Of all of the forms of horticulture used over the last 10,000 years hydroponics seems to be the most misunderstood. Simple hydroponic gardens do not require a university degree to create and with a little practice anyone can grow just about anything, often with better results than organic gardening. Successful hydroponic gardening can be a joyfull and rewarding experience and simple hydroponics systems can be created with a minimal investment of time and money.
The word hydroponics is derived from the greek words hydro, meaning water, and ponos, meaning labour. It refers to the many methods of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. The plants may be grown with their root systems suspended in the nutrient solution or in an inert medium, which replaces soil and provides an anchor point for the plant root to grow. There are many different types of growing medium such as perlite, various volcanic rocks or clays and mineral wool. In nature the soil acts as a reservoir for the nutrients plants require but the soil itself is not necessary for the plants to grow. Many different plants will grow in hydroponics but some respond better to others to this gardening technique.
As with traditional organic gardening, where plants are grown outside in soil, understanding how a plant produces food and grows is an important key to a successful DIY hydroponic garden. Plants need six simple things to flourish - light, air, water, nutrients, heat and a place to spread their roots. Of course, the light must be in the correct spectrum, the air must be warm and rich in carbon dioxide, the water must be abundant and not cold and the growing medium must also be be warm and contain the appropriate levels of nutrients.
Gardening indoors is very different to outdoor cultivation and we shall endeavour to cover both circumstances adequately. In an outdoor environment growing with hydroponics is easy with nature in control of climate and light source. In an indoor environment all aspects of nature must be recreated before successfull growth with take place. If any of our six essential requirements for successfull plant growth are absent or inadequate the plants will suffer as a result. Indoor cultivation does have its advantages not in the least being complete control over the growing environment and photoperiod. Indoors it can be whatever season you choose it to be.
Whether you choose to garden indoors or outdoors one key element gained with hydroponics is control. You control the amount of nutrient solution delivered to the garden and decide what strength it shall be. The success of a hydroponic garden lies in the ability to fine tune the nutrient delivery to be optimum for the crop that you are growing.
If you are just starting out in the wide world of DIY hydroponics dont be discouraged by less than optimal results. Make notes of what you do as you do it and use these notes to backtrack and get an idea of what may have gone wrong. Hydroponics is not an exact science in some respects as the environment you create can be markedly different to the environment created by the efforts of someone else. Experiment and try new things and you will soon find yourself with a wealth of knowledge and a good healthy garden to show for it.
Must have been day dreaming but the idea can be explored further. Not for hormone experiments but a closed loop system can be set up. Izhar with his aquarium knowledge can further the idea.
Two fibre glass tanks and as they are fibre glass artificial rocks, crevices for planting etc can be designed in the mould over which the fibre glass will be stretched.
One tank at a higher level can be used a Koi carp pond with water loving plants in the crevices. Koi carps are from the gold fish family. One out flow pipe with gauze netting. This out flow pipe flows into the lower tank over maybe a synthetic waterfall. The lower tank contains the media in which the plants will grow. Aquatic, vegetable or what ever. The lower tank contains a sealed water tight Chinese pump(aquarium shop 5w to 10w) whose discharge goes into the upper Koi carp tank.
Why have i called it a closed loop system? Well the excreta of the carp in rich in nitrates, nitrites and trace elements. This water goes into the lower tank where the micro nutrients are used by the roots of the plants. Which means, if the plants are taking up the micro nutrients then the water is clean which flows back into to carp pond but rich in food material for the fish. Hence i have named it a closed loop system where nothing is wasted. Space and visual concept with a twist of imagination is required and i dont have the space.