Ask six different hydroponic gardeners what type of hydroponic system they use to grow their plants and you will likely get six different answers. It seems there are countless systems out there, because the world of hydroponics has a lingo of its own. You may hear someone say, “I use an ebb and flow, flood and drain sub-irrigation system.” What the heck is that? You might wonder.
Making sense of it all is not as daunting a task as it seems. Basically, hydroponic gardening can be broken into two main categories; Solution Culture Systems and Medium Culture Systems.
As you might have guessed, a Solution Culture System is one that grows plants in a liquid solution with no solid medium to hold its roots. There are three main subsets of a solution culture system. They are; Static Solution - which grows plants in a liquid solution, usually in a jar or bucket, in which the solution is not aerated. Continuous Flow Solution – in which the roots of the plant are continuously sitting in a flow of liquid solution, where a pump creates the continuous flow. Aeroponics – a system that mists fine droplets of nutrients to the roots in a continuous and discontinuous fashion.
As you may have also guessed, a Medium Culture System is one that grows plants using a solid grow medium for its roots. The subsets of this type of system are usually named for whatever type of medium they are. For example; rockwool, clay, coir, perlite, sand, vermiculite, etc… The water in these types of systems is usually in the form of a sub-irrigation or top irrigation system.
For those of you that haven’t tried growing hydroponically, because making sense of it all seems impossible, give it a try. Hydroponic gardening is an easy, fun and very low maintenance form of gardening.
About the Author
Michele Daniels of Grow Home Organics, distributor of organic nutrient amendment and growth enhancers for plants, is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, who operates the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook and the widely popular Seeds of the Month Club.