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Hydroponics - or growing in a jar on a windowsill


 
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


Joined: 27 May 2007
Posts: 563
Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:20 pm    Post subject: Hydroponics - or growing in a jar on a windowsill Reply with quote

Making the most of Water
I have Chris, my hydroponic friend visiting me this week. Chris has spent a lot of time messing around with houseplant cuttings (she calls is studying) and finding out the best methods of growing new plants in jars of water. Chris has found that a lot of plants will grow quite happily in a container on the
windowsill.

"I visit loads of people who don't do gardening or like getting their finger nails dirty, Chris tells me. "They will almost certainly have a busy lizzie or some other house plant sitting in a jam jar on the kitchen windowsill with some roots sticking out of the murky water." She says.

I have done that myself and even killed a lot of bare rooted trees and herb plants by leaving them outside in buckets for too long. "Certain plants do really well in water and having them inside in the warm promotes root growth." Chris is telling me why my trees die in a bucket outside "In winter when the plants and trees are dormant they don't take up water and there isn't any drainage so the roots don't get oxygen and rot." She continues. "Cut flowers are always destined to rot too as these are dying from the moment you put them in the water.

Beneficial to health
Chris continues to tell me more about houseplants "Certain plants are really beneficial to your health, some plants purify the air and visually they can be very relaxing." Hydroponics is a great way to grow loads of different types of plants and you don't have the problem or getting soil on the windowsills, you can even grow your old vegetable cutting like the top of carrots or celery. There are three things plants need, Water, Nutrients and something to hold the plant up! Normally this would be the job of the soil but in hydroponics for the home we can just use an old jar." Chris has done loads of 'testing' and found that slightly opaque colours work the best. "I've tried most types of empty beer bottles and I think the slight tan colour is the best for some reason, maybe it's because I leave a bit of the beer in the bottom of the bottle!" The narrow neck of beer bottles also helps to support the plants"

How it works
Chris tells me more about how hydroponics works. "The plants don't really need soil, that's just for holding the plants upright. If you use well water or rainwater then this has all of the trace elements and oxygen in it for healthy root growth. Try and avoid tap water as this is usually chlorinated and has been stripped of all of its goodness." Chris continues "Take cuttings of your favourite houseplants and herbs, do this in the same way that you would take any cutting by slicing through the stem just below a node, this is where the biggest concentration of rooting hormones is in a plant. When you do take the cutting, ensure that all of the leaves have been removed from the stems that will be below the water level. You can even transfer small plants that have been grown in soil into water, all that is needed is to clean the roots first."
Chris also tells me about how to make the jar or bottle more decorative. "You can add all sorts of decoration into the container, small pebbles vermiculite, sand, gravel, pumice, wood fibre, but it's all for decoration really."

Pesticide free

One of the things that attracts Chris to this way of growing is the fact that it eliminates the need for pesticides "Most pest and diseases come from the soil so thuis eliminates the problem. Also research has shown that growing plants in this method saves water as it can be regulated so there is no loss. Some methods are used commercially for decorative and edible crops, some roots don't sit in water, they are just dangling into containers that either have a very high humidity for the roots to absorb the moisture or the roots are sprayed with a fine water mist to ensure that they don't rot. The methods are very imaginative and they work, some plants are even grown in sealed units and fed carbon dioxide. The crop yields can be far greater grown in this way and the idea is spreading around the world very quickly," Chris enthuses.

Easy maintenance

In the home though it's a bit more basic and all I would recommend is to change the water a few times a year to stop too much algae growing, there shouldn't be any small from the water so it only needs changing when about half of the water in the container has evapourated." Chris tells me some of the best plants to grow in this way. "There are some really easy to grow variety of houseplants such as the bussie lizzy, spider plants, ivy, bamboo, impatiens, begonias, summer bedding plants like petunias, the list is long, try experimenting with some of your favourites, you could even try perennials or shrub cuttings. You could even grow most herbs too and harvest the leaves as they grow, but after a year they will either need planting in the garden or throwing onto the compost heap, but not before you have taken cuttings and started the whole process again."

"This type of growing has been around since the 15th century, Chris concludes, it's increasing in popularity now and there is a lot of investment and scientific research ongoing to find the best methods of growing. It has a lot of advantages but also a few disadvantages such as high energy use to construct the growing units on a commercial level. Just before we sit down for tea, Chris concludes by saying "The rice fields in China have got it just about right!"



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inishindie
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i read that plant rooted in water are not as strong and can have difficulty when eventualy transferred to soil?
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But what if they are not transferred into soil and are given a liquid feed? Not all hydroponics (or growing on a windowsill) plants are destined to go in the ground.
You are quite right though, the roots haven't come across much resistance in the water. A thick gel might help a bit, the other way to help them is to plant the cutting soon after the roots have appeared. Even if they don't make it into the ground, it's still fun experimenting and great for kids to see how roots grow (and how the roots can die)!!

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Last edited by inishindie on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

inishindie wrote:
But what if they are not transferred into soil and are given a liquid feed? Not all hydroponics (or growing on a windowsill) plants are destined to go in the ground.
You are quite right though, the roots haven't come across much resistance in the water. A thick gel might help a bit, the other way to help them is to plant the cutting soon after the roots have appeared. Even if they don't make it into the ground, it's still fun experimenting and great for kids to see how roots grow (and how they can die)!!
sorry i was think ing of transferrring outside
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