http://www.hydroponicgarden.net ~ Hydroponic gardening, (from the Greek words hydro, water and ponos, labor) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk. In the 19th century, researchers discovered that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponic gardening is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching. Hydroponic gardening is often defined as “the cultivation of plants in water.” Research has since determined that many different aggregates or media will support plant growth; therefore, the definition of hydroponic gardening has been broadened to read “the cultivation of plants without soil.” Growers all over the world are using hydroponic gardening techniques due to the lack of a large water supply or fertile farmland. Home gardeners have used hydroponic gardening on a smaller scale to grow fresh vegetables year round and to grow plants in smaller spaces, such as an apartment or balcony. Greenhouses and nurseries grow their plants in a soilless, peat or bark-based growing mix. The nutrients are then applied to the growing mix through the water supply. Therefore, this is also a type of hydroponic gardening. Soilless gardening offers many advantages to the home gardener. Since a sterile medium is used for hydroponic gardening, there are no weeds to remove, and soil-borne pests and diseases are minimized, if not eliminated completely. […]
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