Hydroponics Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Hydroponics

Hydroponics Question:  All hydroponics requires grow lights, right?
Answer:  No, there are many hydroponic plants grown outdoors in natural sunlight (think of ponds). There are also growers that grow fields of lettuce outdoors hydroponically for example.  

Hydroponics Question:  I just want to try my hand at hydroponics.  How much will it cost me to try indoor hydroponics?
Answer:  We have "starter kits" that allow you to try your hand at hydroponic gardening at a reasonable cost, but remember this warning .. it's a method that can capture your imagination and its easy to spend lots as your garden expands.

Hydroponics Question: What are the signs of healthy plants?
Answer:  Healthy plants contain properly balanced nutrient level.  Disease, pests, and weeds occur in growing systems that lack nutritional balance.  Plants must contain all the nutrients for balanced growth, this encourages active, healthy beneficial organisms on and around the plant and it’s connecting parts. If your plants are not growing or, are yellow or brown, I would suggest the following: Create holes in the soil in a circle several inches away from the plant, angeling it slightly toward the plant.  Use a mix of compost and the right kind of mycorrhizal fungal spores to coat the sides and bottom of the holes before filling them with compost.  Start using gardening products that work with nature to feed beneficial organisims. This will release the nutrients your plants need, by creating  an environment that sustains aerobic microbial life, those microbes will, in turn provide food and nutrients for your plants.

Hydroponics Question: What natural products help plants the most?
Answer:  Compost tea, sea kelp, humic acid, mycorrhizae, compost and worm castings are all examples of products that will work with nature. 

Hydroponics Question: How often should I spray nutrients and microbes on plants?
Answer:  Until their balance of micro-organisms is established, compost, either in sold or liquid form, should be applied once a week.  Once the balance has been established and the plants are showing a return in health, the soil becomes open and soft .  Then applications can be reduced to twice a month, and then to once a month. Keep an eye on your plants, and if problems are occurring, resume a more frequent application.  

Hydroponics Question: What should I do in the fall to prepare my soil for winter?
A-Use 20 gallons of good quality compost Tea per acre as a soil drench each fall.  If there were disease problems in your plants during the summer, the organisms growing on the diseased plant material have to be outcompeted, consumed or otherwise prevented from having a place to live.  Decomposition of the dead plant material will destroy the habitat that would otherwise let those disease organisms multiply through the winter.  

Hydroponics Question: Is hydroponics a new idea?
Answer:  Not at all.  The first on the subject came out almost four hundred years ago.Over the centuries, the techniques and equipment have changed, but hydroponics is not new.

Hydroponics Question:  What are the main advantages of hydroponics?
Answer:  There are many advantages but mainly they are: no soil is used in hydroponics, the water can be reused, fewer pests and diseases than soil grown crops, and you can control the "season" by creating the growing environment and have almost any crop year round!

Hydroponics Question: Can I grow plants hydroponically from seed?
Answer:  Sure!  and it's exciting too.  You can also propagate a new plant hydroponically.

Hydroponics Question: Do you start out with just tap water?
Answer:  Most tap water has chlorine in it, so it needs to be treated first, but yes, you can use tap water.  

Hydroponics Question: Is hydroponic gardening more expensive than just sticking plants in the dirt?
Answer:  The equipment and products can cost more; but you will save time when gardening hydroponically.  So you have to weigh out the value of your time in figuring out the best  answer for you personally.

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