Does hydro gro faster than dirt?

charlielittle(7)February 28, 2008

Asked in another thread by iliketoast I think...

My experience so far has been yes, I think hydro does grow faster. Set my first plants in the system Feb 17. Thes pics are siblings. Plants were set in at one week old. Eco Grow nutrient, half strength. The cup plants are in Miracle Grow potting soil from Wal Mart.

My greenhouse faces the West and some dang pine trees in the neighbors yard to the South keep me from getting any good sun till about 11:00am. Nights have been hard to heat so it gets in the upper 40's - lower 50's. Have an aquarium heater in the reservoir set at 68 degrees. Have been more cloudy days than sunny.

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if you grow both in an equal environment, you won't see a substantial difference in growth. However, it is a lot easier to maintain an ideal environment with a hydroponic system than with a plant in soil.
So in general yes, hydro is faster. But had you been supplying that soil borne seedling with a steady supply of readily available nutrients and maintain a near optimal moisture level, it would be nearly the same size as your hydroponic seedling.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:30PM
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grizzman / anyone:

Very interesting, thanks. If that is the case, then why all the fuss about maintaining a sterile growing medium and maximizing root zone oxygen with clay aggregate/aerolite/coco coir/etc.

In short: Whether you garden indoors or out, why wouldn't you just get some good quality dirt / potting soil and feed it quality nutrients - even premium hydro nutrients. I don't get it.

I'm not giving up on hydro or dirt gardening - I like both. But I'd like to really understand exactly why people go to all this trouble if soil would be ok for a growing medium. Ah, I don't know - I guess it depends on each individual and what you really want. Soil and clay aggregate both have their advantages and disadvantages. (One big difference being that you need to go organic and have diverse life in your soil to keep it healthy, or, you have to nuke your hydro setup with H2O2 because it can't defend itself) It's just that I've so far understood that hydro produces faster growth and higher yields than soil - maybe they left out the part about the same controlled environment - not sure.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:11AM
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I went hydro on the patio with the elevated system mostly because of my back problems and because it's cool! I wanted to do something different too. This year is mostly a lot of experimentation for me since the only hydro I ever did was #1 illegal and #2 was about 25 years ago so I have a lot to learn. I also like dirt gardening and have always thought of myself as a pretty good gardener with great dirt results but I have to say being able to start plants in February and see the results of my own hydro system is very satisfying. I think I'm hooked and the dirt might get a break as the years go by and I become better at hydro.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:13PM
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One big disadvantage of dirt is it is rather difficult to control so many variables. a lot of bugs live in the soil or lay their eggs there. with hydro, you don't have that issue. and you don't have to worry about crawling larvae burrowing into your plants and killing them as the base of the plants aren't near where they hatch.
additionally, consider water conservation. I don't know where you live but in North Carolina we were in a sever drought last year and two years before that. if you plant in the ground, you're not only feeding your plants, but also the ones around them and you're replenishing the water table. with hydro, your plant and only your plant is getting the water you give it.
Then there's the issue of weeding. with a hyrdo system, there is none. and as charlie pointed out, you can elevate your system so its much easier on the body.
since you're not relying on the excessive amounts of water being poured into the ground to make sure your plants get enough water, with hydro, you can plant closer together and not worry about your plants competing for nutrients.
One of my personal reasons for liking hydro is that once you've got a system up and running, you can neglect it for the most part and it'll grow. with a yard garden, if you don't water regularly (and are in a drought like we have been) your plants will either die or your harvest will dramatically suffer. and by watering amply, you have that much more weeding to do since weeds like water too.
All that stuff above is why hydro is superior to dirt gardening.
Oh wait. crop rotation. I forgot that. with dirt garden you need to rotate your crops or you'll deplete you soil of need nutrients. that may be well and fine, but its not always easy to set up 3 plots to rotate your crops through.
As a medium dirt is fine. just make sure its sterile and you have a tight enough screen that none will clog your system. oh. its heavy too.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:44PM
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I'm glad you quit smoking weed, Charlie :). I too got into hydro because it seems so cool to grow things in water. But I also like the idea of never having to weed. And growing things out of season confuses or eliminates the bugs.

These are great things, but if you're talking about growing hydroponically outdoors in the normal season, there is no benefit, bugwise or diseasewise. The bugs I'm fighting can all fly. Colorado potato beetle, squash beetle, stink bug, corn earworm's parents, countless other flying bug #%^%^#ds... and they lay their eggs on the leaves.

It's really got to be indoor gardening or off-season outdoor gardening for hydroponics to work for me.

I understand that using copious amounts of water in some states is either expensive or illegal depending upon your rain situation. But unlike your locale, grizzman, Louisiana doesn't ever seem to get droughts, which is probably why we have so many bugs. Planting a garden and then ignoring it will still bear you much fruit down here, though they will be ugly fruit if you don't spray them heartily with God's gift to humanity - pesticides - every week. But you can eat even if you ignore it. Not so with hydroponics.

I still think hydro is cool. I just don't think it's 'amazing' anymore.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:34PM
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I grow chiles in hydro and, for the same chile (in this case cayenne), hydro had red/ripe chiles in 55 days, dirt in 90 days.

I know how to grow in both: hydro's 20-30% faster.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Great perspectives, thanks everyone. These are some possible major differences that stick out at me:

1) Crop rotation. This helps prevent disease and also helps manage nutrients in soil. In hydro you don't have to rotate to manage nutrients (if anything you have to flush the medium clear of nutrients). However in both soil and hydro you could have disease. It's just a lot easier to disinfect and get rid of the disease with hydro. However, it is easier in soil to encourage a healthy ecosystem to combat disease. So in these areas perhaps hydro and soil both punch each other equally, with different benefits.

2) Ease (or not) of fertilization and watering. Soil is much more of an art of experience and years of proper soil management to build good tilth to retain nutrients. I think hydro is much easier here unless you have a good local, unpolluted resource to build your soil and care for it.

3) I still can't think that soil does equally well as hydro when you think about all the extra air you can get to the roots. What about aeroponics - that's supposedly soooo much faster than soil? And what about CO2 enrichment in a greenhouse? I'll have to learn more. (Well I guess CO2 isn't restricted to hydro actually...)

So yes each has its own advantage and disadvantage. There is a LOT of benefit, I think, to having microbial activity in your healthy soil. I imagine maybe that's harder to maintain such an ecosystem in a greenhouse, I don't know. Gosh there's just too many variables to analyze about this to do a fair evaluation here. With all this said, people are growing loads of produce indoors and out using nutrients in water and inert mediums.

I guess I'll just have to keep doing both dirt and hydro and see how well each does for me and go from there.

Honestly one of the things I kind-of like about hydro is that it seems easier to get fertilizers that are much lower in heavy metal content. I am all for organics and sustainable agriculture, and I think hydroponics could be more so this some day, but as it stands right now some of the "organic" standards are a joke, I am sad to say. I still buy organic produce, but only to reduce pesticide residue mostly. Here is my problem: A lot of organic fertilizers are derived from wastewater and industrial waste. This introduces many crazy heavy metals into farm and garden soil, not to mention all the chemicals and drugs that are flushed down toilets each day. I have a real problem with this. (I just watched the Discover channel's "How It's Made" the other night and they said how the crap gets turned into organic fertilizer. On its own that's fine but there's tons of junk that goes down toilets aside from organics).

I will jump topics just to say that I think my definition of true organics must be relying on your own or very local resources for your garden, such as your yard and local farms you know and trust. I just don't think those bags of organic fertilizers are really all that organic.

This is one thing that I liked about hydroponics. It seemed to me that a lot of the fertilizers are noticeably lower in metal content than conventional fertilizers:

This will get you to a main page:

I usually use Oregon's site I think:

I did some reading on the Internet and found little regulation for fertilizers, which is why companies can dispose of their waste on our farm fields. I feel this is an important topic so I try to tell everyone about it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:45PM
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Thanks willard

I was just coming back to this post because I was just thinking, that I've heard many many places that hydro can provide 50% or more produce compared to a dirt crop. All dirt is different - your results may vary, I suppose, and to the extent that you optimize all growing conditions.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:40PM
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"I still buy organic produce..."

ACK! Why?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:52PM
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I thought wastewater or human waste by products were not allowed for organics production? I work at a SMALL city wastewater facility where there are no industrial effluents but still I see a LOT of stuff end up on the drying beds I would not want to mess with. Syringes, empty crank and/or crack baggies, condoms, every sickness and/or disease going around. Yes there are a lot of things in there I wouldn't want in or around my plants, organic or not!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 12:12AM
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You're actually not allowed to use waste from any carnivore, whether it's organics production or not. Something to do with parasites. I only know that because I tried to dump the kitty litter on the compost heap when I was a kid. At least, I think it's a law. My pop has fooled me before...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 12:24AM
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There are several projects going on with vermicomposting, mostly in Australia's wastewater industry which lend to the premise "everything that goes through a worm is transformed to class A biosolid" or thereabouts. Supposed to kill coliforms and helminth ova parasites and the like. I tried to get our new wastewater facility engineers to incorporate a commercial vermicomposting unit into our new plant process but no success in that even though the state EPA encouraged it's use for experimental purposes.

The common water snail also shows some very promising attributes in that they can ingest toxic sludges and somehow transform them into environmentally safe organic compounds.

This has got off topic but interesting stuff.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 7:19AM
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1) I don't like heavy metals in my fertilizers.
2) I don't like remnants of birth control hormones or any other such drugs in my fertilizers or my water.
3) I don't like a lot of other stuff in my water.

... 4) I buy organic produce (most of the time but not always) because I don't like the possibility that other produce has had more hazardous pesticides/fungicides/herbicides used on it - for my sake as well as the farm worker's sake. I feel this is important (pesticides), despite the bad rap I give commercial organic fertilizers, which is a different topic as we've discussed above.

I like hydro because it is much more pure (one of many reasons why). It's not organic (hey looks like it can be and will be even more so in the future), but if synthetics are used correctly it can be a good thing.

I went to a farmer's market today and there was a wheatgrass juicer guy there. I always wanted to try wheatgrass as I've heard its great for you, so I decided to live it up and pay him $3 for a shot of it. He cut the grass from a pallet he had there - looked great - and juiced it right there for me. He proceeded in a discussion about how the wheatgrass at whole foods and other places, they are growing it hydroponically now, and because it doesn't grow in the soil it doesn't get all the good nutrients/vitamins it should, and that his flats of wheatgrass are better because he takes the time to grow them in soil.

On the other hand I have been told that hydroponic crops can excel in nutrient content because of the premium nutrients and care the plants get. He then went on to tell me that he has a commercial juicer at home and he sells the juice to health food stores around the country. He said he has been accused of putting sugar in his juice because it tastes sweeter than other wheatgrass, but he doesn't add anything - he says it is because of the soil. (it tasted like aspartame to me, not sugar, and my wife said that wheatgrass tasted nothing like other wheatgrass she's had)

I asked him where he sold his commercially and he said all around the country, health food stores, whole foods market, etc. It was very confusing. I felt like he contradicted himself in a few areas but it goes to show you gotta be careful out there who you trust.

I don't doubt him saying that hydro produces bitter tasting wheatgrass, I suppose, depending on how you grow it. I'll bet you can put a carbohydrate supplement in there and it would be fine. I just love it when I get in a conversation like that and see how much I can get out of them, to determine if they are real and know what they are talking about, or, if they are just trying to sell me something.

Links I just found and read a little bit in:


In short, it seems like all the studies claim there is not huge risk, but I'm a little bit touchy on this nonetheless.

Here is a quote showing how the fertilizer industry is regulated in such a way that the USA has targeted fertilizers as a way to dispose of industrial and biosolid waste:

Fertilizers made from (industrial) waste:
Most industrial wastes are not considered hazardous waste. A small portion of industrial waste
considered hazardous makes its way into the fertilizer stream. Of this, most of the material is
used as a source for zinc. (12, 15) Industrial waste is regulated under RCRA, with specific
limits and requirements published for substances that are considered hazardous waste. (10)
Interestingly, the heavy metals that are regulated under RCRA are measured by availability
(TCLP) rather than by total metals content, making it impossible to compare RCRA regulations
with other fertilizer regulations, which all require total metals analysis, rather than extractable
metals. (10) RCRA was designed to both encourage recycling and reuse of industrial materials,
while at the same time protecting the environment and human health from exposure to chemical
hazards. As with biosolids, the US EPA targeted the fertilizer market as potential way to dispose
of waste products. Slag and cyclone material from steel production and slag from brass foundriesis exempt from hazardous waste regulation. (10, 15) These waste streams are often used as to
manufacture zinc fertilizers. (12)

'Nother interesting link:!OpenDocument

Fertilizers and soil amendments can be derived from virgin raw material, composts and other organic matter, and wastes, such as sewage sludge and certain industrial wastes. These wastes can include some that are regulated as hazardous under state and federal regulations.

So... we gotta eat -- but it makes me wonder how good the fertilizer is the farmer uses.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:45AM
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I have read that hydroponics would be considered organic except for the manner in which the waste (old nutrient) is disposed of.
It would be neat to see hydroponic recycling centers where you could dump your old solutions.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Oh! Perhaps my utter disdain for organic gardening is misplaced. I thought you guys were talking about the kind of organics where you could not use the best fertilizer because it was made in a chemical plant. You ended up stuck using things like bone meal, fish meal, cow plop, potash and compost. I had no idea you could use chemical plant produced things like urea, potassium phosphate, calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, etc. like the stuff found in hydroponics nutrients and still be considered organic.

Even though I LOVE pesticides and fungicides, I too am unwilling to use them in a hydroponics setup since 1) it's inside the house, and 2) it's likely there is no microbes to disassemble them in the nutrient solution like there is in dirt.

I'm still anti-organic in the garden because it's just not practical, but I'll meet you halfway and be organic in the home and greenhouse! Fair enough? I'll even buy a tye-die shirt and a protest sign (slogan to be filled in later) tomorrow.

Hehe, that last line was a joke :).

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 8:12PM
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Be careful with the chemicals, iliketoast. I know it may be convenient but there are health issues with all of that. Chemicals used on lawns account for even more danger than farms because most homeowners apply way more than is needed. You've got wind drift, and dogs /shoes that drag residual inside. Most pesticide exposure occurs when you're really young because you play and crawl on the floor, and many of them have been linked to development disorders and health problems, some very serious, in animals and people.

There are some great new pesticides / herbicides coming out nowadays that are even OMRI certified and not nearly as harmful - I can't say that I have much experience with any of them though - haven't had the need. Just be careful with them.

There are some good mechanical (bugs don't build resistance) products like like borax, and diatamacious earth, and there are natural pyrethrins, and some biological controls for caterpillars (ack, what's the name...). There is neem oil of course, and safer soap, and corn gluten is supposedly an effective weed suppressor if applied at the correct time. All of these products I have seen at local grocery stores and/or Lowe's. Of course you still have to be careful with these but many are safe to apply up to the day of harvest - I don't think neem oil is. Again I don't really have experience with these as to their effectiveness, I've just read about them. (although I can say safer soap kills aphids good)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:07PM
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Hydroponics grows way faster than dirt when done properly. I like using aero, flood and drain as well as dwc. Alot of the nutrients are chemical. I like to use hyro organic mixtures. General makes some one part nutrients and is one good option. Maxsea is another hydro organic mixture but no where near as concentrated or cost effective as general. You can make organic teas, but they smell funny and you have to have somewhere to store them and brew them. You are right about neem. It's not safe to use the day of harvest but it is a systemic not a pesticide. It actually attacks the bugs gestation period as well as deters them from eating your plants. You can also make vodka,hot pepper, and peroxide concoctions in order to keep plants safe as well.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 2:57AM
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Thanks desade.

I am going to eventually try a new organic nutrient (OMRI certified even) that is coming out that claims to be nose-friendly: Pura Vida is on their main page now.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 7:35AM
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The original question of "Do Plants grow faster in Hydro than in Dirt?" Of course it all depends.

If the Hydro system, location, lighting, temp, nutrient, etc are all perfect for the type of plant and the dirt is just whatever in a location less than perfect and getting little/no extra attention, then definitely, Hydro will grow faster.

That "experiment" pictured in the fist post, I fear probably had one flaw. It was noted that the temps were pretty chilly and hence the hydro tank had heaters in it. I suspect the difference in growth rates had far more to do with the supplemental heating than with the different growing methods. Had the plants in the cups of soil gotten an equivalent amount of supplemental heating, they would probably be quite close to the hydro ones in size.

I do find that some plants in my location/climate are much better suited to hydroponic growing than soil. Others do very well in soil and there is really no reason to go to the added $$$ to try and grow them in hydro when the results would likely be poor anyway.

A side note, I'm not so much into Hydroponics anymore though I may still grow some lettuce that way sometimes. I've discovered Aquaponics where one can avoid the industrially produced nutrient mixes and allow micro-flora/fauna to grow in unsterilized grow media to transform fish waste into plant nutrients while purifying the water for the fish. Aquaponics generally needs to stick with very safe means of pest control as the dangerous stuff will kill the fish. So, anyway, the media can and should be alive with a wonderful micro-herd for Aquaponics and many people even put composting worms into their gravel grow beds.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Hydro page

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 1:14PM
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Does it? I dont have a garden personally but I have picked up more than enough information to know that yeah it does. You eliminated: Most bugs, eggs, soil borne diseases, sometimes double your yields depending on plant and applied nutrients. You could possibly use 5-10x's more water growing the same plant in soil. This list goes on and on my friend do some studying and the light bulb will come on.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:30AM
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I'm starting to re-believe that you guys are right: Hydroponics plants grow faster. I planted a dwarf determinate tomato plant in dirt and an Aerogarden on the same day. This is not an accurate test, since the aerogarden tomato receives 18 hours of false light + 2 hours of sunlight, while the potted tomato receives twelve hours of slightly diffused sunlight. It's in the greenhouse which is covered with opaque 6 mil plastic that cuts out some unknown amount of sunlight.

Regardless, a month later, the Aerogarden tomatoes are 13" tall and have two sets of tomato buds on them, while the ones in the greenhouse are about 7" tall and only have one set of buds.

The plants in the greenhouse look slightly healthier, being a deeper green and having fatter leaves, but you can't argue with the number of buds. We'll see when we count the number of tomatoes produced I guess. I'm still looking forward to next fall when the smackdown will occur - dirt vs. hydro in full sunlight only.



    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 1:03PM
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Well, by gosh, we have reinvented the wheel once more.

It is common knowledge that hydro produces better than dirt and there are stacks of books with this information. Ask NASA, for instance.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 4:19PM
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How does one ask NASA something? I would love to see results from their experiments, Willard. Can you point me to one of them?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 4:55PM
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The leaf size and texture may be due to temperature and other environmental differences, I *think*.

I am waiting on the smackdown round myself (I believe willard is correct but it will be interesting to see if you can get the experiment to be truly accurate).

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:32PM
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Try googling "NASA hydroponics"

Here is a link that might be useful: Nasa hydro

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 8:16AM
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Thanks for the link. I thought you meant they did a side by side study of hydro vs. dirt farming. I would love to see results of such a study done by professionals.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 10:55AM
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Ill pitch in and say yes, hydro grows faster.

HereÂs a few shots of my Bhut Jolokia plants originally started Dec. 1, 2007. One was moved to a DWC bucket on Jan.9. It and two others were moved to a DWC Rubbermaid bin on Feb. 3.

These puppies are notoriously slow growers. I now have flowers and have switched to HPS lighting. I expect fully ripe fruit in 30 Â 45 days. Seed I started on Jan. 1 and left in dirt are now only 2 inches tall!

These two shots were taken March 2.

These two shots were taken March 23.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 7:34PM
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looks like you'll have a lot of peppers.
Though I would still wager artificial lights plays into it as much as the liquid media.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I don't think it is as simple as saying, "Hydroponic plants grow better than plants grown in dirt". I think as scientists we need to examine the reason why this occurs.

Putting one plant in a pot of dirt, and another in a hydroponic system is comparing apples to oranges.

Yes, hydroponically grown plants tend to grow faster and often have higher yeilds but is it because hydroponics magically increases growth or is it because better care is taken of the plants?

If you constantly monitored the pH and nutrient levels of a soil grown plant, as well as creating a soil mix that provided optimal air/water ratios for the root zone, I hypothesize that you would not see much difference between soil and hydro grown plants. In other words, it isn't the hydroponics system that causes improved growth, it is the extra care and attention that hydroponically grown plants recieve that their soil-bound counterparts do not.

Q: Why grow in hydroponics?
A: Clean fingernails.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 9:15AM
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"it isn't the hydroponics system that causes improved growth, it is the extra care and attention that hydroponically grown plants recieve that their soil-bound counterparts do not."

I think that the hydroponic discipline allows a person to take care of the plants optimally in an easier way than what dirt allows. It's easier to provide those optimum conditions with hydro than it is with dirt.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 11:27PM
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I've been thinking about what sdrawkab is discussing for a little while now. When I'm fiddling with my hydro plants, I purposely blow a few breaths on them for example. That's totally cheating if it's not done on the potted plants.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 7:08PM
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There are in fact many pest and disease advantages to hydro vs soil. with contact with the earth, you eliminate soil borne disease and most larvae that are laid in the soil.
Almost all plants I've grown hydroponically have done better that my earth plants. But its because water is done with a timer. If i set my earthen plants on timed waterings, I'm sure they grow much better too.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 8:16PM
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Dont know about hydro but aquaponics does [if i work out how to post photos i have some ripper aqua plants]

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 5:24AM
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It is my understanding that hydroponics grows plants faster with higher yields, and the reason is not that the plants are better tended too (ph, ppm, temperature, etc.) but rather that the plants roots are provided with more access to oxygen. Whether the plant is grown with and "ebb and flow", or a aeroponic style, it is all the same, the roots are alternately flooded with a bath of nutrients and lots of oxygen either simultaneously or in between feedings.

A plant grown in soil suffers from more compact conditions and less access of oxygen to the roots.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:16AM
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Another benefit of hydro is that hydro plants don't waste much energy making roots and dirt plants do.

What energy is not used making roots makes fruits.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 11:28AM
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tailwheel(z9 CALIF)

I don't know, but this year I planted my tomatoes in dirt and this morning, my wife asked me what in the hell is taking them sooooo long?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I didn't read all the posts, so forgive me if I am repeating something. They seemed to go off topic and I am easily distracted.

Those that feel that growing in the ground - not dirt, since dirt can be used with hydro, though usually isn't - is as fast as hydro have unfortunately not experienced proper hydroponics. This isn't a matter of opinion or even good fertilizers. It not only makes total sense, but science 100% backs it up. You simply can't achieve the same rate of nutrient uptake and purity from the ground like you can with aerable medium and hydro nutrients. Fertilizers for ground are much stronger because they can't possibly be taken up in the same way they would in a proper hydro setup. Their very strength is a testament to the fact that uptake is many times slower in the ground. If you use those same strengths in hydro, you will kill the plants by overdosing them. Also, in hydro you have a constant supply of nutrients in the water and no resistance to root growth. Obviously root growth in the ground is going to be slower due to resistance and slower nutrient uptake and thus overall plant growth will be slower.

Now, this isn't to say that hydro is better. I do both. My ground plants tend to have more flavor and I believe it has a lot to do with the slower vegetative growth. The plants don't get anywhere near as big. My 2 foot tall cayenne pepper plant in the ground is 4 feet shorter than my hydro peppers and they are the same seeds sown at the same time. Of course, I have 8 peppers at this time on one ground plant and 38 on my hydro plant. I use "organic" nutrients from GH for the hydro. Not because they are organic, but because they work. Organic is just a marketing term anymore. And I noticed someone decided to mention the organics not having as bad a pesticide. The worst pesticides are approved for organic production. Rotenone anyone? One of the most commonly used and more poisonous than most synthetics. Too many people think that organic means safe and it never has. Neem is pretty bad, too.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:06PM
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I did my own test, and I think that is where one comes to form a good opinion about which is better for them. I love playing in the dirt. But I got a bad back, and I do not have the dirt right now since I live in an apartment.

Here is why I think Hydro is better for me. First off all my plants are grown indoors. I have artificial lights, and I have fans that move air and cool the plants. All my plants are grown bubble-ponic or in a bath.

The reason why it is better for me is because of where I live and my lifestyle. I make a decent living, and have room inside as a single person to grow inside. I have no kids to knock things over or get into stuff. After all, hydroponics are expensive, and messy.

All my plants sit on a table that is about 3' high. I seldom need to bend over to pick up anything, hence I can enjoy gardening without a backache. I did have dirt potted plants for a while, but bugs changed all that later on.

I started out buying one of those "6 packs" of plants that had a total of 6 pepper plants in it. I put two in dirt, one for a backup to my hydroponic planted one in case it died, the other to compare to the hydro planted one.

One month later, I still had three plants. Both dirt planted peppers were doing fine. They required almost no maintenance in regard to checking PH, and draining and creating a new solution of nutrients. But hands down, the hydro pepper was twice as big, already had fruit and tons of flowers, while the dirt ones were half the size and just started flowering and had far fewer flowers on them.

Another month went by, the hydro pepper plant was done, all its peppers were eaten by me. Both dirt and hydro planted plants were close to the same size in the end. The dirt plant looked healthier as it did not have the mistakes I made to the hydro plant scar it like the other. The peppers were formed, but not ripe on the dirt plant.

Then I got bugs, killed everything because I bought another dirt planted plant and those bugs got everything. (I was gone for three days)

For me hydro is more rewarding in that I get to build the system, and then play with it. The plants grow faster for me, and I have no pests to worry about.

The disadvantage is costs, mess, and maintenance. The advantages are faster growing plants, fun experimenting, and it keeps me out of trouble.

BTW, I planted one of the peppers outdoors in dirt in a pot and one in the ground. Both died over time due to low light (I live in the Seattle area), cold mornings, and bugs.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 3:43PM
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