Hydroponic Gardening – Grow Organic Plants Fast

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Soil in which a plant grows serves two purposes. One, it anchors the plant to protect from above ground hazards.

Two, the soil provides the plant with the nutrients it needs to keep growing. Hydroponics, however, can replace the soil while providing the support the plant needs. 

Fertilizers are mixed into the water at certain levels to keep the plant growth cranking along.

What is Hydroponics? 

Hydroponic production is soilless plant production. Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics. However, all aquaponics is hydroponics, but not all hydroponics is aquaponics.

Hydroponics is a process that involves using a formulated nutrient solution. Instead of using fish waste as aquaponics systems do, fertilizer is used in hydroponic farming.

Fertilizers are mixed into the water at certain levels to keep the plant growth cranking along.

What’s the Process? 

Hydroponics farming is way easier than aquaponics. Plants grown hydroponically are not planted in conventional soil, unlike so many other agricultural crops. Instead, the roots are submerged in an inorganic growing medium. Nutrient-rich water is then applied to the roots of the plant. 

Nowadays, hydroponic kits are readily available, which allows you to grow organic plants in your home. You just need to add a few tablespoons of the nutrient solution to the water,  and the pump will circulate it for the plants to use. In this regard, this process is a lot easier than aquaponics. 

Hydroponics is much simpler than aquaponics because it uses a nutrient solution for the plants rather than fish you need to take care of.

You don’t have to worry about keeping fish alive, fish temperatures, maintaining proper stocking densities, and harvesting. We only need to worry about plants. Maintaining these systems is a straightforward process.

Think of it just as an aquaponic system without the fish production element. 

Importance of Soil and How Water Overcomes It 

You might be thinking about how a plant can thrive and survive without soil. To understand how hydroponically grown plants develop and mature, you need to know why soil supports a plant’s life. 

One of the most critical soil functions is its ability to retain water and nutrients and supply them to the plant’s roots. In hydroponics, an inorganic growing medium like Vermiculite, Perlite, Rockwool, or an expanded clay substrate supplies nutrients to the plants.

Alternatively, the plants can also be placed in a simple container without any substrate, or they can float on the water itself. The plant’s nutrient demands are then met through regular applications of a nutrient solution to the plant’s root zone. 

Hydroponic Methods 

A beginner can get easily confused and overwhelmed with all the variations of the hydroponic method. So let’s take a look at the different hydroponic applications that you can try out:

1. The Nutrient Film Technique

In this setup, plants are placed in sloping hollow pipes or channels. Nutrified water is continuously pumped through the channels over the root system.

There is no need for an additional growing medium like Vermiculite or Rockwell. The NFT is a closed system that recirculates water throughout the channels by pumping it first to the upper or higher ends of the channels that then flows down the slope.  

2. Wick Systems

This is one of the simplest hydroponic setups and is perfect for beginners. A reservoir of nutrient-enriched water is placed underneath the plants. There is a wick that extends from the growing medium downwards into the reservoir.

The water moves through capillary action from the reservoir into the growing medium and keeps the roots nourished and moist. Very little special equipment is needed for this design, and it is very easy to DIY with some buckets, rope, and a drill. 

3. Urban Flow, Also Known as the Flood and Drain System

Plants embedded in a growing medium are placed over a reservoir filled with nutrient water. A pump periodically forces the water into the section housing the plants.

The pump is then turned off, and the water gradually flows back into the reservoir. This is another simple technique, and apart from the pump and piping, little expert equipment is required for success.

4. Deep Water Culture

Here, plants are placed in pots with growing media or lightweight covers that float on the water’s surface. The plant’s roots then grow into the water.

A pump oxygenates the water to keep the roots healthy, but no other mechanization is required apart from that. This makes the deep water culture system great for beginners or DIY projects.

5. Drip Systems 

This technique uses drip lines and a pump that transports water from an underlying reservoir into the growing media, encasing the plants above.

Usually, a dripper is allocated to each plant, allowing for the fine-tuning of nutrient concentrations and watering intensity. The water can be recycled, which saves time and money, or it can be siphoned out of the system, which maintains the optimal nutrient concentrations in the reservoir.

6. Aeroponics

Here, plants are suspended in the air vertically or horizontally. A pump then delivers a misting of nutrient media to the plants’ roots at scheduled intervals or continuously depending on the plant’s needs.

This is a more advanced system requiring pumps, misters, and timers, among other equipment, and should only be considered by expert growers to make the investment worthwhile.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroponics 

No matter the type of hydroponic system you decide on, you will always have to consider the advantages and disadvantages before you start your production. 

Let’s start with the positives of growing plants hydroponically.


1. Can be Done Almost Anywhere 

You can set up a hydroponic operation, big or small, almost anywhere because no soil is needed. You can grow a considerable number of plants indoors even.

You can maximize your yield because the roots of hydroponically grown plants are kept compact. This is possible because when plants are provided with the perfect amount of water and nutrients, roots do not need to grow in search of more.

You will also be free from the constraints of poor soil conditions and environmental pollutants, allowing you to produce almost any herb or leafy vegetable anywhere.

2. Saves Money Spent on Water and Nutrients 

The money saved on water and nutrient inputs is another advantage offered to hydroponic growers in conventional agriculture. Most of the water and nutrients applied to the plants are lost through drainage runoff and evaporation in hydroponics.

This problem is overcome by using the exact amount of water and nutrients needed by the plants. The savings are further improved in circulatory hydroponic systems as the same water is pumped through the system repeatedly.


1. Commercial Operations Can be Expensive to Start 

Every grower needs to consider the expenses before they start. While a small backyard setup may not be too costly, a commercial hydroponics operation’s startup costs will be expensive.

Therefore, you will need to make sure that you have a solid business plan and contingencies in case of some unforeseen obstacles. This may be a barrier for small-scale farmers who cannot afford the initial investment or can’t get a loan. 

2. Power and Water Outages can Cause Large Scale Losses 

The risk posed by power and water outages is significant because the plant’s roots are not anchored in soil. Prolonged periods without water or nutrient applications will be devastating and result in large-scale losses.

Therefore, it is wise to invest in generators and boreholes if you are a commercial grower.


In conclusion, there are so many benefits of growing your plants hydroponically. If you are interested in starting a small-scale backyard operation, then do not hesitate.

However, if you are looking to go big or expand your production, more time and thought will be needed in developing a business strategy, a budget, and a contingency plan before you take that leap.

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