Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil and is also referred to by other names such as ‘nutriculture’, ‘solution culture’ and ‘soiless cultivation’. Instead of relying on the soil to provide the nutrients needed for plant growth, minerals containing these nutrients are dissolved in water so when the plants are irrigated they are fertilized at the same time.
According to the Macquarie dictionary – ‘hydroponics’ – the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants.
Thus the word ‘hydroponics’ [hydro = water + L. pönere = place + ics].
Soil is not used and is often replaced with some inert material (growing medium) to hold the plants upright and erect. Quite simply this growing media creates a form of anchorage for the roots, to give stability to the plant allowing an upright growth. The plants nutrition is not provided by the media it grows in, but by the nutrient enriched water it is fed. All plants including vegetables, herbs and flowers may be grown hydroponically and the technique offers many advantages over the conventional method of soil cultivation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of advantages. A system may be waist height, eliminating bending and back aches. It may be conveniently placed on a balcony, porch or window sill and with a small pump and time switch it may be left unattended for a week or more.
Because of it’s simplicity and ease, hydroponic gardening is not dictated by age or physical ability. Thus allowing anyone to still be able to incorporate their gardening ability to within their means and gain great satisfaction at still being able to achieve in their interest or hobby.
Another advantage, depending on what media is used of course, is the fact that with light weight media it is portable. So should you find the position not convenient for whatever reason you are able to move your setup to where you what it.