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What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of cultivating plants by growing them without soil, when plants get from the solution all necessary nutrients in the right quantities and correct proportions (which is hardly possible by soil growing).AdvantagesHydroponics has got more advantages than traditional (soil) growing has: - As plant get all necessary nutrients in the right quantities, they grow strong and much faster than they do in the soil.- At that there is a great increase in fruit plant crop-producing power and decorative plant blossoming.- Plant roots never suffer from drying up or oxygen shortage by overwetting, which is inevitable by soil growing.- As water discharge is easier to control, there is no need to water plants every day.- Depending on the chosen container and system of growing water is added much rarer – from once in three days to once a month.- There is no problem of fertilizer shortage or overdosage.- It also removes a lot of problems of soil vermin and diseases, which makes pesticides unnecessary.- The process of perennial plant transplantation becomes far easier – there is no need to take off old soil from the roots, which inevitably injures them.  You just remove the plant in a bigger container and add substrate.- There is no need to buy new soil for transplantation, which greatly reduces the cost of indoor plants growing.- As plants get only necessary elements they do not accumulate harmful substances which are usually found in the soil: heavy metals, toxic organic compounds, radionuclide, nitrate surplus and other. Hydroponics is simpleHaving learnt some basic notions you will be able to grow almost any plant and do it with lesser effort than by soil growing. And if you use automated system of solution circulation (some of them can be easily assembled at home) no effort at all will be spent on watering and extra nutrition.Hydroponics is inexpensiveIt takes two minutes to make the simplest hydroponic container from ordinary plastic pot and any suitable large vessel (this vessel should hold enough liquid, should be reactionless and opaque). A good example is a litre juice paper bag for long-term storage, put sidelong and with a clearly cut (from the joint side) opening for the pot. The pot filled with the substrate should be immersed into the solution 1-2 centimetres deep.The substrate (clayite, vermiculite, pearlite, mineral cotton, coir fibre, any inert chemical fibre (polypropylene, nylon, caprone and other) foam rubber, etc.) costs the same or is much cheaper (depending on what you have at hand) than a similar volume portion of soil. But soil unlike substrate has to be annually changed by transplanting. A litre of the final solution is enough to grow a plant for a year, it means that a can of the concentrate providing 50 litres of the solution will be sufficient for 50 years or for annual keeping 50 plants.How to transplantSoak the rootball with room-temperature water for some hours (you can do it in a bucket). After that remove the soil carefully under the water, and then wash the roots carefully under the soft flow of room-temperature water. Having cleared away the remains of the soil, spread the roots downwards and, holding the plant, cover them with the substrate (the roots do not have to go directly into the liquid – the capillary of the substrate brings the solution up to the roots; afterwards they will reach the necessary depth themselves). After that pour plain water on the substrate, fill the vessel with water up to the required level and leave the plant for about a week. Only after that water can be replaced by the solution.Attention: Do not pour the solution right after the transplantation!Solution concentrationAdhere strictly to the manufacturer’s recommended solution concentration. Try to keep up the solution volume in the hydroponic vessel more or less steady by means of adding plain (preferably settled) water. Approximately once in three months change the solution fully.Solution acidity (pH)Modern hydroponic compositions are made in such a way so that pH should be about 5.6 and should not greatly diverge from this value when in use. The easiest and most reliable way to check the acidity is that with the help of the tests which are specially produced for aquariums; they are quite accurate, cheap and easy-to-use (general-purpose test strips won’t do because of their low accuracy).  Reagents measuring and changing pH are sold in the pet shop aquarium departments.