Sand and non-circulatory hydroponics?

AFallingEmberSeptember 7, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm new to gardening and would like to try non-circulatory sand. I've read that sand is only to be used in run-to-waste hydroponic systems. Why is this? Sand is inert and can be sterilized. Why can't it be used in something like a non-circulatory hydroponic system? And has anyone tried this? Also, any tips on making hydroponics more sustainable?

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'non-circulatory?' I am thinking of wick hydroponics, where the media stays partially submerged in liquid, which then wicks upward to wet the rest of the roots. I think just about any media could work for that. My only issue with wet sand is that it might not hold enough air. You would need coarse sand and maybe some perlite or gravel.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Thanks for your reply, Cole_Robbie. And yes, that's exactly what I meant. Either that or the Kratky method seem low-tech enough for my situation. From what I've read, sand allows for very good air flow and allows the roots to grow more than any other medium, so I think I'm good there. According to the theory, the lower roots continue growing downward as the nutrient solution gets lower; meanwhile, the upper roots are exposed to moistened air. I think I'll just go ahead and try it - setting it up would take less time than doing more research. I just wanted to know if anyone had done something similar already, or had any kind of advice. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:05PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

My two pieces of eight,

I live in Florida and the soil is 100% sand UV sterilized daily in summer and the water table is very close. That makes my yard a giant hydroponic flood and drain or ebb and flow depending on the rainfall. The problem with growing anything in the yard is that the sand drains instantly at any temperature I am interested except November's and the first days of Spring.

The shortcoming of sand in a hydroponic system is identical. It is either flooded through all the empty spaces, and then suddenly dries too quickly. The drying can be handled, almost s if it were aeroponic, but the flooding drowns the roots, deprives them of oxygen and invites infection, as many of my failed attempts in the yard prove.

The challenge if you want to force sand to work is getting & holding the exact point between dry and logged which like you said shold be great, theoretically. I long ago gave up except for native plants made for this - a few wild vines that produces grapes and supposedly Passionfruit.

A better option is gravel. The surface shaping of the fine stuff from the pet shop has nooks and crannies allowing for capillary action which will be way better to open up that dense sand waterlogged environment and hold the point enogh time to make it less of an enginerring nighhtmore and more of a hobby hydro project,

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 8:17PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

The Kratky method doesn't really use diddly squat for medium except for in the net. You could use sand in that. I used 1/16th inch pumice when I tried growing a jug. Worked great. That said, sand for hydro needs to be pretty coarse and sifted to remove fine material in order to supply enough air.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:02PM
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you can check out Epcot in florida they are doing a wide variety of veggies in sand. Their link is

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:11AM
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Sand when compacted sets like concrete been there done that and moved on to more preferable materials.
Go sown to the beach and see the sand when water travels over it, it is like cement.
Unless you use a very coarse sand you are in for trouble but as also mentioned by Pupilla Charites this can dry out very quickly as well. This is just my view and I could be wrong but after trying nearly every medium available I have moved on to materials that offer the optimum results

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:15AM
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