Here at Sion Hill we’re still trying to pick up the pitchfork but this time we have decided to do it aquatic style. Something new and exciting has started and it is all thanks to Hydroponics.
Some people at this point might be thinking what is hydroponics? And the answer is simple; it is just growing plants without using any soil. That said it was not an easy process to set up and took a lot of research and time.
To set up we had to use tubes with about ten holes each. However, because this was an experiment we only used 2 tubes to plant with. The plants also don’t just float around; they're placed in a container that contains beads. These beads are called growing media and are made of clay. They act like soil so the plants are firmly upright and anchored. These beads have no nutrients to provide for the plants like soil does. So the question: How do plants thrive and grow without these nutrients? The answer: They don’t, plants need nutrients like any other but since the beads don’t provide it, it needs to be inserted. Using a syringe the nutrients are inserted every two days.
Nutrients Used to Feed the Plants
The fascinating thing about our farm is that it’s done by hand without using a pump. This means the water has to be emptied and then refilled every two days. By changing the water we add oxygen to the roots because they need it to survive.
And so after a week or so our farm looks like this:
What is also surprising is that many things thrive in hydroponic gardens. We are growing: mint, green pepper, chives, Chinese cabbage, parsley and lettuce.
However, even though we did well we did run into a few problems, we had the LETTUCE INCIDENT for example, we had a minor tropical storm hit us and some of the lettuce flew away! We also found a slug wrapped around a container and we had to take it off before it ate the plant.
The Roots Growing From a Successful Plant
Even though this has turned out to be successful we have not forgotten soil at all. We still grow many plants using soil.
In fact we have this rack, which has the same material the hydroponic garden uses except that this one has soil. We made this one for comparison and well; the plants seem to thrive in both the hydroponic garden and the soil one.
In conclusion, it seems like we’re doing a pretty good job.