There’s a new technology being developed over the Internet that will delight apartment plant lovers and locavores alike. It can double your plant space and allow you to grow food indoors. And it can bring a solid dose of nature into your home with all its attendant benefits: Clean air, a sense of aliveness, silent companionship, the fresh color of green. If you like plants, new technologies, and have limited growing space, hydroponic window gardening may be for you.
Hydroponic gardening is the practice of growing plants, especially food crops, without the use of soil. Instead, plants are set in sand or another kind of non-nutritious medium to hold the roots in place, or just planted through small holes in a container with space inside for roots. They are fed with water laced with worm castings or another kind of fertilizer or, in some systems, by pond water in which fish are being raised (aquaponics).
Aquaponics is an outdoor system used by the Aztecs in ancient times, when they planted crops on straw mats covered with a thin layer of soil, and floated them on Lake Titicaca to grow in the nutritious lake water. The nutrition in the water came from fish and other organisms living in it.
More recently, NASA has been experimenting with hydroponics to figure out how to grow crops in space ships, space stations, and on other planets, like Mars. For those who have little or no outdoors, hydroponics is a great way to grow veggies and herbs indoors.
“Hydroponic” means making water do the work (hydro=of water, ponic=labor). Because water can be transported easily through tubes, the indoor hydroponic way of growing usually involves the use of pumps to send water through tubes to a number of plants in pots. Plants grow more easily this way than in soil, because nutrients are already dissolved, hence more readily available to plant roots. As long as they have enough light, crops you plant this way grow faster and have bigger yields than they do in soil.
In deference to the desire to minimize the use of electricity, many growers have been experimenting with using the power of gravity to transport water by locating plants on top of each other. That way they can pump water to the top plant and let it drip down from pot to pot naturally. Excess water from the bottom plant/s is direct through the feeding system and up to the top plant again. This also minimizes space, making it a great way to grow plants in an apartment or condo.
New Technologies – Hydroponics
Do you like playing around with new, emerging technologies, especially evolving ones? Does the possibility of aiding in product development excite you – sharing your own experiments with other people from other countries online? Do you like the idea of being in community with plant lovers worldwide?
You might want to set up your own hydroponics system for this reason alone, irrespective of the health and other benefits it could bring, which are addressed below
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