Go Hydroponic: Grow Longer

August 22, 2007

Today’s article about hydroponics is a guest entry here at Veggie Gardening Tips and was written by Charlene Rennick.

Charlene provides helpful tips and ideas that enable you to use hydroponics to grow fresh vegetables over an extended growing season: 

Taking Advantage of Hydroponic Gardening 

After a plentiful growing season comes the harvest, a time of year that brings about mixed feelings. Your heart swells with pride for the quality and bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs you and your soil have produced together and mingles with sadness now that the time has come for your partnership to end for this year. Wistfully, you imagine that the growing season was longer.

Is there a way to add on to the season? Can you plant two rounds of peas or space out your over-abundant crop of tomatoes? Yes, you can. A complete hydroponic system can be set up inside your home to give you those extra months of growth.

Stretching the Season by Growing Hydroponic Crops 

For those of us who do not make 30 jars of chili sauce or who do not have enough extended family members nearby to actually eat all the tomatoes that are ready at once, young tomato plants can be planted outside during mid-season and moved inside in the early fall.

The Aerogarden kitchen garden is a simple system that can be used during the winter months to grow small crops such as herbs, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Seeds can be started early in February and moved outdoors as young plants when you would normally just be planting the seeds.

Hydroponic gardens have been around for centuries, long before produce in the supermarkets was imported from countries with growing seasons longer than ours. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (the ruins are located in Iraq) is one example of a primitive hydroponic growing system necessitated by a love of flora in a desert climate unable to support such a growth naturally.

 The Resourcefulness of Hydroponic Growing Techniques

Today, necessity is still the mother of invention. Many people live in geographical areas where a temperate climate suitable for gardening is only a few months long. Busy schedules prevent most people from the luxury of spending relaxing hours outdoors tending the garden, yet they are concerned about the quality and freshness of the produce they eat.

Others yearn for that gourmet flavor of freshly picked herbs and vegetables all year round and the mouth-watering aroma of drying basil in the kitchen. Moreover, in North America where clean, fresh water was once plentiful, a shortage is the sign of the times. National efforts to conserve what water we have left have been initiated by campaigns at www.thinkwater.ca and www.canadians.org.

Gardening with home hydroponics not only extends the growing season, conserves water and brings fresh, pesticide-free, organic produce indoors; they represent an alternative to a garden where there would not have been an opportunity for green growth.

Tending a hydroponic garden provides a healthy family project and a medium for teaching environmental conservation and science to children. It is fulfilling for a child to choose the seeds, plant and tend them and eventually harvest the outcome whether it is for a stew or to add bright living colour to their living space over the winter.

Hydroponic Initiatives and Special Projects 

Globally, hydroponic gardens provide sustenance to areas of the world where the climate cannot support growth or where natural disasters have destroyed fertility.

The International Institute of Simplified Hydroponics provided seeds and started hydroponic gardens in Columbia, a town in South America that was destroyed by an earth quake in January 1999. The United Nations Development Project continued to fund the hydroponic initiative which today, supports half the families displaced by the earthquake and is maintained solely by the residents of Armenia.

How is a complete hydroponic system a solution for water shortages and areas on the globe where dry dust is the only growing medium? Hydroponic gardens use almost 90 percent less water than traditional outdoor fields. The water is re-circulated directly through the root system and collected in various vessels ready for recycling. There is no surrounding soil to absorb precious water needed by the plant.

Conservation through Hydroponic Gardening 

Equally important to the global conservation of water is that hydroponic gardens eliminate excess fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides that are picked up by excess water run off and circulated into remaining fresh water supplies. A hydroponic system does not require chemicals to kill infestations that mainly arise from outdoor environments.

Using home hydroponics can grow a month or two, spare a lake or two and save a town or two. It is one of the solutions that will keep our planet green.

Simply-Hydroponics.com is a resource for information on hydroponic gardening for indoor gardeners of every level of expertise. Please drop by for a peak at what it’s like to grow hydroponics.

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  • Hello
    I love to garden. I have been a gardener my entire life.
    I recently picked up hydroponics, and haven’t gone back to soil since!
    The plants grow so much faster. Watching plants grow is relaxing,
    and I enjoy eating what I grow. It seems to taste better…

  • Charlotte

    Absolutely, a very interesting and exciting hobby – and even if you live in Canada (like me!), you can grow your own fresh produce inside while looking at the snow outside. I just picked up the parts for a new system today (NFT – Nutrient film technique). I haven’t tried this type before and can’t wait to see how it goes.

  • Hannah Gounder

    Hi I am really interested in growing hydroponic mushrooms can any one assist me with info as to how do I go about growing it. Ever so grateful!!!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Hannah, I have never heard of anyone growing hydroponic mushrooms and I suspect that it might not be possible to grow them in that manner, but there are commercial kits that you can use to grow mushrooms indoors. The kits consist of sawdust or pressed wood blocks that have been innoculated with mushroom spawn.

  • John

    I had run across this aerogarden kit review and was wondering if folks has some experience with these to share. I’d like to get one for a gift but want to make sure it’s a good investment. Any problems with the thing working over time, any suggestions on the best plants to grow in them?

  • I love to garden with hydroponics. We are currently harvesting some tomatoes with our very own LED grow light using an EBB and flow system. Feel free to check us out Led Grow Lights

  • John,

    The aerograden kit is an awesome concept but its much more of a toy then anything. Don’t get me wrong its tons of fun but not too much fruit or veggies. Hope that helps

  • Pingback: Product Review: Hydroponically Challenged No More()

  • Casey

    I love my aerogarden! However I am running out of nutrients, but since the weather is now warm I was curious to know if I can take the plants out and plant them in the ground. Will this work?

  • Kenny Point

    Casey, you can give it a try, but the older the plants are the bigger the challenge it will be to transplant them out without creating too much of a disruption. Also if the plants in the aerogarden are bare rooted and growing in only water I doubt that you will be able to settle them into the soil growing medium of the garden.

  • I love using hydroponics to extend the growing season and am able to grow great plants even when the weather around here drops to -10 below.

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