Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in water and light. You can grow vegetables, flowers and fruits inside your home!

How do hydroponic systems work?

Instead of using soil that needs to be watered, the hydroponic system completely replaces soil with the mineral nutrient solution. Not needing soil for plants growing means that hydroponics also has some advantages.

Hydroponic systems advantages

  • hydroponics cultures can be done anywhere, regardless of the environment. Containers can be used to create hydroponic farms in the desert, or in the cold areas. In fact, hydroponics is also used by Nasa to grow plants in the space shuttles.
  • hydroponics use less water than the soil cultures
  • less pests and diseases to worry about as they are indoor systems
  • maximum yields are obtained as the environment is controlled and optimized for plants
  • less space needed (hydroponics can be developed in the so called vertical farms

Hydroponic systems disadvantages

  • produce is less tasty as sun and real soil conditions can’t be replicated
  • hydroponics might use light and electricity from non renewable sources
  • producing the nutrient solution is usually done from petroleum
  • some worries that the artificial nutrient solutions might not be healthy

Types of hydroponic systems

There are more types of hydroponic systems although all share the same principles of feeding the plants from a nutrient solution.

Deep water culture hydroponic systems

In this type of hydroponic system, the plant roots are placed in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. This hydroponic system is probably one of the easiest to DIY, as it mainly done by using plastic buckets with the plant placed in a net pot suspended on the lid. The easiest deep water culture hydroponic system is the Kratky method which is a passive hydroponics solution. Kratly passive as it is a non-circulating technique where no additional inputs of water or nutrients are needed after the original application, and no electricity, pumps, or water and oxygen circulation systems are required.

The wick hydroponic system

The wick hydroponic system is using the same idea of putting the plants above the nutrient solution but the plant roots are not placed directly in the nutrient solution. Instead, a system of wicks are bringing the nutrient solution from the bottom reservoir to the above plants.

Ebb and flow (flood and drain) hydroponic systems

As the name suggests, the ebb and flow hydroponic system consists in regularly flush the plant roots with nutrients and air. At regular intervals, a simple timer causes a pump to fill the plants tray with nutrient solution, after which the solution drains.

Nutrient film technique hydroponic systems

Nutrient film technique is a Continuous-flow solution culture. A very shallow stream of nutrient solution is recirculated in a thin layer past a bare root mat of plants in a watertight channel, with an upper surface exposed to air. Unlike with deep water culture hydroponics, a stream (or “film”) of nutrient solution flows over the ends of their roots.

Drip hydroponic systems

This system is similar with the watering drip systems used in regular agriculture. The aerated nutrient solution is pumped slowly through a network of tubes to individual plants. The quantity of the nutrient solution that is dripped is controlled precisely.

Aeroponics and fogponics hydroponic systems

Both aeroponics and fogponics are replacing the immersion of roots in various quantities of nutrient solution with an aerosol of nutrient solution. The method requires no substrate as the roots are suspended in air and the roots periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomized nutrients.

Hydroponics Substrates

All the hydroponics systems, (maybe except aeroponics) require some sort of substrate. The hydroponic substrate is meant as a support for the plant and also has an important role in bringing the nutrient solution to the plant roots.

There are a lot of hydroponic substrates:

  • rock wool is the most widely used medium in hydroponics
  • clay pellets
  • coconut Coir made from the outer husk of a coconut
  • perlite – a volcanic rock that has been superheated into very lightweight expanded glass pebbles
  • vermiculite – a mineral that has been superheated until it has expanded into light pebbles
  • sand and gravel
  • wool and cotton
  • polystyrene
  • sponges and other similar materials

More things about hydroponics

Hydroponics videos

September 21, 2022

Hydroponic Parsley

Hydroponic parsley together with basil, mint and cilantro is one of the common aromatic herbs you can grow on your kitchen counter using an easy to use hydroponic system.
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September 7, 2022

Hydroponic Cilantro – how to grow videos

Hydroponic Cilantro or Coriander is easy to grow at home and very rewarding. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds are coriander and the good news is that
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hydroponic mint growing
August 7, 2022

Hydroponic mint – how to grow your own

Hydroponic mint is one easiest hydroponic projects you could start. Mint is easy to start from cuttings, grows quickly and is not very nutrient demanding. They like full sun
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Basil Hydroponics for Beginners
June 15, 2022

Hydroponic basil for Beginners with videos

Growing hydroponic basil on your kitchen countertop has many advantages over growing outdoors. It’s easier to control the environment, and you can harvest fresh herbs whenever you need them.
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Hydroponic seeds germination
June 5, 2022

Hydroponic seed germination

Hydroponic seed germination is a crucial step in any hydroponic gardening. After all without plants you cant really do an gardening! But can you use any seeds for hydroponics?
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January 23, 2022

How to prune your hot peppers for increased production in hydroponics

Pruning hot peppers means trimming dead or overgrown branches or stems as a way to increase pepper production. There is a long debate if you should prune or not
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hydroponic tomatoes
January 13, 2022

Best tomato for indoor hydroponics

Choosing the best tomato for indoor hydroponics has to take into account of the indoor hydroponics limitations: space, height and time. If you plan to grow tomato indoors, maybe
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Make your own hydroponic solution
January 3, 2022

Make your own hydroponic nutrient solution

If you want to make your own hydroponic nutrient solution things are not so complicated. There are cheaper alternatives to Aerogarden parts A+ B, MaxiGro or Flora Series. First,
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hydroponic light
January 1, 2022

Best hydroponic lights for the beginner

Choosing the best hydroponic lights is not so easy when you are a hydroponic beginner. Different plants need different lightning solutions and purchase costs and running costs are an
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DIY hydroponic system
December 25, 2021

How can you make a cheap DIY hydroponic system?

Sure, you can go with the ready made hydroponics systems like Aerogarden or ClickandGrow, but this might not be a cheap solution for anything bigger than growing herbs. What
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October 31, 2021

150 Days Time- Lapse Twilight Chili

Seemingly Forever Timelapse from Germany brings us a 150 days hydroponic hot pepper time-lapse. The Twilight Chili is a chili hybrid of the Thai ornamental pepper, created at New
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October 16, 2021

Aerogarden Hydroponic Tomatoes Timelapse

Is Aerogarden tall enough to raise tomatoes? This is the question I always asked myself, seeing Aerogardens used mostly for herbs. Matt Robinson brings us a tomato timelapse for
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kratky lettuce
October 11, 2021

Growing lettuce using the Kratky Hydroponic method

Lettuce is amongst the easiest plants to grow using Kratky hydroponics at home. Kratky Lettuce grows amazingly fast so you will see the results of hydroponic growing very quickly.
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October 3, 2021

Preventing root rot in hydroponics

Old Planty shows us how the root rot looks like in a plant in hydroponics. Root rot can happen even to soil cultures, but it’s easier to happen in
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Kratky strawberries
October 2, 2021

Kratky Strawberries – hydroponic strawberry growing

Growing Kratky strawberries can be as easy as placing strawberry runners in a plastic container with hydroponic solution. You can also grow strawberries indoors What are the best strawberries
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