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Hydroponics History

The history of hydroponics. A simple definition of Hydroponics would be working water ("hydro" means "water" and "ponos" means "labor"). Over the centuries many different civilizations have utilized hydroponic growing techniques. 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." Even though Hydroponics is hardly a new method of growing plants, giant strides have been made over the years in this innovative area of plant propagation.

Hydroponic Methods

Different methods of hydroponics. There are two main types of hydroponic systems in use today. These systems can either be passive or active in nature. In passive systems, nutrients are passed through the growing medium.

With active systems, a pump is used to get the nutrients to the plants, which typically provides better growth because active systems provide more oxygen to the plants. Passive systems have no moving parts and draw water and nutrients from a standing solution at the root level of the plant.

Hydroponic Systems

Wick Hydroponics Systems - The wick hydroponic system is a passive hydroponic system, which works without the use of any moving parts. A simple wick is used to transfer the nutrients automatically out of a reservoir area and to the tray where the plants are.

Water Culture Hydroponic Systems - The water culture system was the first of hydroponic systems developed and is made up of a floating plant tray, which floats on a reservoir containing a nutrients solution. The reservoir is flooded periodically immersing plant root systems contained within the floating plant tray.

Ebb & Flow Hydroponic Systems - The ebb and flow system has become a very popular method of hydroponic gardening because after the reservoir is flooded, it is drained away exposing plant root systems to the surrounding ambient air so they can take up oxygen which will improve plant growth.

Active Recovery Hydroponic System - The nutrient film technique is an active recovery hydroponic system where a submersible pump delivers a nutrient solution to roots of the plants hanging in grow tubes. The solution travels back into a collection reservoir and is recycled over plant root systems many times.

Continuous Drip Hydroponic Systems - With the continuous drip system the nutrient the gardener can adjust the drip emitter for each plant to make sure it gets enough nutrients.

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Grow Lights

For over 40 years, indoor growers were faced with just a couple of choices when deciding on grow lights - high pressure sodium, metal halide, and more recently, compact fluorescent. In every instance, the idea is the same; to try to replicate sunlight for your indoor plants. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, which turns it into energy for vegetative growth and flowering. As the technology matures, led grow lights are becoming more accepted in indoor gardening and hydroponics. What started out as a niche market with its own brand of cult-following, solid state now has a proven track record of success for growing anything from wheat grass to vegetables.

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More and more people are interested in gardening at home. Food safety, food security, food quality and rising prices are just some of the concerns that are causing an explosion in hydroponic gardening worldwide.

For home gardeners there are many advantages with a hydroponic gardening system. Not everyone has the time, physical capacity or space to garden on a large scale. Many people don’t have a garden at all, or live in areas with poor soils or challenging climates. Hydroponic gardening systems are a clean, efficient and low-cost way to enjoy gardening all year round, whatever the weather. And unlike traditional gardening, there are no pests to contend with, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides.

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