The Future of Gardening is Growing... Without Soil
Imagine a kitchen appliance that automatically produces 12 heads of fresh lettuce and salad greens, every week, without soil, under artificial light... right next to your dishwasher. Thanks to the efforts of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), a version of the NASA "salad machine" you see at right may one day make it into your kitchen.
But one needn't wait for NASA to perfect their salad machine, as their research has paved the way for backyard gardeners to find every product you may need to grow fresh salads, juicy vine-ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, fabulous flowers, lush tropicals, tantalizing herbs, without soil in your backyard, or on your deck, patio, or balcony. You can even garden soil-free indoors in your kitchen, pantry, sunroom, garage, or virtually any other spare room in your house!
Plants Don't Need Soil To Grow
Nature has shown, and research has confirmed, that plants don't need soil to grow into healthy specimens. Rather it is the nutrients supplied to them that determines whether a plant will live or die. Soil is merely the root support mechanism from which a plant derives a small portion of it's nutritional needs. By growing plants in systems that eliminate soil, there is a marked reduction in the amount of pest problems, soil-borne diseases, fungus, and other issues that plague many farmers and gardeners today.
Soil-Free Houseplants, Bonsai, Orchids, & Tropicals
Soil-free planters take the dirt out of your living area and provide a superior growing environment for your cherished houseplants and tropicals. As you can see from the images on this page, virtually any houseplant can be grown soil-free, including African violets, cacti, orchids, miniature roses, bromeliads, tropicals, citrus, lucky bamboo and most others!
Since soil-free containers don't need a drainage hole, you can place them on surfaces you wouldn't dare with a regular draining, dirt filled pot. Virtually any standard non-porous pot can be converted to a soil-free container simply by applying a dab of caulk or silicone sealant large enough to cover the drainage holes. Of course, specially designed containers that feature integrated water level indicators and other features are available as well for this purpose.
The simple secret to growing in a soil-free container is the application of a complete plant food that contains not only the major elemental nutrients necessary for plant growth, but the minor and trace elements as well. These special fertilizers are most commonly referred to as "hydroponic nutrients", and there are dozens of brands available, many formulated for the needs of specific plant varieties such as orchids or vegetables. Small, stand-alone planters are self-aerating, allowing the root systems to essentially evolve, with the portion of the root system that remains in the nutrient solution taking responsibility for providing the water and elements to the plant, while the portion of the root ball above in the highly aerated environment of the growing media efficiently delivers the essential element of oxygen to the roots. This simple process has proven to provide a superior growing environment, resulting in healthier, happier plants!
Simply Amazing Soil-Free, Water-Wise Fruits & Vegetables!
Fruits and vegetables grown without soil are nothing short of phenomenal. Tomato plants so tall, you have to use stilts to pick the fruit; strawberries the size of your hand; herbs and salad greens so bountiful, you'll be the envy of the neighborhood as you share or sell your excess harvest. How are results like these achieved without a speck of dirt?
In simple terms, soilless gardening delivers a complete plant food with water right to where they're needed, directly to the plant's root system. Think of it as "spoon feeding". Since the plant's roots don't have to push through dirt looking for food and water, the energy the plant normally expends in this activity is redirected into much faster green growth and fruit production.
Additionally, since the root systems aren't competing with each other for nourishment, more plants can be grown closer together, allowing for a denser plant population and greatly increased yields in a given space. But without question, the potential advantage that could have the biggest impact on our future are the benefits growing without soil would provide our environment.
The Environmental Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening