The word “hydroponics” comes from the Greek “hydros” (water) and “ponos” (labor), and refers to the method of plant cultivation achieved without the use of soils. In very basic terms, hydroponics eliminates the soil completely, and supplies nutrient-rich water directly to the plant roots. In traditional cultivation, the soil acts as a water reservoir (and therefore a nutrient reservoir) that feeds the plant roots. The soil is basically a medium that delivers mineral nutrients, dissolved in water stores, to the plant roots. In actuality, the soil itself is not necessary, so long as a nutrient-rich water source is supplied to the plant roots. It’s a rather simple concept, but the applications and versatility of hydroponics are astonishing, when compared to traditional cultivation.
Hydroponic gardening includes eco-friendly cultivation processes, water conservation, no use of herbicides or pesticides, bigger yields, and the ultimate control over your cultivation environment. The applications of hydroponics are highly diverse, ranging from commercial food production, to flower growing, to home gardens and indoor herb containers. From balcony vegetable gardens to sustainable horticulture, hydroponic cultivation can be used just about anywhere.
Today, more and more people are realizing the health and economic benefits of cultivating their own food sources as a way to ensure pure, untainted foods. Hydroponics eliminates the concern of contaminated foods in the commercial industry, as well as the costs associated with manufacturing and transporting of such goods. The use of hydroponic gardening offers a natural, healthy and versatile solution to many of today’s concerns, including food contamination and unhealthy practices within the commercial food industry, environmental impact of commercial agriculture, cost effectiveness, and sustainability at all scales.
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