Introduction to Hydroponics

Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil. Learn how just about any plant, especially vegetables, can be grown using this method.
hydroponics is method of gardening without soil

hydroponics is method of gardening without soil

Related To:

Many of us think that all veggie gardens have to look alike, with rows and mounds of dirt, but vegetable gardening isn't limited to this anymore. In fact, many of the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy in the store are grown hydroponically, especially during the winter months or in colder climates.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing crops without soil. Plants are grown in rows or on trellises, just like in a traditional garden, but they have their roots in water rather than in dirt. Most of us confuse soil with nutrients. In fact, soil provides structure, not the actual food itself, for plant roots. The food comes from other materials mixed in the soil, such as compost, broken-down plant waste or fertilizers. Plants grown hydroponically can actually grow faster and healthier than plants in soil because they don't have to fight soilborne diseases; in addition, all the food and water they need are given directly to their roots around the clock.

Growing plants hydroponically doesn't have to be done on a large scale, and it's easier than you might think. Now there are kits, do-it-yourself systems and even fully automated growing tables, all designed for home gardeners.

Hydroponics is very simple -- in many ways, it's simpler than growing plants in soil. Plants need food, water and air. When you break it down to those three things, it becomes simple to give plants only what they need. Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil. The plants thrive on the nutrient solution alone; the medium merely acts as a support for the plants and their root systems.

Advantages to Hydroponic Growing Methods

The following are some of the advantages of growing plants hydroponically:

  • You can grow more plants per square foot in a hydroponic garden because roots are directly fed; therefore there is no competition for root space. As a result, you can get higher yields per square foot, per unit of time.

  • Plants will grow faster because they will be getting all the nutrients they need and in the proper proportions.

  • Root systems stay smaller, so each plant can concentrate its energy on producing plant mass, rather than roots.

If you can follow directions, you can garden hydroponically. A few simple steps must be followed on a regular basis to ensure that your plants thrive. Once you get used to the routine, it's a snap. Anything can be grown hydroponically, but some plants prove to be more space efficient, including tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot chili peppers, lettuce, spinach, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, beans, snow peas and herbs and flowers of all types

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Add Manure to Compost

Discover why manure makes a good addition to your compost and how to select the right manure for the job.

Framing Devices: Introduction

Learn about the framing process and the devices used to accomplish that process.

How to Make Compost Tea

Learn to make your own organic fertilizer by brewing compost tea at home.

How to Make Compost Tea

Give your garden the benefits of compost and organic fertilizer with less work by brewing and using compost tea.

How to Determine Your Gardening Zone

The newly revised USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help pinpoint your gardening zone to within a half-mile of your home.

Mulch Your Way to Better Landscape Design

Mulch your way to prettier, healthier plantings. Learn which type of mulch to use, when to use it and where to use it.

How to Choose and Use a Rototiller

Helpful information on which type of tiller may be best for your garden.

When to Plant Radishes

Cool soil is perfect for planting radish seeds in the garden, so plan for spring and fall plantings for a robust harvest.

How to Store Turnips

While turnip greens should be consumed within a few days of harvest, turnip roots can be stored for days, weeks, or even months with the right harvesting and preparation.

How to Plant Radishes

Planting radishes in succession every few weeks will provides many months of radish harvest throughout the growing season.

On TV

Docked Out

7:30am | 6:30c

Yard Crashers

8:30am | 7:30c

Yard Crashers

9:30am | 8:30c

Yard Crashers

10am | 9c

Yard Crashers

10:30am | 9:30c

Yard Crashers

11am | 10c

Yard Crashers

11:30am | 10:30c

Pool Kings

12pm | 11c

Pool Kings

12:30pm | 11:30c

Pool Kings

1pm | 12c

Pool Kings

1:30pm | 12:30c

Pool Kings

2pm | 1c

Pool Kings

2:30pm | 1:30c

Pool Kings

3pm | 2c

Pool Kings

3:30pm | 2:30c

Pool Kings

4pm | 3c

Pool Kings

4:30pm | 3:30c

Pool Kings

5pm | 4c

Pool Kings

5:30pm | 4:30c

Pool Kings

6pm | 5c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love Yurts

8pm | 7c

Love Yurts

8:30pm | 7:30c

Love Yurts

9pm | 8c

Love Yurts

9:30pm | 8:30c

Love Yurts

10pm | 9c

Love Yurts

10:30pm | 9:30c

Love Yurts

11pm | 10c

Love Yurts

11:30pm | 10:30c

Love Yurts

12am | 11c

Love Yurts

12:30am | 11:30c

Love Yurts

1am | 12c

Love Yurts

1:30am | 12:30c

Love Yurts

2am | 1c

Love Yurts

2:30am | 1:30c

Love Yurts

3am | 2c

Love Yurts

3:30am | 2:30c

Renovation Realities

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.