Hydroponic gardens may sound Greek to you. Yes, it may confound you like no other. Take heed, however, if you’re wanting to make the most of your life on planet Earth, there is no wiser decision than getting into hydroponic gardening today. Especially true for New Yorkers and Californians, and for people who have to make do with limited living space - not to mention skyrocketing rents. With more and more Americans tipping the scales and increasingly putting the nation in top podium globally in terms of obesity, this may just be what the doctor ordered. To a large degree.
Cities have become a far cry from long ago when they were a beacon of hope - becoming synonymous with cultural decay and pollution instead, and the results says it all. Much as we have advanced technologically, there are still over 600,000 people succumbing to heart disease yearly. You may not have heard of hydroponic gardens. True. But for a healthier and happier you, it’s high time you should. Read on.
History of Hydroponic Gardens
Strictly speaking, hydroponics is a form of hydroculture - a broader method of growing plants without using soil. Water is the key difference. In hydroponics, you only use water and the nutrient solutions nurture the plants. In other forms of hydroculture, we use an inert. Specifically, these are solid growing mediums other than soil. Such soil alternatives are inorganic.
There are tremendous advantages growing through an indoor hydroponic garden. However, it was not until 1627 that the idea was officially hatched. Then, Francis Bacon, a most influential English statesman and scientist, published his work on growing plants without the use of soil. Then, truly, a revolutionary idea - albeit printed posthumously on a book entitled ‘A Natural History’ (i.e., Sylva Sylvarum).
As novel as it is, the idea took ground and spread. Shortly thereafter, in 1699, John Woodward, a notable English naturalist, gave solid proof to Bacon’s theories. Woodward was happy to let the world know how his spearmints thrived in ‘less-pure’ water than in clearer and purer distilled water. Duly published in a book and these water culture experiments became the stepping stone for other scientists to build upon.
Centuries later in 1842, two German botanists named Wilhelm Knopp and Julius von Sachs picked the cudgels up. They laid the groundwork for the science behind soilless plants to prosper. Specifically, they listed nine elements for growing terrestrial plants without the benefit of solid soil. Aptly, these Germans referred to the whole process as ‘solution culture’. And their research quickly became the standard text on the subject.
All this gathered steam in 1929. Then, an American ‘showman’ scientist named William Frederick Gericke (1882 - 1970) gained credit as the author of the word hydroponics. Gericke was a Nebraska-born notable plant physiologist and crop expert at the University of California. He stunned the world by growing tomato as high as 25 feet or 7.6 meters using nutrient-rich solutions right in his own yard.
Its Conquest of America
Moreover, Gericke first used the word hydroponics, a term suggested to him in 1937 by W. A. Setchell. Though Setchell was a noted phycologist, he was also an expert in the classics.
Derived from the Greek language, hydroponics is a neologism of the Greek word for water (ύδωρ) and cultivate (πονέω). In a sense, two words turned into one.
As stunning and brilliant as Gericke is, however, he met substantial opposition. Fearing perhaps the prospects of soil-less farming, the university itself forbid him to use its greenhouses. The scientist had to do his research at home. Eventually, the university allowed Gericke to use its greenhouses but with reservations. It assigned two fellow scientists, Arnon and Hoagland, to reformulate Gericke’s formula to show soil-less agriculture is inferior to traditional soil variety.
And yet, Gericke came through. He published his works via a book called Complete Guide to Soilless Gardening - but not before leaving the walls of the university.
Not to be outdone however, Daniel I. Arnon and Dennis R. Hoagland wrote an agricultural bulletin in 1838. Entitled The Water Culture Method for Growing Plants Without Soil the bulletin claimed that Gericke’s hydroponic plant yields were not superior to plants cultivated in good old traditional soil.
Arnon’s and Hoagland’s research, however, was biased right from the onset. It failed to mention the essential advantages of hydroponics. For instance, their study never cited the fact that plants had greater access to vital oxygen.
Its Commercial and Technological Use Today
Today, hydroponic gardens are spreading by leaps and bounds. NASA in its quest for space conquest, for one, is doing extensive research on the topic. Currently, the government body is looking into growing plants using an LED-lighted set-up to mimic the environment on planet Mars.
True to Gericke’s vision, businesses are increasingly pitching in. In 2007, Eurofresh Farms, a company in Arizona, sold over 200 million pounds of fresh hydroponically-cultured tomatoes - pesticide-free. So great are their results that the company has dedicated over 318 acres under glass for this purpose alone.
The science itself is inspiring other ideas, giving way to aeroponic farming for instance.
Benefits of an Indoor Hydroponic Garden for You
With more and more people converging, population density is highest in the cities. Added to that, there is an uptick in people traveling - riding their caravans to the ends of the Earth for instance. Such trends provide an ideal scenario for you for hydroponic gardening. And along with these reasons are:
- Space maximization. It has to be remembered that plants grow differently in a soilless environment. In a hydroponic environment, for instance, they grow smaller roots. That means you can actually grow plants much closer to each other than in soil conditions. That is perfect for you should you be finding your space cramped. This is also ideal for greenhouses. It only means greater yield for the crop under glass.
- Water Saver. Don’t get us wrong. Hydroponic gardens use water as a solution. So you may ask, how can you save water more in this method? Take note that in a hydroponic set-up, you may recycle water and the nutrients used. This way, it is able to save as much as 95% percent of water compared to traditional methods.
- SuperiorQuality Yields. Gericke was right all along. Credit it to greater access to nutrients, plants grown hydroponically are superior in nutritional content. That may sound surprising. But truly, this could be your greatest reason to start growing fruits and vegetables this way. Studies show vegetables grown in a hydroponic setup had 50 percent more vitamins when compared to produce from traditional means. We’re talking about vitamins A and B complexes. Add vitamins C and E to that list and you know these are top-of-the-line produce.
- Greater Control.Think about it. Unlike soil, you can easily manipulate the water used to nourish your indoor hydroponic garden. That only means you can easily addnutrients when found wanting, something you can hardly check in the soil. Indeed, this is a better-controlled environment.
- Lighter Labor. The best part for you? You won’t have to work your butt off just to get the products you need. And that’s precisely because you won’t have to tend to a seemingly endless list of soil problems. Right? You need not pull weeds for instance. You need not shovel. Or for that matter, push a wheelbarrow. Imagine all the tedious labor you’re doing away. It’s a no brainer.
Hydroponic Gardening: Helping You Live Life to the Fullest
By allowing yourself access to better yield via hydroponic gardening, you promote better health. But that’s not all.
Now you won’t have the convenient excuse of a cramped space for not gardening. And by such bliss, you put your health a notch higher.
By giving you the chance to garden, hydroponic gardening is giving you greater access to healthy produce. In addition two distinct studies reveal people in their prime age (i.e., the 60s to 70s) who garden regularly had 36 percent to 47 percent lesser chance of getting dementia compared to people who don’t, CNN health reports.
Add stress relief and exercise and you know getting hydroponic gardens in your abode is like breathing fresh morning air in a polluted city.