Sunday, June 3, 2012
Hydroponics and Fertilizer
There are many ways that a hydroponic garden can be grown. When you hear about hydroponics, most people think of plants suspended in water without soil, which is one of the common techniques. You’re probably asking what’s so great about growing and why do people do it? As a hobby? As a new fun innovation? Probably those reasons and the benefits it provides. But, the continued interest in hydroponics is because growing plants hydroponically provides the plants the nutrients in a very efficient way. People can monitor the amount of nutrients and pH to be taken up directly by the roots and the plants do not have spend energy looking for the nutrients in the soil. That means the plants are able to spend more time growing and producing flowers instead of converting the nutrients into a very soluble form. With more time spent growing and producing flowers, you’ll get fruits much quicker. So if the plants aren’t planted in the ground with soil, then what? The plant roots are placed in a growing medium and that material may be vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber, gravel, Rockwool, and sand. It is just a growing medium. The growing medium does not provide the plants with any nutrients. The plants are given scheduled watering cycles of water and fertilizer. So what kind of fertilizer do hydroponic plants need? Hydroponic plants need hydroponic fertilizer or highly formulated fertilizer for hydroponic use. All fertilizers contain the 3 major nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. But the difference between regular fertilizer and hydroponic fertilizer is that hydroponic plants need nutrients that contain the other essential micronutrients that are not in regular fertilizer. If the micronutrients are not in the soil or have been depleted due to continual planting that can be a problem for the plants. Organic fertilizer compared to regular and hydroponic fertilizer is different in soil structure and how the plants get the nutrients. Organic fertilizer contains microorganisms that are able to break down the nutrients allowing for the plants to easily absorb the nutrients. In the past, organic fertilizer and hydroponic fertilizer were completely unrelated. However, now some organic fertilizers are able to be used with hydroponic plants.