"Soilless," A Funny Word, but an Efficient Way to Grow Hydroponic Plants
- Author Della Everleigh
- Published December 7, 2018
- Word count 631
The term "soilless" has always confused me in regards to planting mix. The word "less" is a suffix that means without. Therefore, soilless, means without soil. Soil is found in the top layer of the surface of the earth, and contains organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and living organisms that support and balance life. So, unless you dug some dirt out of your yard and used it to germinate seeds or grow plants, you are not using true soil. If you have, however, purchased a bag of potting mix, peat moss, or garden soil, you have used soilless planting mix! Even if the label says it has soil in it.
A variety of components can be found in soilless mediums, such as bark, sphagnum moss, ground coconut husks, perlite, vermiculite, rock pebbles, sand, clay pebbles and volcanic rock wool, to name a few. Soilless mixes are ideal for indoor use, outdoor use, and for growing plants in greenhouses, growth chambers, or indoor growing tents. These mixes contain a variety of mediums designed for different plant types, and therefore, can be designed to work for a diverse population of plant species and a wide range of moisture regimes. Fruits and vegetable yields can be increased due to the opportunity of year-round production. The use of herbicides and pesticides can be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Soilless mixes often include one or more ingredients. This is because, when some are used independently, results are not ideal. Perlite, for example, dries out too quickly for plant roots when used alone, and will float. Peat moss can retain moisture very well when mixed with vermiculite, but dries out quickly alone and is slow to absorb water (becomes hydrophobic). Succulents and cacti prefer coarse, drier mixes, with sand and perlite for drainage. Garden and tropical type plants that require wetter roots, prefer finer mixes, with peat moss, coconut hulls, and vermiculite.
Prior to use, soilless components are typically sterilized. This kills any soil-borne diseases, or harmful bacterial organisms that may be present. The downside to this, is that beneficial bacteria/organisms are killed as well. Most mediums do not have an abundance of minerals in them and this is why proper fertilization is important. Check what type of fertilizer works best for your particular plant species. Desert plants will have completely different needs than garden plants. Sometimes, slow-release fertilizers are incorporated into mixes. Common fertilizer ingredients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK. If a label reads , 3-1-2, the nitrogen percentage is 3%, phosphorus 1% and potassium 2%. This is a solution suitable for hydroponic application. Solid fertilizers often have higher percentages, because when mixed in water, they decrease to liquid application rates. Nitrogen promotes green stems and leaves, whereas, phosphorus is required for root, fruit, flower, and seed production. Potassium helps form strong, fast growing stems. Other nutrients may be added too, depending on the requirements of the plant species.
Be your own scientist and experiment with several mediums on your own! Purchasing components separately and mixing in the percentages your plant needs, is the best route to go. Prepared soilless planting mixtures are not regulated by any state or federal agency, therefore, the exact proportions you are purchasing, are not listed. Labels will list ingredients in order of amount, but exactly what amount that is, does not have to be disclosed. The important factor is understanding the needs and environmental requirements of the plants you will be growing. Once the research is done, then you can use your own growing medium recipe, or purchase the most appropriate prepared soilless medium. Just give it a try! Soilless cultivation has the greatest potential to conserve water, reduce fertilizer use, reduce pollution, and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides. On top of all the benefits, its fun!
D Everleigh is a retired plant biologist who enjoys growing plants, and teaching others how they grow. She is passionate about encouraging people of all ages to experience gardening, and helps run a website call smallgreenhousesetc.comArticle source: http://articlebiz.com
There are no posted comments.
- Identifying a dangerous tree in your garden
- The Best Options For Front Yard Trees
- Advantages of Gardening for Seniors
- New biotechnologies in crop production
- LED Grow Lights Is Helpful For Your Plants?
- A Beautiful Garden Is Just A Few Helpful Tips Away!
- Build A Beautiful Organic Garden With These Ideas
- The Importance of Soil Testing
- 5 Tips For Planting Roses
- Without trees, we all die. 10 reasons to love your trees!
- How to Start a Lawn from Seed
- Best Flowerbed Weed Control Service Provider in Tallahassee
- The best shrubs for hedges
- Will Power Washing Kill Plants?
- Different Methods of Taking Down a Tree Explained
- Here the Best Commercial Cleaning Services in New York City
- Three Mushroom Growing Techniques
- A Growers Guide to Mycology
- Trampolining Ideas - Get The Kids In Shape With A Trampoline
- Tips For Buying Garden Sun Loungers & Deck Chairs Online
- A Short Guide on How to Choose the Right Greenhouse for Your Garden
- Aquaponics - backyard organic farming
- How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Plants
- How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Plants
- What is Biofertilizer?
- The Marijuana plant life cycle-- Cannabis stages week by week
- Cannabis seedlings-- Just how to prevent stunted growth
- Blooming stage in Marijuana plants: a guide for beginners
- Cannabis Nutrients: Why, How, And When To Feed Your Plants
- Some Things You Need to Know About Root Knot Nematodes