What is a Hydroponic Garden?

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  • Written By: Emma G.
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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A hydroponic garden is a garden that is grown without soil. Instead, plants are grown in water that contains mineral nutrient solutions. The process was discovered in the 1600s, but did not become widespread until the mid- to late-1900s. It has several advantages over standard gardening techniques but must be closely monitored to avoid the growth of mold and harmful waterborne bacteria.

In a standard garden, plants are grown in soil, which acts as a storage medium for essential nutrients. Hydroponic gardens operate on the principle that soil is not essential to the cultivation of plants. If essential nutrients are allowed to dissolve in water, plants are able to absorb them. In a hydroponic garden, the roots of plants are suspended in water and nutrients are added directly to the liquid. Almost any plant can grow this way.

The earliest reference to hydroponic gardening was made by Sir Francis Bacon in his book Sylva Sylvarum which was published in 1627. Bacon was an English scientist, philosopher, and statesman. Other scientists investigated and refined Bacon's idea. Over the years, the hydroponic garden has evolved into an easily controlled and cost effective way of growing plants. It is used as a method of food production and as a teaching tool for students of botany and agriculture.


This method has several advantages when compared to traditional soil-based gardens. Its most obvious advantage is that no soil is needed. This makes the hydroponic garden a good choice for environments where soil is scarce or lacks essential nutrients. Also, nutrients used in cultivation do not pollute the surrounding environment because the plants grow in self-contained tanks.

Another advantage over conventional gardening is that, in a hydroponic garden, nutrient levels can be closely controlled. In soil gardening, fertilizer is sprayed on or mixed into the soil. As water permeates the soil, nutrients are dissolved. Plants then absorb the water and accompanying nutrients. With this method, plants can easily be overfertilized.

In a hydroponic system, growers can control exactly how much of a given nutrient is dissolved into the soil. Plants needing widely varying amounts of a particular nutrient can be grown side by side, but in separate tanks. This can lead to less waste and better yielding crops.

Drawbacks to the hydroponic system come from the amount of water needed to maintain the system. High moisture in the air and on the plants can lead to the growth of dangerous molds and bacteria. Salmonella growth is a common problem if the garden is not carefully maintained. This bacteria can cause serious illness in humans.



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