No Soil Gardening – Hydroponics, Bioponics, Aeroponics, Aquaponics and Vermiponics Explained
Hydroponics is a growing method that is done without the use of soil. For this reason, it’s useful for indoor gardens and greenhouse gardens. But there are also other methods you can use to grow plants without soil. Soil-less or no-soil gardening can be used to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and decorative and medicinal plants, quickly and easily.
This method of gardening has become so popular that it’s done throughout the world. Even NASA has been conducting research on growing plants in space. And it’s not even limited to hydroponics either – there are also other growing techniques, including aeroponics, aquaponics, bioponics, and vermiponics.
No soil gardening is suitable for beginners, hobbyists, commercial farmers, and even scientists.
What Exactly is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a no-soil growing technique for a variety of plants that allows the gardener to control nearly every aspect of the grow system. It can be used by beginner gardeners, commercial enterprises, and scientists. Its main benefit is that it doesn’t require messy soil, and the resulting plants grow more quickly and have lusher growth. The crops are also more consistent, with tastier food crops.
Hydroponics is one of the more popular soil-less growing systems. The word basically means you’re growing plants in water rather than soil. Not only does it require a minimum of skill – you can buy kits – but it’s also fun to do, and you can even decorate your home with a mini garden.
The technique is simple. You unpack your grow kit containers and set them up. Then you suspend your plants into a growing medium, coconut coir, clay, etc. This media will help secure your plants roots so they stay upright. Nutrients, instead of traditional fertilizer, are then added to the water, while grow lights provide the light the plants would normally get from the sun. Larger setups can benefit from a grow tent, which will need ventilation. A grow pump can also be used to cycle nutrients through the grow bucket more quickly.
Why Would Aeroponics Be Needed?
Aeroponics is another no-soil gardening technique. It’s similar to hydroponics but it focusses on the oxygen being delivered to the plants’ roots. The plants aren’t grown in water but are instead misted by equipment that runs on a timer.
The growing medium in this instance is oxygen. This helps the plants to grow more quickly, which is why many gardeners choose this method. It’s also perfect for parts of the world where water conservation is practiced.
There are kits for home gardeners to help them get started. The kits can be much smaller, and used in super small spaces, such as your kitchen counter. Aeroponics can also be used for larger commercial setups to grow vegetables.
Is Aquaponics Similar to Hydroponics?
Yes, aquaponics is very similar to hydroponics. It’s stilla method that grows plants in water. But the main difference between these two systems is that hydroponics utilizes water and nutrients to encourage plant growth, while in aquaponics there is what is a called a closed loop system. This means that not only is the water providing nutrients to the plants but also to other forms of life. It’s kind of like an aquarium and a hydroponics garden in one.
There might be other aquatics creatures in your setup, including fish. These forms of life will also provide nutrients for the garden. One example of aquaponics being used today is by NASA, which could provide both veggies and fish for astronauts.
What is Bioponics Used for?
Bioponics takes the concept of hydroponics but goes one step further. It’s still a soil-less growing system but can be used to extend your usual hydroponics system. Dr. Luther W. Thomas created this system to study the nutritional needs of plants and how to provide these nutrients biologically. Bioponics basically involves studying these nutritional needs, so that you can buy a nutritive mix for your indoor garden that you can mix up and provide to your plants, rather than trying to figure it out yourself.
What is Vermiponics?
Vermiponics is a newer soil-less gardening solution and utilizes vermiculture together with hydroponics. In vermiculture, worms are used for the composting of organic waste such as table scraps and leftovers. The worms create what is called a super-compost that is converted into a liquid nutrient that is added to your hydroponics or aquaponics system. If using aquaponics, the worms can be fed to the fish.
Benefits of No-Soil Gardening
Even though there are some slightly different soil-less gardening techniques and varying ways of adding nutrients, hydroponics gardening is actually simple to set up from a grow kit. You can begin with a basic setup and then grow from there.