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Hydroponics is a method for growing plants with maximum efficiency. Used all over the world, hydroponics allows gardeners to carefully control the plants they grow. Plants can be grown in this way in limited spaces. Hydroponics also allows gardeners to produce crops year round, by working indoors and controlling the environment. With increasing demands on open space, hydroponics is an excellent food producing option.
Hydroponics works by growing plants in a static growth medium which provides no nutrition. Popular mediums include rocks, sand, air, and other fibers. Fertilizer is provided to the plants as they grow. Hydroponic nutrition is actually quite complex, with fertilizer needs varying depending on the type of plant, the stage of growth, and the desired result.
The first thing to understand when purchasing fertilizer for hydroponics is that specially formulated fertilizers are needed. Fertilizer for plants grown in the earth will lack essential nutrients, under the assumption that the plants can extract them from the ground. Hydroponic fertilizer includes all the nutrients necessary for the plant to grow successfully.
Hydroponic fertilizer usually comes in a liquid form, or in a powder which can be suspended in water. Both organic and chemical forms of hydroponic fertilizer are available, with some blends being specially formulated for food plants. Chemical fertilizers tend to be less expensive, although they can be dangerous when not handled properly. Make sure to wear gloves when working with fertilizer, and follow the safety instructions on the packaging.
The hydroponic fertilizer needed will also vary depending on the type of plant. Gardening store staffs are very knowledgeable about the nutritional needs of different plants, and they can be of assistance in making the right decision. Many companies sell fertilizer formulated for specific plants. Since hydroponics does not allow for crop rotation, which naturally fixes nutrients, care must be taken to ensure that the needs of the plants are being met.
Nutritional needs will also vary depending on the life stage of the plant. Fertilizers for sprouting, young plants, flowering, and fruiting are all available. Some fertilizers are designed to enhance blooming for decorative plants. Others promote the development of healthy fruit. Fertilizer provides needed energy to the plant as it grows, and energy demands will change depending on the state of development.
Advances in hydroponic nutrition have greatly simplified the process. The growing field of hydroponics can provide viable crops to gardeners who are willing to monitor their plants closely and do a bit of research. Nutrition is the cornerstone to successful hydroponic gardening, as the crop will fail if not properly cared for. Staff at supply houses are usually happy to assist hydroponic gardeners in selecting the right equipment and fertilizers for their crops.
What are the requirements for growing "Money-plant" & "Pea plant" in a hydroponic medium?
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