Hydroponics (What is it?)
What makes a plant grow? The majority of plants require a
few essentials; water, air, light, mineral salts, and a growing
medium to support the roots. A plant growing in soil sends
out a root system to absorb the mlneral salts available in the
soll. These salts, broken down into an inorganic form, are
absorbed into the roots by a process known as osmosis.
Carbon dioxide, from the air, is drawn into the leaves to help
in the process of making new tissue. The energy needed to
transform these substances into livlng tissue comes from
When the source for mineral salts dwindles, the plant
sends out roots to locate a new source. The energy used up
- by the plant in producing new root systems amounts to lost
- time and energy that could be used in growing foliage.
- In hydroponic gardening, a plant is grown in a medium
such as gravel. To feed the plant, a nutrient solution contain-
ing mineral salts is circulated through the gravel giving the
plant all the nutrition it needs for optimum growth. Since the
plant has all the mineral salts readily available, the root sys-
tem can be kept to a minimum, thus more energy is exerted toward foliage
Since the plants don't have to compete for mineral salts.
they can be placed closer together. The result: higher yield
and faster growing plants in the space available. Of course,
there are a few things you have to know before you start the
hydroponic garden. In the chapters ahead, I will cover all the
details you'll need to grow super plants.
Germinating Your Seeds
This is a good place to start. By the time your seeds germi-
nate, you could have the hydroponic garden all set up.
In the past few years, I have seen a lot of different methods
of germinating seeds. In myopinion, the pa,n_ertowel method
works the best. This consists-of placing the seeds between
four or five damp paper towels and then placing them in a
warm area of the house.
Sprouts should appear in about one to seven days. It is
very important to keep an eye on the sprouts to prevent
them from drying out. A good practice is to water them lightly
every day. As they sprout, place them into a BR 8 immediately.
This is important because if you wait too long you could
damage the roots.
It is best to handle the plant as little as possible. Many times
roots have been damaged during transplanting; thus dwarf
ing the plant. Germinating the seeds first gives the grower a
better selection of the healthiest sprouts. The first seeds to
usually grow to become the healthiest plants.