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If you want to grow plants indoors simply and easy, there are two methods of growing that do not require the hassle and mess of dealing with soil. The first is hydroponics, which involves the use of a growing medium. The second is a specialized form of hydroponics called aeroponics. With aeroponics, plants are grown under grow lights in a groom room or box like hydroponics, but there is no growing medium used at all.

So which type is right for you if you want to plant an herb garden or grow vegetables indoors? Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of indoor growing.

Growing Medium Differences

In a grow box or room for a hydroponics system, you won't need any dirt. Instead, you'll use a medium like the fibers from coconut shells, perlite or pebbles made of clay. Plants are fed nutrients through a system of tubes to help them grow. In an aeroponics growing environment, you will not use the medium. Instead, you'll need to turn off the plant lights periodically and spray the roots of your plants with a nutrient solution.

Advantages of Hydro Growing

Some of the advantages of hydroponics growing include:

- Large degree of control over the nutrients your plants receive

- Less water wasted as systems recycle the water. A high quality system can use 90 percent less water than traditional methods used to grow plants indoors

- No pesticides or herbicides are required

- Plants can be grown in every season since grow lights are used in place of natural sunlight.

- Less expensive to maintain than a traditional garden

Disadvantages of Hydro Growing

Although there are many distinct advantages of using a hydroponics system in your grow room or box, there are some disadvantage as well:

- Water based diseases can be easily transmitted through hydroponic systems due to the recycling of water

- The plant lights consume energy, and there is a need to have back-up generators in place in case of power failure

- There is a high initial expense for setting up a grow box or room

Advantages of Aeroponics

Aeroponics growing offers many of the same advantages as hydroponics; however, it does have one distinct advantage over hydro growing methods. Since there is no growing medium, plants are able to absorb more nutrients, which can lead to lusher growth and bigger harvests.

Disadvantages of Aeroponics

Like hydroponic growing, aeroponics is expensive to set up and requires electricity. In addition, an aero system requires more maintenance, as you will need to consistently monitor the pH of the plants and the amount of nutrients your plants are receiving. Generally, aeroponics systems are more difficult to use than a hydro growing environment, so the growing method is less ideal for beginners.

Whether you're interested in hydroponics or aeroponics, the iHidro grow shop has all of the supplies that you need to grow plants indoors. Check out our selection of products and get on your way to that indoor herb garden or vegetable garden.

0 Comments | Posted in Hydroponics Details Indoor Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Using the hydroponics growing medium requires placing plants in objects that support the plants. Then adding a nutrient rich solution through this medium, providing rich food for plant growth. Coconut husks, perlite or clay pebbles are examples of some supportive elements used.

There are two different schools of thought regarding growing plants through hydroponics or aeroponics. There are pros and cons to both methods and pretty much it comes down to a personal choice. Horticulturists have know for some time that removing plants from soil and using other methods of growth reap healthier plants.

Plants expend a great deal of energy growing roots in search of the nutrients within the soil. Nutrients are what plants need to grow and to retain health, not soil. Let's look at the two non-soil methods, covering the positives and negatives of both.

Growing With Hydroponics

The dictionary definition of hydroponics is: "the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil."

Advantages of Hydroponics

Hydroponic systems give horticulturists total control over the distribution of nutrients throughout plants. Plants that are grown using a hydroponics system show greater productivity than plants grown in soil. Many gardeners experience water restriction during the summer months. Many of these systems recycle water, reducing the amount of water used and the headaches brought on by city and town restrictions. Hydroponic systems only use approximately 10% of the water required by conventional gardening.

For those concerned with herbicides or pesticides used in conventional gardening, hydroponic systems never use these chemicals.

As hydroponic systems can be setup and plants grown inside, these systems take very little space and do not rely on seasonal changes.

The Disadvantages of Hydroponics

One of the biggest concerns with this system is water based diseases working their way through the plants. This is caused by the nutrients being passed between the plants constantly. Another concern is the amount of electricity consumed using hydroponic or aeroponics systems alike. The setup for the hydroponic system is expensive because of the equipment involved. The upside is, once the system is up and running, it's still cheaper than conventional gardening methods.


Growing With Aeroponics

The dictionary definition of hydroponics is: "the method of growing plants without soil by suspending them above sprays that constantly moisten the roots with water and nutrients."

Also referred to as Aeroculture, the aeroponics system uses absolutely no growing formulas. The plants are suspended in a dark area while nutritional solutions spray the roots at set intervals.

The Advantages of Aeroponics

Using this system allows plants maximum nutritional absorption. This is due to the plants being totally isolated and no plant chemicals or formulas are applied.

The Disadvantages of Aeroponics

Aeroponic systems required a great deal of attention to ensure the pH levels or nutrient density ratios are exacting. The systems are quite difficult for inexperienced or beginner gardeners to master. Therefore, aeroponic systems should only be attempted by those experienced gardeners who are familiar with its workings.

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights, gardeners, gardening, vegetables, water filters, water treatment, nutrients, nutrition, seeds, flowers


In a Nutshell

With more and more people seeking healthier foods and wanting to take charge with what their families consume, the popularity of these growing systems could well become common place in future homes.

Purchasing a simple system and seeing the results of growing your own vegetables and fruits can be extremely rewarding. As you become more profuse and upgrade to a more sophisticated system, you can expand your assortment of plants and experience a significant savings on your supermarket purchases.

2 Comments | Posted in Plants & Flower Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights, gardeners, gardening, vegetables, water filters, water treatment, nutrients, nutrition, seeds, flowers

 

What growth medium to use?

There any many types of growth mediums to use. People have different opinions on which to use. Most of the time mediums work equally well for any of your particular needs. For consumers it boils down to availability, price and personal preference.

Coconut Husk/Fibers

Coconut fibers are an organic growing medium that offers top performance in hydroponic systems. It maintains a larger oxygen capacity than rockwool and retains more water as well. Coconut fibers are also believed to have root stimulating hormones and offer some protection against root diseases. Many people use a 50/50 mixture of coconut fiber and clay pellets.

Since it is an organic product this is a pricey buy. Always make sure you purchase high grade coconut fiber because low grade coconut fiber might have high sea-salt content and can lead to disappointing results.

Perlite

Perlite has been used in mixtures with soil for quite a long time. It is a mined material formed of volcanic glass and is highly oxidized. Many people use a 50/50 mix of perlite and vermiculite giving it a good mixture of water retention and aeration.

Perlite is very inexpensive. However, the biggest drawback is that perlite doesn’t retain water and will dry out quickly.

Vermiculite

Vermiculite is another mined material. It has the ability to hold 200-300% more water. As mentioned above, people use a 50/50 mix to allow plenty of water and oxygen, an in-line hydro exhaust fan keeps the air ciculating correctly.

Vermiculite is very inexpensive. However, the biggest drawback is that if you overwater vermiculite it can retain a lot of water and suffocate the plant.

Expanded Clay Pellets

 

 

Clay pellets are often called grow rocks and used pretty commonly as a growing medium. It is made by baking clay and the insides of the pellets have tiny air pockets inside them. They do not retain much water so they need to be watered often so as to keep roots from drying out.

Clay pellets are expensive but they are one of the few mediums that can be reused. After a harvest you just have to wash them and sterilize them and you are set for reuse. These pellets are definitely a smart buy for long term growers.

Sand

Sand is usually packed tightly reducing the amount of air available to roots. People often use builder’s sand or a mixture of sand and perlite.

Sphagnum Moss

Another natural medium that is used quite often is sphagnum moss. It retains water and air very well. However, the major problem is that since it’s a natural medium it can decompose and cause problems to drains and other problems.

Air

The only setup that requires no medium is aeroponics where plant roots are hung over a reservoir and are sprayed throughout the day. The cost of air is obviously free and there are no disposal problems.

The biggest problem is if a there is a power, pump, or timer failure you have no buffer. Roots can dry out in minutes and killing the plant.

Rockwool

Rockwool is also one of the most popular mediums used today. Rockwool is made by melting sand and rock together and spun into a fiber. Rockwool retains water incredibly well and holds 18% air at all times. It is very clean and convenient so requires little maintenance to keep.

However, rockwool is not environmentally friendly and naturally has a high pH which means you have to adjust the pH levels to neutral before roots are fit to survive. Rockwool is also susceptible to pH shifts so routine maintenance is required.

Gravel

Gravel is another medium that has been used for many years. Gravel supplies plenty of air but, like perlite, dries out rather quickly.

Gravel is fairly cheap and easy to find. It is easily reusable as long as you wash and sterilize it between uses.

 


 

What not to use

 

Brick Shards

Brick shards are like gravel. However it may alter pH levels quite often and so requires constant maintenance.

Saw Dust

 

 

There are stories where some growers have success with saw dust. Some woods may give off chemicals that deteriorate the plant’s health.

 

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