Introduction to Hydroponic Container Gardening
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Container gardening is the method where in plants are grown exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. Most commonly terracotta pots were used traditionally for container gardening. However, nowadays, plastic pots and window boxes are favorites for container gardening. Small pots are commonly called flowerpots. Another method of hydroponic growing is used to grow for vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, bonsai trees or plants for aesthetical purpose. This method is also useful in areas where the soil or climate is unsuitable for the plant or crop in question. Using a container is also generally necessary for houseplants. Limited growing space, or growing space that is paved over, can also make this option appealing to the gardener.
To set-up your own container garden, there are certain tips you will have to take in account:
- Use containers between 15 and 120 quarts capacity. Small pots restrict the root area and dry out very quickly. The size and number of plants to be grown will determine the size of the container used. Deep rooted vegetables require deep pots.
- Set containers on bricks or blocks to allow free drainage.
- If you choose clay pots, remember that clay is porous and water is lost from the sides of the container. Plants in clay pots should be monitored closely for loss of moisture.
- Compost is the best fertilizer for potted plants. It provides just the right amount of humus and moisture to the soil.
- Container plants have to be repotted based on the size of their root system or they become ‘root-bound’ or ‘pot-bound’.
Container gardening with hydroponics:
Hydroponics is the science of growing plants in nutrient media without using any soil. This method is very popular in urban areas where there is scarcity of arable land. Hydroponics is ideal for container gardening as with this technique; you can grow practically anywhere – in old soda bottles, water barrels or even unused fish tanks! Hydroponics supply growth media like rockwool, pebbles, seaweed/ kelp, perlite etc are excellent for growing plants in pots. You can use self-watering pots which are manufactured from durable plastic for hydroponic container gardening. Such pots have effective, passive system whereby plants receive water that is wicked from the self contained reservoir.
Advantages of container gardening:
- Container gardening enables you to break geographic barrier and grow plant of your choice irrespective of the weather condition.
- Plants are easy to prune and maintain in containers than in gardens/ farms.
- Potted plants look better aesthetically than the plants which are grown on the ground.
- Plants in pots are easy to move.
With such great features and benefits, container gardening is one of the favorite methods of hobbyist and professional gardeners alike.