Hydroponic gardening is a technique to grow plants without soil. It uses water which contains mineral nutrients that give plants the food they need to grow. Plant roots absorb the mineral nutrients after they are dissolved in the water. Soil acts as a reservoir for mineral nutrients, but in itself isn’t essential for the growth of the plant. Since nutrients can be supplied directly to the plant there is no need for soil for plants to thrive. hydroponic nutrients are dissolved in water and are in ionic and inorganic form. There are numerous recipes available for making hydroponic nutrients suitable for plants and different chemical combinations can be used to get a similar kind of final composition.
Hydroponic nutrients consist of various micronutrients that are added to hydroponics solutions to supply essential elements. The essential elements are iron, copper, zinc, manganese, chlorine, boron and nickel. To keep the iron solution soluble, chelating agents are added to it. Some modified variations of hydroponic nutrients solutions are also available and are widely used. Other mineral elements that are beneficial are cobalt and silicon. These are useful only for certain plants, however.
Some of these nutrients deplete much faster than others and this changes the composition of the nutrient solution. It is important to make sure that the salt concentrations do not become too high, pH values should not vary much from the standard, and nutrients should not become too depleted.
The most productive approach to hydroponic nutrients is to include all the mineral elements at beneficial levels for optimum growth and keep changing this nutrient solution as the plants grow.
While using the recirculating solutions, it is difficult to manage the balance of nutrients, especially in closed systems where nutrient solution is collected and reused. Sample a run-off solution once a week for a complete analysis. Recommendations must then be followed to get a fresh nutrient solution composition.
There are hydroponic modules available that are made of plastic. Either small or large plants can be grown in them. The Waterfarm is one such module that has many features that promote plant growth. There is a controller that maintains the correct level of nutrients in the solutions so that there is low maintenance.