Author: Aqua Gardening

Hydroponics System FAQ's

What are the advantages of using hydroponics systems to grow plants versus soil?

Hydroponics systems use no soil, so that means no weeds or soil borne pests and diseases. Plants maintain optimum nutrient and moisture level with immediate and 100% nutrient availability, which offer several benefits: healthier plants, faster growing plants and plants that will be more disease resistant as they are not stressed by drought. This means that with hydroponics you will get a better yield compared to soil grown plants.

The root systems stay smaller on hydroponically grown plants, so the plant can concentrate its growth energy on producing plant mass, rather than roots. Allows the grower to have more plants per square meter of growing space. Hydroponically grown plants never get root bound, so they should not need re-potting. Hydroponic produce has a longer shelf life than soil-grown produce. Hydroponics is clean and healthy and you would be surprised that a lot of your fruit and vegetables being brought at supermarkets is grown with hydroponics.

Can plants be grown organically with hydroponics systems?

The two growing methods were at one time thought to be incompatible, however there is some common ground. Hydroponic growing is based on immediate and 100% nutrient availability. Organic fertilizers typically break down over a period of time via bacterial action in the soil.

Some hydroponics nutrient companies have made it possible now to have organically grown hydroponics plants. So what they've done is just bridge the gap by making these organic mixtures immediately available to these plants, so now you can get the benefits of organic foods with the plus's of hydroponics being faster and less pest and disease issues that you may have got in the garden.

What types of plants can be grown in hydroponics systems?

Anything can be easily grown, but some plants prove to be more space efficient. Some plants we suggest are tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot chillies, lettuce, spinach, Asian greens, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, beans, snow peas, herbs, flowers of all types and house plants. We have grown Banana Plants, lemon trees, avocado Coffee trees , trees Really the list is endless!

Do you really get better yields in less time with hydroponics systems?

Absolutely. The plants, receiving everything they need, a complete nutrient (fertiliser) tend to be healthier, faster growing and generally more productive, you are not competing will soil borne diseases Meaning at the end of the cycle or time of picking the fruit or veg should be at its peak with more flavour and flowering sites.

What about taste? Will the flavour compare to produce from my outdoor/organic garden?

Yes, perhaps even better! This is simply due to the fact that hydroponics systems allow plants to get everything they need, when they need it. They are not stressed by lack of water, so this leaves them to do what they need to do to product next to perfect fruit or veg!

Do we use any pesticides in hydroponics systems? If so, what kinds can I use?

Generally, indoor environments demand less pesticides for obvious reasons. Growing with hydroponics eliminates soil borne pests, as well as being in an inclosed environment limits the risk of pests being introduced. However, if pests do become a problem, one can choose to use insecticidal soaps, natural pyrethums and in most cases, beneficial insects. Most hydroponic plants are grown outdoors in Australia e.g. lettuce These controls will be completely safe to use on edible crops and are also environmentally safe. Some Pesticides do have withholding periods so please do read labels when using on edible plants.

What is the best growing medium for hydroponics systems?

There is no clear cut answer to this questions. Different mediums work better for different situations and different crops.For most propagation with hydroponics we use Rockwool cubes, which hold a tremendous amount of water and offers a buffer against drying in the case of electrical outages or pump failures. Rockwool will maintain a 60/40 water to air ratio even when completely saturated, which makes for extremely healthy root growth.