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Hydroponics & Horticulture  
Introduction to Hydroponics

"Hydroponics is a tailored solution to optimise your plant growth".

Hydroponics by definition, means 'water-working." In practical use, it means growing plants in a water and nutrient solution, without soil.
Hydroponics allows a gardener to grow plants in a more efficient and productive manner with less labour and time required.

You can tailor the nutrients your plants need so they will grow more rapidly and produce bigger yields.

Studies have been proven that hydroponic produce is higher in nutritional value than field grown crops.

You can control your own plant cycles and don't have to rely on seasonal or weather changes.

Science behind hydroponics  

The science of hydroponics proves that soil isn't required for plant growth but the elements, minerals and nutrients that soil contains are. Soil is simply the holder of the nutrients, a place where the plant roots traditionally live and a base of support for the plant structure.

In hydroponics you provide the exact nutrients your plants need, so they can develop and grow. The nutrients are fed directly at the root base, never stressing the plant due to lack of nutrients or water.

Virtually any plant will grow hydroponically, but some will do better than others. Hydroponics growing is ideal for fruit bearing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, leafy crops, like lettuce and herbs and flowing plants. Most hobby hydroponic gardeners plant crops similar to what they would grow in a soil garden.

Most commercial hydroponic growers combine hydroponic technology with a controlled environment to achieve the highest quality produce. Within a green- house structure you can control the ambient temperature, humidity and light levels allowing you to grow on a year- round basis.

A few of the advantages of choosing hydroponics are:

> No Weeds.
> Eliminate all soil borne disease.
> No water is wasted.

Planting can be intensive, allowing you to grow more plants in a given space.

A hydroponic garden can be set up almost anywhere.

For propagating trays click here..



History of Hydroponics Click here for the Science...

Hydroponics basically means working water ("hydro" means "water" and "ponos" means "labour"). Many different civilisations have utilised hydroponic growing techniques throughout history.

As noted in Hydroponic Food Production (Fifth Edition, Woodbridge Press, 1997, page 23) by Howard M. Resh: "The hanging gardens of Babylon , the floating gardens of the Aztecs of Mexico and those of the Chinese are examples of 'Hydroponic' culture.

Egyptian hieroglyphic records dating back several hundred years B.C. describe the growing of plants in water."

Hydroponics is hardly a new method of growing plants. However, giant strides have been over the years in this innovative area of agriculture.

Throughout the last century, scientists and horticulturists experimented with different methods of hydroponics. One of the potential applications of hydroponics that drove research was for growing fresh produce in non-arable areas of the world. It is a simple fact that some people cannot grow in the soil in their area (if there is even any soil at all). This application of hydroponics was tested during World War II. Troops stationed on non-arable islands in the Pacific were supplied with fresh produce grown in locally established hydroponic systems.

Later in the century, hydroponics was integrated into the space program. As NASA considered the practicalities of locating a society on another planet or the Earth's moon, hydroponics easily fit into their sustainability plans. This research is ongoing.

But by the 1970s, it wasn't just scientists and analysts who were involved in hydroponics.

Traditional farmers and eager hobbyists began to be attracted to the virtues of hydroponic growing.

A few of the positive aspects of hydroponics include:

. The ability to produce higher yields than traditional, soil-based agriculture

. Allowing food to be grown and consumed in areas of the world that cannot support crops in the soil

. Eliminating the need for massive pesticide use (considering most pests live in the soil), effectively making our air, water, soil, and food cleaner

Commercial growers are flocking to hydroponics like never before. The ideals surrounding these growing techniques touch on subjects that most people care about, such as helping end world hunger and making the world cleaner. In addition to the extensive research that is going on, everyday people from all over the world have been building (or purchasing) their own systems to grow great-tasting, fresh food for their family and friends. Educators are realizing the amazing applications that hydroponics can have in the classroom. And ambitious individuals are striving to make their dreams come true by making their living in their backyard greenhouse, selling their produce to local markets and restaurants.

And now that so many people from so many different walks of life are involved in hydroponics and its associated disciplines (such as aeroponics and aquaponics), progress is coming faster than ever before.

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Advantages of Hydroponics

There are many advantages of hydroponic growing...

Most hobby hydroponics gardens are less work than soil gardens because you do not have soil to till or weeds to pull.
By eliminating the soil in a garden, you eliminate all soil borne disease
A hydroponic garden uses a fraction of the water that a soil garden does because no water is wasted or consumed by weeds.
In hydroponics, plant spacing can be intensive, allowing you to grow more plants in a given space than soil grown produce.
A small hydroponics garden can be set up almost anywhere.
By providing the exact nutrients your plants need, they will grow more rapidly and produce bigger yields.
In studies it has been proven that hydroponic produce is higher in nutritional value than field grown crops.
Hydroponics produce generally tastes better than field-grown produce.
If you are growing indoors or in a greenhouse, you can grow your hydroponic plants on a year-round basis.
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