Hydroponic gardens, which use nutrient-infused water instead of soil, allow for better control over nutrients, pH balance and yield. PlantCare.com states, "Hydroponics allows plants to grow up to 50 percent faster than they do in soil." This allows hydroponic gardens to produce more food even in areas where farmable land is unavailable. Still, some plants are better suited to hydroponic growing than others.
Rich in vitamin A and C, tomatoes are one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. In fact, according to BellyBytes.com, "Americans obtain more of their vitamins from tomatoes than from any vegetable." Fortunately, tomatoes are also one of the best and most popular plants to grow hydroponically. Growing tomatoes hydroponically requires up to 10 hours of sunlight and a calcium supplement added to the normal hydroponic mixture to ensure proper growth. Tomatoes grown hydroponically are smaller than earth-grown ones, but are more numerous and nutrient packed. Tomatoes grow quickly and can be harvested after about 100 days.
Begonias offer beautiful blooms of many colors and are a colorful addition to any garden. Whether looking to enhance your landscape or just looking to give your house some color, begonias are a low maintenance hydroponic plant solution. Begonias can be grown from seeds or from tubers and need little light and can be grown in a normal high nitrogen nutrient mix used for flowering plants.
A common spice used in many Italian dishes, basil takes very well to the hydroponic system. Hydroponic basil needs a full day's sun exposure, so growing should be done either outside (usually enclosed in a greenhouse or plastic covering) or in a small container near a window with an unobstructed view of the sun. Basil grows fast and can be harvested when the plant grows to about 12 inches tall.
A cooler spice than basil, cilantro is a low-maintenance hydroponic plant. Ready in 10 to 12 weeks, cilantro can be harvested once the plant has grown to about 6 inches. If cilantro is allowed to grow a little longer, the seed heads which form at the plants maturity can be ground into coriander.
For those looking for a flowering plant but with only limited light, zinnias provide a hydroponic answer. Only needing half a day's sunlight (about six hours,) these plants are perfect for small hydroponic containers placed near windows and bloom into several different colors and sizes.
- Photo Credit GewÃ¤chshaus image by Claudia Georgi from Fotolia.com three fresh hydroponics tomatos image by Flashon Studio from Fotolia.com a flowering begonia image by Martin Garnham from Fotolia.com basil image by aliengel from Fotolia.com cilantro and spring onions image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com zinnia image by maslight from Fotolia.com
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