When people think of growing plants using the hydroponic system they think of marijuana. However this is very unfair. It's been used to grow plants for centuries; as far back as the gardens of Babylonia actually. There are a huge range of plants that can be grown using this technique.
Basically it's a technique used to grow plants in soil-less conditions. Let's say you want to grow pumpkins, you would grown them in a substrate other than soil. Then you'd feed them with a liquid feeder. The benefits of using this technique are that it reduces disease and pest problems and produces larger, healthier plants.
Benefits of Hydroponic Growing
Weather: The problem with growing outdoors is that you have no control over the weather. Too much rain or heat can spell disaster. Luckily with hydroponics you don't have this problem which is one of the reasons it's so popular with private and commercial growers alike.
Pests and Diseases: Soil can contain unwanted organisms which can badly affect your produce. With hydroponics you don't have this problem because it is much cleaner. This results in a bigger, healthier crop which produces a higher yield for you. Also there's not the hassle of weeding.
Eco Friendly: Because less water is used, diseases, pests and weeds are less of a problem. This means you don't have to use environmentally unfriendly pesticides and herbicides.
How to Start Growing Hydroponics
Do as much research as you can before you rush out and buy any equipment. It may seem pretty simple but there is a great deal to learn. You have to consider growing mediums and nutrient systems. Plus of course that actual system to use.
If you are inexperienced with hydroponics your best bet is to buy a starter kit. They are designed for people like you and everything is there ready to go.
Although there are many systems available, the most popular is the Ebb and Flow type. It's easy to use and maintain and is used by both beginners and advance growers. Described by its name, the Ebb and Flow system does just that. The plants grow in their medium whilst the other container contains water and a nutrient solution. Every so often the liquids flood the plant roots and substrate causing the roots to absorb the water mixture. As the water recedes back to its container, the roots are exposed to air.
Selecting the most appropriate substrate is essential because they all have different properties. Rockwool, perlite, gravel and sand are to name a few. They all absorb water at different rates so you need to match the substrate to what you want to grow.
What to Grow
You can grow pretty much anything including, vegetables, herbs and houseplants. It's a great way to enjoy such produce at anytime of year; even if it isn't technically in season.
When you decide on a crop to grow you will need to research what growing conditions are best, such as nutrients, light and temperature. There are some terrestrial plants that will do better than others. You will also learn a lot just by giving it a go to see what works.