While we no longer
manufacture hydoponic kits, we have
decided to leave this faq on the site
for its educational value. Please
contact us if you have any questions.
What is hydroponics?
What are the
advantages of hydroponic (soil-less)
What are the
difficulties in growing plants in
How does the
Floating Gardentm Kitchen
Garden Kit Work?
Can I grow lettuce
and herbs indoors in the Floating
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
What is aero-root
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'.
What are the advantages of hydroponic
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Where is the best place to locate the
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.
What's in the Floating Garden nutrient
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.
What is the purpose of aerating the
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
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.
Can flowers be grown in the Floating
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.
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.
How do I clean the Floating Garden
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.