In a recent article, “The Soil for Organic Gardens,” I outlined the basics of what soils are and said, “a good healthy soil is one that is full of life.” In so far as soils are concerned, my friend is correct.
Think of your soil as a bank. You can always build on top of it with positive stuff like amendments and fertilizers, but sooner or later, the bank will run dry, and you will leave with exposed soil and nothing to till or plant in. At this point, the best thing to do is call your friends and have a soil party. Add in composts, and you have a wonderful growing medium that never needs changing. The soil you create should be full of life and able to retain moisture and nutrient-filled water. In short, you are not building a cake, and you are creating soil that will sustain your plants for years to come.
Soil structure is another thing that matters.
When you walk around a garden center or look at the features of a hydroponic system, you will see pumps, tubing, drills, and other equipment necessary for having a good garden. Soil is perhaps the most important part of hydroponic gardening. The soil is the breeding ground for the microorganisms necessary to protect against the diseases and pests that envelop the conventional garden. In soil gardening, you are using sterile conditions to grow plants that will eventually become the food you will eat. This is a relatively brief overview of the importance of soil for a hydroponic garden.
As you can see, there are a lot of facets to soil-less gardening. Adeyrometer does a whole section just on soil ph levels. The section begins with ‘may,’ which means ‘may be affected by soil.’ Many variables will affect the ph of your soil which we as hydroponic enthusiasts need to find out about. The ph factor goes up and down. You can’t control it, but you can minimize the effects to an acceptable level.
After learning about soil conditions, the next thing covered is water. How much water do plants need and when? This is the heartbreak of Hydroponic Gardening, the ingredient that every dedicated hydroponic gardener strives for. This isn’t completely true because you can’t predetermine the amount of water a plant needs. The recommended amount of water, for example, varies from plant to plant. The amount a plant needs will depend on… basically, how much is the plant actually taking in through its roots. So the challenge is not to overwater or underwater your plants. Instead, it is to find out about the plant’s water needs at a glance level and then act.
The joy of hydroponic gardening is that you can be free of heavy soil and fertilizer costs. This is not only a saline benefit but a smelly one at that! What is so great about hydroponic gardening is that you can grow more plants in a much smaller space. Therefore you can grow more produce in a set amount of growing space. And since you won’t be using soil and fertilizer, your plants will not get the necessary nutrients and minerals that they need. So not only will your plants grow more quickly and more abundantly, but you will also save on the necessary nutrients and minerals for your plants.
Plants require light in addition to lots of water, so soon we’ll be taking advantage of the fact that we will be using light bulbs. We must enhance the lighting environment through the use of reflectors. Plants need light in addition to the other nutrients, so we must be able to take advantage of that.
This is where reflectors come in place of natural light. It emulates sunlight as closely as possible. It does this by reflecting the sunlight onto whatever it is you want the light to shine upon. This will allow you to create an environment very similar to the natural sunlight. There are many different reflectors, and you will need one that will generate enough light to illuminate a sufficient amount of space. You will also need to consider the safety of the reflectors because, in the event of a severe storm or thunderstorm, the reflected heat and the resulting damage to items could be severe and sometimes deadly.
It is a fact that gardening is a great form of work; the smell of fresh soil or fantastic land mounds is far better than a sterile office. Make sure to have some sort of working space, or else why bother having a garden? Besides, don’t get me wrong, you can have a garden inside your home, albeit a compact one but the significant thing is that you will still grow your own plants utilizing garden soil. You will also be able to save a decent amount of money by not having soil indoors, simply by using planter boxes.