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When you live in a climate that experiences changes in climate, you know that there’s a limited time of year where you can successfully garden. By using hydroponic technology, you can grow a garden in the winter — and you can do it without soil. Hydroponics is an indoor gardening system that is completely soil-free and can be kept year-round. With this system you can grow pretty much any type of plant you’d like, as the only limitation is the amount of space you have in your home.
What Is A Hydroponic Garden?
Have you ever put a part of a plant clipping into a glass of water and watch it develop roots? This is, essentially, hydroponic gardening. Plants get nutrients from soil normally, but with this type of gardening the nutrients are dissolved into water or another nutrient solution rich with minerals. Depending on the system you have set up, the plants even may grow better than in a soil-based garden.
This technique for growing plants is not new and was actually used by ancient Egyptians many years ago.
How Does It Work?
These systems work by using nutrients dissolved into water (or another mineral-rich solution) using mediums like expanded clay pebbles, gravel or mineral wool. Plants are grown with their roots in the solution while the plant itself is supported above the solution.
As long as the plant receives the nutrients it needs to grow, the soil really isn’t needed. This type of gardening allows for plants to grow in greenhouses or entire buildings dedicated to agriculture – or in your basement. Since, for some avid gardeners, space or environment might be the biggest roadblock to successful outdoor gardening, this system allows for everyone to garden year-round regardless of how much space they have.
Setting up a hydroponic system is not a small task, and it requires a consistently dedicated space within your home. While this type of gardening might be intriguing to you, you might find yourself asking whether it’s worth it to go through all of this when so many people can successfully garden the regular way with soil.
The biggest, and probably most obvious, benefit to this type of gardening is that it allows you to grow plants where regular agriculture just isn’t possible, such as in urban centers or northern climates where farmland isn’t plentiful or fresh produce isn’t readily available due to environmental factors.
The second benefit from these kinds of system is for the environment. Studies have shown that hydroponics uses approximately 10 percent of the amount of water that its soil-based equivalents do. And since these systems do not require any kind of pesticide, there aren’t any chemicals or other damaging agents released into the air.
Finally – and for some gardeners most significantly – plants grow faster and produce a greater yield through hydroponics. When set up right, hydroponics plants will grow about 30-50 percent faster than ones planted in a soil-based garden.
There is more than one kind of hydroponic system, and which one you select will depend on what is right for you. The kinds of systems you can set up are:
- Wick systems
- Drip systems
- Nutrient film technique
- Ebb and flow systems
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Hydroponic systems are flexible and can be created on a large or small scale to fit your space and budget. Even better, most of the equipment needed to start a hydroponics system can be purchased from gardening centers or home improvement stores, so you don’t need to place special orders or have everything shipped to you.
Have you ever planted a hydroponics garden? What advice would you add on getting started? Share your tips in the section below:
This May, IKEA is introducing an indoor hydroponics gardening kit called KRYDDA/VÄXER (rough translation: SPICES/GROWS) that will help you grow lettuce and spices year round
This kit certainly won’t save you from starvation in a famine, for that you need potatoes and such, but if you eat a lot of store-bought lettuce and herbs right now you can probably save quite a lot of money growing your own.
Here’s the pitch from IKEA:
From tasty lemon basil to crispy red romaine lettuce – KRYDDA/VÄXER series makes it easy to grow your own indoor garden all year round. You don’t need soil, sunlight or even a spot outside! How does it work? Just keep an eye on the water level and that’s it.
As mentioned this is a hydroponics system, with added grow lights to enable the plants to grow year round. Hydroponics simply means growing plants in water without soil. Growing plants involves just the right mix of light, climate, nutrients, and water.
This might come as a surprise, but a lot of the vegetables you buy in the store today are grown this way. For an example, check out this hydroponics farm (video tour) that grows 350 varieties of vegetables using hydroponics.
“The challenge was to make growing plants in a hydroponic system simple, so that anyone could succeed …”Helena Karlén, Swedish university of agricultural sciences
The system allows customers to sprout and grow plants without any soil, and it does have quite a few components. It’s not as simple as popping a seed into the ground. Here are the basic steps involved:
- You start by sprouting the seeds using absorbent foam plugs that come with the system, which keeps the seeds moist without over-watering.
- Once the seeds have germinated, you transfer the baby plant with the entire foam plug into its own pot and fill it with water-absorbing pumice stones.
- These pots fit into a growing tray equipped with a solar lamp that provides year-round nourishment for the plants even in rooms that don’t get any direct sunlight. Or, you could always place the tray in a window that get a good amount of sunlight.
- Now you wait and let mother nature do the rest. To help you keep the water level at the optimum level the growing tray is even equipped with a built-in water sensor.
The new hydroponics system sure is a departure from bookshelves and tables, but it’s in keeping with the company’s trend toward sustainability. As Inhabitat notes, “IKEA’s head of sustainability famously proclaimed earlier this year that the Western world had hit “peak home furnishings” and spoke about helping customers live more eco-friendly lives.”
Will we see IKEA expand into more areas of home scale self-reliance in the future? Solar panels? Vertical gardening containers?
The post IKEA Wants To Help You Grow Food Indoors With Hydroponics appeared first on Walden Labs.
John from Growing Your Greens goes on a field trip to Swank Specialty Produce that grows over 350 varieties of vegetables and uses 90 minerals to grow the best tasting food.
In this episode, John will visit a farm in South Florida growing both Hyrdoponic Shade House Grown and Organic Full Sun Production.
You will get a full tour of the farm including many of the crops they are currently growing, how they are growing them. You will learn how important it is to grow diversity in your garden and grow specific varieties of crops for success instead of failure.
You will also discover the special trace minerals they use to grow the best tasting food.
Finally, John will interview Darren Swank, the farmer who has been been in the business of farming for 13+ years now and ask him the following questions:
Questions answered in the video:
- Is there any such thing as Organic Hydroponics?
- What Nutrients do you use in your Hydroponic System?
- How do you control pests using organic methods?
- Why is it important to be proactive instead of reactive for pest control?
- What organic control do you use for Powderly Mildew?
- How important is growing diversity in crops?
- What are the easiest vegetables to grow in South Florida?
- How important is educating the public if you are a farmer?
- How can people learn more about and contact your farm
The post Hydroponic Farm Grows 350 Varieties of Vegetables with 90 minerals appeared first on Walden Labs.
Buying hydroponic gardening supplies and putting tea leaves in the trash were probable causes for a search warrant and a SWAT-team raid on a family’s home, a federal judge has ruled.
US District Judge John Lungstrum found that sheriff’s deputies that held a family at gunpoint because they mistook tea leaves in a garbage can for marijuana acted in a legal and reasonable manner. The police were suspicious after the husband and his two children visited a hydroponics gardening store.
“It was like Zero Dark Thirty ready to storm the compound,” Robert Harte said of an April 2012 raid on his Leawood, Kansas, home.
The Hartes’ home was raided after a Missouri Highway Patrol officer watched Harte carry a small bag from a hydroponics store in Kansas City, Missouri, seven months earlier, Off The Grid News previously reported.
“With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors,” a lawsuit the Hartes filed in 2014 stated.
Lungstrum, though, disagreed, and ruled in late December that the officers had probable cause.
The Missouri Highway Patrol officer’s report led deputies to search the Hartes’ trash and field test it for marijuana. (Warrants are not needed to search trash.) Tea leaves in the trash tested positive for marijuana, and so the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team stormed the Harte home and held the family at gunpoint for two hours while searching for pot. A laboratory test later proved the material in the garbage was tea leaves.
Field tests are notoriously unreliable, The Washington Post’s Radley Balko wrote in a column. In fact, Balko said that nationwide, everything from chocolate chip cookies to Jolly Ranchers have tested positive for illegal drugs using field tests.
“The sheriff’s department couldn’t wait for the more accurate laboratory tests to confirm that the ‘saturated plant material’ was marijuana before sending a SWAT team into the Harte home,” Balko wrote. “… It took all of 10 days to complete those lab tests. The lab not only concluded that substance wasn’t pot, the analysts added, ‘It does not look anything like marijuana leaves or stems.’”
Couple Loses Lawsuit but Changes Law
No cannabis was found and no charges were ever brought against Harte and his wife, Adlynn. Disturbingly, the Hartes had to file a lawsuit against Johnson County to learn why the raid had taken place. Under Kansas law at the time, police could keep probable cause warrants secret. The law has since been changed, mostly due to the Hartes’ incredible case.
“I didn’t think it was right that it took the Hartes a year and $25,000 or more in their own money in legal fees to obtain the information, the probable cause affidavit, that supported the warrant that allowed the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department to come into their home with weapons drawn,” Kansas State Representative John Rubin told The Wichita Eagle.
The Hartes were contending that Johnson County violated their Fourth Amendment rights by conducting a search without probable cause.
Under the new law, the public and reporters can get access to such records after raids have been conducted.
“Now the public has access to probable-cause affidavits without having to spend the kind of money the Hartes had to spend,” Max Kautcsh, the legal counsel for the Kansas Press Association told The Eagle. “It is extremely significant. Now the presumption is that the probable cause affidavits are open. Before, the presumption was that they were closed.
The Hartes are not done with their legal battle. Their attorney, Cheryl Pilate, told The Eagle that the ruling likely will be appealed.
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