About UsGrow InformationGrow VideosContact UsCheckout
Lights & BulbsEnvironmental ControllersHydro SystemsPackage SystemsNutrientsMiscellaneousPest & Disease Control
Lights & BulbsEnvironmental ControllersHydro SystemsPackage SystemsNutrientsMiscellaneousPest & Disease ControlHome
 
 
 
 
Hydroponic Questions and Answers

What is hydroponics?

Why grow hydroponically at all?

What are the advantages of hydroponics over soil?

What kind of plants can be grown hydroponically?

Can hydroponic plants be organic?

Wil the flavor of hydroponic produce compare to veggies from my outdoor, organic garden?

 

  Introduction to Hydroponics
  Overview
A Brief History
How to Grow Hydroponically
Growing Medium
Light
Nutrients
Ventilation and Carbon Dioxide
Temperature
Our Package Systems
 
  What is hydroponics?
 

Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil. Instead of nutrients in the soil, plants thrive on a nutrient solution which contains the minerals that the plants need. So, rather than searching throughout the soil for minerals, your plants are able to get nutrients easily, directly from the nutrient solution. Grow media -- such as gravel, peat, vermiculite, Perlite, coco, old rubber tires, rockwool or expanded clay aggregates -- is often used to support the plants and their root systems and perhaps to hold moisture around the roots. The growing medium is not a source of nutrients in itself.

back to top return to faqs
  Why grow hydroponically at all?
 

Hydroponic gardening is an easy, environmentally sound way to grow a wide variety of healthy plants. It offers numerous benefits including:

  • Plants grow up to 50% faster than in soil because they have easy access to food and water.
  • It is possible to garen indoors all year round
  • Nutrients are directly available to plants and don't get bound up
  • Little or no pesticides are necessary. Plants start out in a disease-free medium.
  • Smaller containers can be used because the roots can grow without being rootbound
  • Gardening is possible where it would not be normally e.g. poor soil, rocky areas, even balconies. With the use of artificial lighting it is even possible to successfully garden in a spare room or garage.
  • Less labor is required than growing in soil because no digging or weeding is required.
  • Since plants do not need to compete for nutrients, more can be grown in a smaller area.
  • The increased control over growing conditions makes it easier to provide the best possible environment for plants, leading to better quality produce and higher yields.
  • Fast growing healthy plants grown by hydroponic methods are more resistant to pests and diseases.
  • You will also notice improved flavor and texture in hydroponically grown fruit and veggies
back to top return to faqs
  What are the advantages of hydroponics over soil?
 

Plants grown in hydroponic systems maintain optimum nutrient and moisture levels, so they grow faster and healthier. And no soil means no weeds and no soil-born pests or diseases. Another advantage is that root systems stay smaller on hydroponically grown plants, allowing the plant to focus its growth energy on producing plant mass rather than roots. This means you can have more plants per square foot of growing space. And since hydroponic plants never get root bound, they don't need to be repotted. Hydroponic produce has a longer shelf life than soil grown produce.

back to top return to faqs
  What kind of plants can I grow with hydroponics?
 

Just about anything, although some plants are more delicate or require more space than others. Here some of the veggies we suggest: tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, squash, snow peas, beans, spinach, lettuce, chard, hot chilies, and broccoli. Also, you can grow all kinds of herbs, flowers and house plants in your hydroponic garden.

back to top return to faqs
  Can hydroponic plants be organic?
 

Yes. Although the two growing methods were at one time thought to be incompatible, there is common ground. Hydroponic growing is based on immediate and 100% nutrient availability. Organic fertilizers typically break down over a period of time via bacterial action in the soil. There are many hydroponic nutrients on the market that are made from organic materials, and as the science progresses, more and more organic options are being put forward. The best organic nutrient on the market right now is the Botanicare Line.

back to top return to faqs
  Will the flavor of hydroponic produce compare to veggies from my outdoor, organic garden?
 

Don't be surprised if your hydroponic vegetables taste better than the ones from your garden. Because hydroponically grown plants get everything they need, when they need it and without stress they are able to grow much healthier than their organic cousins. Remember with soil, important micronutrients are often "locked away" where your plants cannot take full advantage of them. That's why hydroponics is so great! You have complete control over the type and quantity of minerals your plants are feeding on. This advantage often produces fruits and vegetables that are far superior to organic produce in taste, color, size and even, nutritional value. You will also get more than you ever have before!

back to top return to faqs
 
 

Overview
Hydroponics is simply the growing of plants without soil. Plants are grown in an inert medium and fed a solution containing a perfected mix of primary, secondary and micro-nutrients. Hydroponics makes it possible to grow plants in locations where it had not previously been possible, for example on rooftops, or in rocky, barren locations. With the use of an appropriate HID lamp, it is even possible to grow successfully indoors.

Almost any kind of plant can be grown hydroponically, and because plants have access to the exact nutrients they need, they respond by growing more rapidly while producing bigger yields. Field tests have shown that hydroponically grown produce is packed with more vitamins and minerals than soil grown, either organic or non-organic. Not only are nutritional values higher, but the flavors are also outstanding. Since plants start out in a disease and pest free medium, little or no pesticides
are necessary.

back to top return to products
 

A Brief History
Although hydroponics is the farming method of the future, it has been utilized for hundreds and hundreds of years by many different kinds of people. 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.

Over the last hundred years, scientist and horticulturists have experimented heavily with hydroponics. The goal has been to grow fresh produce in areas of the world without soil. Hydroponics was used to feed troops in WWII, and it has been integrated into the space program. More recently it has been adopted by farmers and hobbyists who see the value of hydroponic growing, including the ability to produce higher yields, with less pesticides and less water waste.

back to top return to products
 

How to Grow Hydroponically
In order to have your own automated hydroponic system you need several key things; a reservoir to hold nutrient, a pump to circulate the nutrient, and growing trays and pots for the plants to be held in.

You can build your own system, and many growers do, using miscellaneous equipment from a hydro shop and the local hardware store. Or you can choose to purchase a pre-buit system. Hydroponic systems can range in price and sophistication from under a $100 to several thousand. It all depends on the scale at which you intend to grow and the environment you need to produce for your plants.

If you wish to grow only one or two plants, we suggest a smaller scale system such as the SoloGro, the WaterFarm or the Baby Bloomer.The SoloGro comes equipped to hold four plants. The Baby Bloomer comes equipped to grow up to six plants. But one or two plants would do GREAT in any of these systems. If you wish to grow six to eight plants, you might check out the MicroGardens. If you are looking for eight large plants, we suggest a WaterFarm™ Kit which consists of eight planters and a large master nutrient controller.

Another option would be the American Hydroponics 3x3 ebb & flow System. You can fit many smaller plants in the 3x3 trays, or you could fit ten larger plants.

If you wish to go the absolute cheapest route, you can always hand water your plants in a mixture of perlite and vermiculite. This is still hydroponic and will still yeald better than handwatered soil plants. If you wish to go this route, Check out Ready-Gro® Potting Mix .

back to top return to products
 

Growing Medium
An inert growing medium is used in the pots to support plants and protect roots from the sunlight. It gives the roots something to hold on to. Plants need air just as much as they need water, and the key element to a successful grow medium is its ability to hold an abundant amount of oxygen as well as ample amounts of water. A grow medium must drain well and provide good conduction of nutrient and moisture to the root zone. Common materials are expanded clay (Hydroton) and Rockwool, but sand, gravel, or a mixture of perlite and vermiculite can be used as well.
Click here to learn more about choosing a grow medium.

back to top return to products
 

Light
Light is not an issue for outdoor plants, but in order for sun-loving plants to thrive indoors, artificial light of the correct spectrum and intensity must be supplied. This is accomplished with High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights. There are two types of HID lights, Metal Halides (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS), and they both cover a different part of the light spectrum. MH lights reproduce the blue end of the spectrum and are used for young plants in the vegetative state as well as for leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. HPS lights are used for plants which will eventually produce fruit or flowers, such as tomatoes or roses.
Click herefor more information about horticultural lighting and how to choose the best light for your needs.

back to top return to products
 

Nutrients
Proper nutrient formulation is essential to hydroponics. All minerals that the plants need are dissolved in water which is then circulated through the system to the plants. The nutrient solution is monitored for both pH level and nutrient levels which are maintained at optimum levels. The pH of a solution selects what nutrients will be readily absorbed by a plant’s root system and should be adjusted according to what plants are being grown.
Click here for more information about Nutrient and pH.

back to top return to products
 

Ventilation and Carbon Dioxide
The current of air that circulates around plants is as important in a grow space as light, water, or nutrients. Proper ventilation removes excess heat and humid air, while providing plants with healthy supplies of CO2, which plants need to thrive. CO2 enrichment can be used to further increase plant health and vigor. Click here to learn more about ventilation and Carbon dioxide.

back to top return to products
 

Temperature
Plants are heat and cold sensitive just like people. Most indoor grow rooms get plenty of heat from the lamps, although greenhouses often need heating in the winter. In most situations, proper venting can keep temperatures from getting too high, however if a room is running more than 3000 watts of light, and /or is employing CO2 enrichment, an air conditioner might be necessary.
Click here to learn more about temperature control in grow room environments.

back to top return to products
 

Our Package Systems
We have created a series of six different package systems on a scale of hobby to professional. Click on the links to see the first two of these systems, for a good idea of what your growing system might entail.

Package System 1
A great ebb & flow system for a beginning or small scale grower. Simple to set up and use, this system is ready to go right out of the box! We include just about everything you need to get started, including the hydroponic system, a pump, light and nutrient monitoring capabilities.

Package System 2 - Drip System or Ebb & Flow
This system is an upgraded version of the original starter set. It allows for more options and upgrades, and it may be ordered as either an ebb and flow OR a drip system. This is an excellent budget system with a few extra tools. It includes nutrient monitoring capabilities as well as a more powerful pump for greater aeration.

back to top return to products
 
Privacy PolicyShipping PolicyReturn PolicyPayment PolicyHydroponic LinksSite MapCheckoutGreenCoast Hydroponics Careers
   © 2006 GreenCoast Hydroponics site design: practically dutch