Hydroponics has been given a bad reputation due to it's use in the Marijuana industry. But it is such a great tool for growing your own vegetables year round in your home. Your vegetables, herbs, and spices grow faster and larger then they would if planted in dirt. Hydroponic and Aeroponic technology is continually improving, and people are constantly coming up with many ways to create systems using everyday household items.
What are Hydroponics Aquaponics and Aeroponics?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. The roots are usually contained in a grow medium such as expanded clay pellets and nutrient rich water is continually or intermittently circulated over the roots
Aquaponics is simply a more natural form of Hydroponics. The method is identical on the plant end. The only difference is instead of using chemicals and nutrients for feeding your plants, a holding tank containing live fish is added into the cycle. The nitrogen rich water (from fish waste) is pumped into the grow medium where bacteria, worms, and other critters convert it into waste which is nutrition for the plant. This system is a little more difficult to setup, and needs closer observation of the water quality. However on the plus side of things, you are growing your plants organically.
Aeroponics is a Hydroponic process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil. Generally with aeroponics, the roots are contained in an enclosed dark environment and exposed to a fine mist of nutrient solution and the rest of the plant is exposed to a well lit environment.
With a small exception to Aquaponics, all 3 systems require very little maintenance to grow plants. Unlike plants potted in soil, you don't have to worry about remembering to water them on a schedule, and transplanting is not needed. Unlike traditional soil planting, nutrients and pH can be monitored and changed in real time. If the quality of your water/nutrient solution is off, you simply remove the water and replenish with new water. With soil, it would require completely changing out the soil or hoping the plant will survive until the fertilizer levels lower on their own.
Recently I have been experimenting with Aeroponics, but have yet to dive into a full hydroponics setup. My experiments have been limited to only a deep water culture (DWC) bucket/bubbler system which you can learn about on my post called DIY Aeroponic Bucket Bubbler Setup
There are many Hydroponic, Aeroponic, and Aquaponic systems that can be used and many of them are simple enough that the average Joe can have one up and running in just a few hours and for just about nothing.
If you have never looked into the simplicity of using a hydroponic system, I promise it's worth your while to do a little research.