I can't tell you how many people tell me they wish they could garden, but they don't have the space. Truth is--we don't need that much space to have a garden! In fact, all you need is a patio!
Container gardens are a great solution for a lack of space, but they're not right for everyone. You need to purchase soil that is right for containers and continue to replenish the soil year after year. It's difficult to control the origin of the soil or the "ingredients" in it. For example, many choose to include peat moss, which isn't exactly sustainable or environmentally friendly.
Hydroponics is an answer to most of our gardening questions: How can I garden without enough space? How can I be more responsible with my growing mediums and practices? How can I conserve water? How can I make sure my plants stay healthy and grow bigger?
Whenever I talk to people about hydroponics, they seem to assume that it's a complicated process, but to be honest--it's easier than any soil gardening I've ever done!
What It Is
Here's the low down: hydroponic gardening means to grow without soil. Instead, the plant's roots grow in water that is full of the nutrients it needs to grow.
Why It's Awesome
According to researchers at the University of Arizona, soil-grown crops use around 10 times as much water as crops grown hydroponically. TEN TIMES! That's because when we water our plants, we don't contain the water that doesn't get absorbed by the roots. It runs off, sometimes taking valuable nutrients with it.
When a plant is grown in a container with water, the only water that gets used is that which is taken up by the roots. The rest hydrates the roots, awaiting its turn to nourish the plant. It keeps the plant evenly and sufficiently watered, leading to juicier, tastier veggies and more of them... and faster! It also eliminates most of the pests that plague our soil plants. No more boring insects or soil-born pests.
Here are some examples from our own hydrohomestead here on Kraus Farm:
This is two week's progress for one of my favorite tomato varieties: Herman Special.
In the first photo below, you can see the size of my hydroponic starts. Two weeks later, look at the size of those in the other photos!
Our tomatoes, lettuce, and sweet peppers LOVE the hydroponic buckets. Just look at what we've take out of our buckets in the past!
Perfect for the Patio
There are lots of different designs for hydroponic systems. You can grow a tomato plant in a single bucket, or you can build more intricate vertical or rafting systems. We've done them all at the Kraus Farm, and each has their advantages.
For a beginner, the bucket system is a fantastic and easy way to grow home-grown vegetable plants right on your patio. Trust me--I've done it.
On our patio that year, we grew hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and peppers, along with some Swiss chard, lettuce, melons, zucchini, and broccoli.
Let Us Help
This year, we're offering a new service! Let us help you try something new. No fussing with soil, fertilizers, tilling, weeding, or digging. We can set you up with as many buckets as you want, the plants to go with them, and spend a morning helping you to setup and learn about your new system.
We'll help you out with exactly what you need, no more and no less!
What you'll get:
Buckets designed to hold your plants all season
Growing medium for the plants and roots
The plants of your choice
Liquid nutrients to last all season
At-home setup and consultation
Hands-on how-to guide for caring for your plants
"Cheat Sheet" for reference
Unlimited questions and answers with Kraus Farm throughout the season
I'm very excited to start sharing our love of hydroponic gardening with our community! Contact us today to get started!