be careful, as too much clay can hamper root growth.
Sand, another medium, is useful in anchoring shorter plants. It can hold some nutrients but not to the same extent as clay-based soils. Gravel, like sand, can hold shorter plants, but does not retain nutrients very well. Whilst gravel is ideal for filtration, it is not a good choice for plant fertilisation.
Potting soil, used for terrestrial plantings, is not recommended for water gardening. The soil contains too many organics and is too light to adequately anchor plants.
Fibre rolls, such as coconut fibre or rockwool may be used for some plants. However, the medium is not suggested for retention of nutrients and can only be used as an anchor for shorter plants. Rockwool was once used as insulation at construction sites. Unlike the insulation type of rockwool, horticultural rockwool is made into blocks or cubes and is created from limestone and volcanic rock. Rockwool holds around 12 times more water than soil and retains approximately 20% air. The hydroponic medium is used primarily for plant propagation.
Other common growing mediums for aquaculture plants include perlite, different types of sand, and vermiculite. These kinds of mediums are stale and hardly ever affect the pH in a nutrient solution. Given that these mediums hold a good deal of moisture, they should be used with plants that can tolerate these kinds of conditions. Whilst these options are inexpensive, they usually are not the most efficient growing mediums.