CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex talked hydroponic gardening this week, welcoming Cullman County Master Gardener Michael Weems to its Living Landscapes program. In his “Hydroponics- the How and Why” class, Weems taught attendees the basics of constructing and maintaining a hydroponic growing system for vegetables and herbs.
Weems, said Agriplex Director Rachel Dawsey, constructed the Agriplex’s own hydroponics garden.
Weems said a basic hydroponics build for home gardeners can be achieved for around $100.
“This is the future of growing,” he said. “Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel or liquid with added nutrients without soil.”
Weems said he prefers natural fertilizers and nutrients, sharing, “I really want to be as close with nature as I can be.”
In particular, he spoke of the Kratky method of hydroponics, in which gardeners can grow vegetables and herbs in pots suspended above reservoirs of water and nutrients.
Weems said advantages of hydroponic gardening include:
- No weeding, mulching or tilling are required.
- Doing away with soil does away 50% of pest problems.
- It uses a mineral nutrient solution with water being the solvent.
- The nutrient uptake process is more efficient.
- Easy control of the proper PH and nutrients needed for plant growth
- It uses 20% less water and less space.
- You can grow year-round (if growing indoors).
- The technique is easy to understand, easy to learn and does require prior knowledge.
- Concrete results are achieved quickly.
Living Landscapes is a monthly educational program for adults offering information on sustainability in your backyard. Register at www.agriplex.org. Programs are $5 per person. Those interested can call 256-297-1044 for more information. The next Living Landscapes program will be “Seed Swap and Best Southern Varieties” Feb. 4 from 6-8 p.m. The Agriplex is located at 1714 Talley Ho St., Cullman.
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