Home
Products
About us
Contact
Hydroponics information
hydroponic faq
newsletter


































































































































































































































































































 

Hydroponics FAQ

What is hydroponics?

What are the advantages of hydroponic (soil-less) growing?

What are the difficulties in growing plants in soil?

How does the Floating Gardentm Kitchen Garden Kit Work?

Can I grow lettuce and herbs indoors in the Floating Garden?

Where is the best place to locate the Floating Garden?

What's in the Floating Garden nutrient mixture?

What is the purpose of aerating the nutrient solution?

What is aero-root technology?

Can flowers be grown in the Floating Garden?

Do the kits come with instructions?

How do I clean the Floating Garden between crops?



What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in a water-based liquid nutrient without soil. In translation the term hydroponic means water work. It is also known by the term 'soilless gardening'.

Top

What are the advantages of hydroponic (soil-less) growing?

In addition to water and carbon dioxide in the air, plants need nutrients, trace elements, and oxygen to be supplied to their roots for photosynthesis to occur. This is true whether the plants are grown hydroponically or in soil. Plants essentially "don't care" where the nutrients are coming from as long as they are available in sufficient levels and in proper form for uptake by the roots. If the hydroponic nutrient solution contains the right proportion of inorganic compounds and trace minerals to optimally support photosynthesis and plant growth, the hydroponically grown plants will be afforded what they need for growth and at the same time their roots will be maintained in a moist or wet root environment. In short, hydroponics affords optimal control of plant nutrition, oxygen delivery and root moisture - difficult to obtain when growing plants in soil.

Top

What are the difficulties in growing plants in soil?

For plants grown in soil, soil conditioning and fertilizing is crucial for healthy plants and high yields. In the home gardening context, soil conditioning, as generally practiced, is an inexact procedure at best. The home gardener generally doesn't know the composition of his/her soil. Soil mixtures differ in makeup and organic content, as do soil amendments. There are a plethora of fertilizers on the market that are intended to be added to the soil on a regular basis; most casual gardeners apply fertilizers irregularly, if at all. And the downside of fertilizers is that they kill soil microbes necessary to break down the organic compounds into inorganics that the plant can utilize. Fertilizers also percolate through the soil and contaminate our aquifers and groundwaters.

Even if optimal soil chemistry could be concocted and maintained, the soil must also remain porous for oxygen to reach the roots, but not so porous that regular watering will quickly leach away plant nutrients from the root level. For nutrients to be made available to the plant roots, the soil must also contain microbes that break down organic compounds not directly usable by the plants. Importantly, the soil must also remain moist for the plants to uptake nutrients and for photosynthesis to proceed. These issues are not only important for plants grown in the ground but are particularly challenging for plants grown in pots due to nutrient and mineral leaching and the difficulty of keeping a uniform moisture level.

In a world where water is becoming a scarce commodity, much of the water that we use in both commercial and home gardening percolates below the root level and carries "nutrients" into the groundwater. From a water utilization standpoint, even drip irrigation is a poor compromise to growing plants hydroponically.

Top

How does the Floating Gardentm Kitchen Garden Kit Work?

The Kitchen Garden Kit has a square reservoir containing a specially formulated nutrient solution and a closed-cell foam plant bed which floats on the surface of the nutrient solution. Plant roots extend into the nutrient solution where they absorb just the right amount of nutrients for their growth. The roots never dry since they are constantly bathed in the nutrient solution. As the plants respire and liquid is lost by evaporation, the nutrient level drops. A small gap between the planting bed tends to resist algae growth. Oxygen is transferred to the nutrient solution at the air gap, fill port, through the plant net pots, and by periodic addition of fresh nutrient or water. By periodically lifting the planting bed out of the solution and by occasionally emptying the unit and replacing with fresh nutrient, oxygen in the nutrient solution can be kept at an acceptable level.

Top

Can I grow lettuce and herbs indoors in the Floating Garden?

Yes, but adequate light is required. As long as the plants are grown in a location where they can receive sunlight (say through a window) for a portion of the day, the plants will grow. You can supplement the available lighting with inexpensive full spectrum compact fluorescent (CFL) lights or fluorescent "grow lights". This will markedly enhance your plants' vitality and growth. We have successfully grown basil and other herbs solely under CFL and fluorescent plant lights.

Top

Where is the best place to locate the Floating Garden?

If indoors, locate your hydroponic garden near a south-facing window where the plants can receive sunlight during a part of the day. During the summer months, direct sunlight does not come in through a south window. Early in the day, the sun comes in from an east window, and the Floating Garden can be placed in an East window. During mid-day, the south window is best, and late in the day, as the sun sinks toward the West, a West window has the most sun. As a rule of thumb, if you do not have supplemental lighting, locate the Floating Garden in the location where the most window light is available.

Outdoors, you can locate your Floating Garden on a sunny patio or in your yard. For summer gardening outdoors our recommendation for lettuces is to choose a location that is relatively cool. This might mean trading off locating your garden in full sun with locating your garden in partial or filtered sun to reduce lettuce leaf burn.

Top

What's in the Floating Garden nutrient mixture?

Each Floating Garden kit is supplied with packets of dry nutrients which are added to water to make up a nutrient solution. Each nutrient packet comprises the twelve macro and micro nutrients that all plants require. The Floating Garden nutrient mixture is intended solely for use in our Floating Garden.

Top

What is the purpose of aerating the nutrient solution?

Roots need oxygen for the plant to grow. The aerator puts oxygen in the water and the roots absorb this oxygen. Our Floating Garden Kitchen Garden Kit is non-aerated. As the plants respire, the oxygen concentration in the nutrient solution slowly decreases. Without aeration, oxygen transport into the nutrient solution takes place at the boundary between the floating bed and nutrient tray, the fill port, and through the net pots. This kit is not appropriate for long growth cycle plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers. To help aerate the roots in the Kitchen Garden Kit, it is recommended that you periodically raise the planting bed out of the nutrient solution and "dunk" a few times to help aerate the roots and the nutrient solution. You can also purchase a small air pump and aerator from aquarium supply stores.

Top

What is aero-root technology?

Aero-root technology is our term for our patent-pending technology imbedded in the Grass Gardentm Wheatgrass Hydroponic Garden Kit. Using our patent-pending technology the upper portions of the roots of the developing grasses are kept in air while the bottom portions of the roots are maintained in nutrient. This not only enhances the growth and vitality of the grasses but also reduces the chance of fungal growth - which is prevalent with other methods of growing wheatgrass in soil or coco fiber or inorganic media.

Top

Can flowers be grown in the Floating Garden?

Yes. Annuals like Icelandic poppies, marigolds, petunias, and pansies make excellent choices. Furthermore, there are a number of edible flowers that can be grown in the Floating Garden and harvested periodically for salads, etc. Try growing nasturtiums to add to your summer salads.

Top

Do the kits come with instructions?

Each kit comes with complete instructions covering setting up the Floating Garden, starting your garden from seeds or seedlings, routine maintenance, and starting a new crop.

Top

How do I clean the Floating Garden between crops?

The Floating Garden is extremely easy to clean and set up for your next crop. Simply remove the net cups and rinse the reservoir and planting bed. Then rinse the net cups, rockwool plugs/cubes, and ceramic beads (they are re-usable).

Periodically you can sterilize the Floating Garden and re-useables by rinsing with a dilute bleach solution (1/2 cup bleach to 2 quarts water). Pour the solution into the tray, float the planting bed in the reservoir and soak for five minutes on top and bottom. Remove the planting bed and rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Then soak the net pots, rockwool, and ceramic beads in the solution for about 5 minutes. Remove, and rinse thoroughly with fresh water, squeezing the rockwool a few times to remove all of the bleach solution. Empty the tray and rinse.

Top

Top

Home | Products | About Us | Contact | Hydroponics | FAQ

Plantechnics.com
a division of
ArtSciDesign,LLC


Copyright © 2007-2013 ArtSciDesign, LLC. All rights reserved.
All photographs on this site are copyright © 2007-2013 ArtSciDesign, LLC. All rights reserved.
Plantechnicstm, The Floating Gardentm, Floating Gardentm, Kitchen Floating Gardentm, Floating Garden Kitchen Gardentm, Floating Garden Vegetable Hydroponic Gardentm, Floating Garden for Pondstm , Grass Gardentm, The Grass Gardentm, Just Add Watertm, Lettuce & Herbstm, and From Your Floating Garden To Your Tabletm are trademarks of ArtSciDesign, LLC.
Certain of our technologies are utility patents pending and are incorporated in our products.