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Aeroponics Aquaponics Basics Hydroponics Peeponics

What is Soil-less Growing?

Turns out, plants don’t really need soil to grow. They mainly need nutrients and minerals.

By now you’ve probably heard about Hydroponics (man-made nutrient water systems), Aquaponics (pond water systems), and the like. For thousands of years, gardeners had relied on the soil on their land to grow their food.

This can pose a few problems, for one, you’re subject to whatever type of soil you have. What if it’s too rich in minerals and nutrients? What if it’s not rich enough? What if it’s too dry? What if it’s too muddy? What if the climate is too cold/hot?

Turns out, plants don’t really need soil to grow. They mainly need nutrients and minerals.

Plants can grow in almost anything else but dirt: Gravel, wood, rocks, perlite, or even nothing at all (air).

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THIS alternative method of growing plants is called soil-less gardening and there are many ways to do it, such as aquaponics, hydroponics, peeponics, and many more.

If you have a greenhouse and/or some lights, you can now grow your plants year-round from almost anywhere in the world, regardless of geolocation, using less water than traditional methods.

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Pesticides, herbicides are not an issue since plants are constantly being fed nutrients through the soil-less system. Weeds are also not an issue since most weeds require soil to spread and grow. And if for whatever reason a weed does happen to appear in your soil-less garden, you can simply lift it up and remove it.

History of Soil-less Growing

Soil-less gardening is nothing new. The ancient Aztecs had gardens that floated on lakes. Similar gardens can be found in other civilizations as well.

Scientist Sir Francis Bacon did some early work on hydroponics in the 1600s. In the 1930s, William F. Gericke experimented with commercial hydroponics.

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Leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, spinach, herbs, and even tomatoes, fruit trees have been successfully grown in soil-less systems.

Downsides of Soil-less Growing

Despite all the benefits of soil-less gardening, there are a few potential downsides as well.

Some plants simply so better in soil because soil itself can be very rich in nutrients and organisms that are beneficial for the plant.

Soil-less growing can be expensive

This is true especially if you’re growing on a large scale. For some systems, you’ll need capital to buy materials, pumps, PVC, water tanks, just to even get started. If you’re growing indoors, you’ll probably need electricity and some grow lights we well. All of these supplies are more costly than simply growing plants in soil.

As with anything, start small at first

Get to know how your preferred system works before you go and spend hundreds, or thousands, on a large system. Start small. Maybe an herb garden?

Photo: Unsplash

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