Hydroponics is the culture of growing plants without soil. The plants roots are either suspended
in the air which is kept humid, anchored in an inert growing medium which is kept
moist or in a water solution that is kept aerated.
Nutrients are in the form of mineral salts, all plants need these elements for healthy growth. Plants grown in hydroponics do not grow in soil and all of their food source must come from the nutrient solution. A good hydroponics nutrient usually contains three primary elements three secondary and six to eight micro elements in the correct proportions respectively. Soil boosters or fertilizers should not be confused with nutrient solutions.
At Gold Coast Hydroponics every nutrient that is offered to our customers is of the highest quality and uniform consistency. Some growers prefer a two part nutrient over a one part or a liquid nutrient to a powder nutrient. Each nutrient has its own merits in its own way. If you are specializing in a single crop e.g. Orchids, Tomatoes, lettuce etc we can obtain the correct nutrient required if we do not carry it in stock
In Hydroponics a growing medium is normally used which acts as an anchor for the roots. The growing medium has to be porous and have good water/oxygen holding capabilities. The medium also needs to be inert. Mediums are used to suit a particular system rather than a particular crop.
Perlite is a mineral processed from a silica type volcanic rock. It has very good water retention and capillary action and can be mixed with vermiculite, Coco Peat or used just by its self. It’s a useful media to use in a self watering pot, a wick garden or in certain recirculating systems e.g. N.F.T. or Trickle systems.
Vermiculite is also processed from a mineral mined from the earth which is heated at high temperatures to create a light spongy material which is extremely absorbent, not normally used on its own it is usually mixed with another medium for extra water retention. Vermiculite has excellent cation exchange capacity, which in simple terms refer to its ability to transfer nutrients from one particle to another very efficiently.
Expanded clay is heat processed in rotary kilns. The clay is expanded and in doing so becomes very light and porous. Its loose structure enables unrestricted root growth, excellent drainage and oxygen holding. Expanded Clay is clean reasonably light and can be used again on certain crops. Overall and excellent media for flood and drain, top feed, aggregate gardens and pot systems.
Rockwool is manufactured by heating at high temperatures a mixture of basalt rock limestone and silica. It is then spun back together and cured. Rockwool comes in slabs, blocks, cubes or in granulated/flock form. Even when completely saturated it still holds 20% air. Rockwool is a very versatile medium which is excellent for practically all Hydroponic systems. It also produces consistent results in seed and clone propagation.
Coco is a relatively new medium in Hydroponics but has fast become one of the most popular. Unlike traditional mediums which are ‘inorganic’ Coco is ‘organic’ and comes from the husk of the Coconut. The emergence of Coco has also brought about specific Coco nutrients although standard nutrients work quite fine with this medium. Coco fiber has great water holding capabilities and lends itself well to Trickle systems and hand watered systems.