Hydroponics is a subset of horticulture, and many traditional growers are still not entirely sure how it works.
Have you ever seen a hydroponic system in action?
It can be daunting, especially if it is a completely automated system with a high plant count.
But the reality is, there is a hydroponic system for every grower, and it doesn't need to be complicated at all. In fact, once you are familiar with your hydro system, it can be less work than traditional gardening.
This guide will walk you through each hydroponic system, teach you the environmental requirements for hydroponics, show you how to make your own system with just a few supplies, and prepare you for your first grow.
Even if you know nothing about hydroponics, you will feel like a hydro green thumb by the end of this article.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is defined as growing plants without the use of traditional soil or soilless mixes. Plants are houses in a net pot or cup, and roots are suspended in a hydroponic nutrient solution, or just in the air.
To be considered a hydroponic system, plants need to be either supported by an inert growing medium, or nothing at all. The ready availability of nutrients to the root zone is what makes hydroponics so powerful.
Hydroponic systems can be broken down into active or passive systems. A passive system is one where the water does not need to be transported to the plants, such as in a deep water culture system.
An active hydroponic system involves the use of a water pump or other means to move the water to the root zone, such as an ebb and flow system.
The most simple hydroponic systems can consist of just a nutrient reservoir, growing medium, and a water pump to deliver the solution to the grow tray or flood table.