Hydroponic gardening is an excellent way to maintain your garden of fruits and vegetables all year round. It also ensures that the produce you grow will not be subjected to pesticides, chemicals and the rigors of being shipped over great distances - all of these are factors that can impeded the nutritional content and taste of vegetables and fruit. The efficiency of hydroponic gardening is perhaps inly surpassed by its relative ease of use, both in terms of understanding how hydroponics actually works and the ease with which, once suitably informed and prepared, you can start your own garden.
First, the basics: Hydroponics is gardening that does not require soil. Water, light and nutrients are all that is required. For a beginner, it is very important to know exactly what you'll need based on your intended end result and also what kind of space you have available. Visit a local hydroponic supply shop, check internet message boards and blogs and ask as many questions as possible.
There are many key advantages to hydroponic gardening when compared tom traditional soil based gardening methods -
Ease: Hydroponic gardening means you are never at the mercy of the weather, regardless of where you live - hydroponic gardening is completely season-less. It could be extremely cold where you live and your hydroponic garden will still thrive, as long as you provide the correct temperature, light, nutrients and humidity. If you can maintain these factors, whether in a small, closet sized system or a large greenhouse set-up, you could conceivably enjoy tropical fruits and off season vegetables all year long!
Economy and size: Hydroponically grown fruit and vegetables tend to be larger than their naturally grown counterparts, thus they provide more edible food.
Efficiency and speed: hydroponically grown food always has a constant, and maximized, level of nutrients and oxygen supplied to it - the garden will never be lacking any essential nutrients and this, in combination with a controlled temperature enable the garden and its contents to grow much more rapidly than a traditional soil based garden that is dependent on optimal weather conditions and many other factors no gardener has any control over.
Nutrition: Hydroponically grown vegetables and fruit will never need to be sprayed with the multitudes of pesticides and other various chemicals that commercially grown fruit and vegetables are routinely subjected to - this alone will guarantee a much higher nutritive value. This "pure" methodology is combined with the fact that the yield from your hydroponic system doesn't need to travel any further than from your garden to your kitchen - the vegetables you eat will not have been shipped hundreds of miles and will be spared the degradation of the rigors of shipping and transport.
Of course, all of these wonderful advantages will come at a cost. But the cost of setting up a hydroponic garden is in many ways only expensive initially, once you've set up your system it can be maintained at a reasonable cost. If your plan is to subsist solely on your hydroponic output, you will likely be spending a considerable amount of money to get started.
Available space would of course also be a factor in how much you can grow at any given time. Once the hydroponic system has been properly set-up, the plants will grow bigger and wider quite rapidly...they could easily outgrow the space you allotted for them initially, so you should over estimate your space requirements if it's your first time.
Hydroponic gardening is healthy, economical and relatively easy to do! However, like any endeavor worthy of your time and resources, it is simply a matter of good planning and foresight to look over all of the facts beforehand and become acquainted with the variables before buying any supplies.
Whether you simply want to grow a few plants or an entire greenhouse worth of food, hydroponics can enable you to eat well all year round - you may never go to the grocery store for produce again!