What is a hydroponic garden?

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hydroponic strawberries
Growing delicious fruits and vegetables is the perfect choice for hydroponics
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Hydroponic gardening produces big results so it's valuable to know what it is

The need for hydroponic gardens are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. As it becomes more difficult to grow food sources due to higher demands and less available land, hydroponics offer an age-old solution. The word comes from two Greek words "hydro" meaning water and "ponics" meaning labor. Literally translated it suggests "working water." 

But just what is a hydroponic garden? Hydroponics is a process where light, temperature, water, oxygen, C02 (carbon dioxide) and nutrients are controlled when growing fruits and vegetables. 

Simply put, hydroponic systems allow plants to grow without soil. This concept in gardening is as old as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Plants are grown in water containing dissolved nutrients they would otherwise get from soil.

Starting your own hydroponic garden has several advantages over traditional gardens with some surprising results. There are some basic equipment and supply needs to take care of before starting your hydroponic garden, but once established you will reap the benefits year round. Here are just a few of the benefits of growing your vegetables in a "soil less" environment.

Growth rate

The growth rate is 30% to 50% greater than a seed planted in soil. Temperature, light and nutrients are controlled providing the best possible conditions for growth. For instance, a tomato seed planted under these ideal conditions with nutrients fed directly to their roots has a definite jump-start over a seed planted in the soil where conditions such as a late frost can not be controlled. 

Yield of plant

Plant yields have a tendency to be much greater. Extra oxygen is aerated around the root system allowing them to absorb nutrients faster. With nutrients fed directly to the root system, the plant expends little energy into searching for its food and goes straight to a higher quality production. Imagine getting twice the strawberries!

Ability to grow food year round

The ability to grow your own food or produce food for others year round has a nice ring to it! Traditional gardening requires some definite planning around harvest time. There are green beans to freeze and tomatoes to can and preserve to get through the winter months. Hydroponic gardening does not depend on the weather.

Fewer bug and pest infestations

Going soil less means fewer bug infestations in the garden area. Without dirt for bugs to burrow in, your vegetable and fruit plants are healthier and bear a bigger yield. Bigger yields and attractive unspoiled vegetables define what is a hydroponic garden. Who wants to find the notorious tomato worm on their prize tomatoes?

Environmental benefits

There are several environment friendly reasons to go "hydroponic." There is less use of water and fewer pesticides to put into the soil - running the risk of contaminating the ground water. Topsoil erosion would no longer be a problem from years of over gardening or farming. Gardening with a minimal space requirement is also convenient for those who live in the city or prefer indoor gardening where conditions are ideal.

Hydroponic gardening could be the long-term solution to producing more food for personal and commercial use. Requiring less space and creating larger yields under controlled conditions seems to be the way of the future. 

By taking a look at methods used from past civilizations, our food production needs can go forward.

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