Alternative Gardening Techniques for Garden Rooms
Garden rooms are a versatile addition to your living space, whether it’s attached to your house or a stand-alone structure in your back yard. It can serve as a sunroom, personalized home office, studio, den, or lounging area. Not only do garden rooms create more living space and functional square footage to your residence, but it can also increase your home’s market value.
A garden room need not be a plain enclosed space with potted and hanging plants. It can be a showcase of exotic flora and an alternative gardening technique, such as hydroponics. Let’s discuss this novel method of gardening that you can apply in your garden room.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a centuries-old technique of gardening that entails growing plants in a pH-adjusted mineral nutrient solution instead of soil. The word itself is a combination of the Greek words for water (hydro) and labor (pono). The literal meaning of hydroponics is “working water.” This technique was used by the historic Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and other areas where there’s little or no arable land or space. For those benefits alone, hydroponics can be a worthy option for your garden room designs.
Types of Hydroponics
There are six basic types of hydroponics, and hydroponic systems are usually variations or combinations of these types.
1. Wick System
This hydroponic method is one of the simplest. It is mainly composed of a nutrient solution drawn into the growing medium from a reservoir with a wick. Instead of soil, popular choices for the growing medium are vermiculite, perlite, pro-mix, and coconut fiber.
2. Water Culture
The water culture hydroponic system is also called the “deep water” hydroponics. This method consists of a styrofoam platform that holds the plants, which floats directly on a nutrient solution. An aquarium air pump is used to supply air to an airstone that’s submerged in the solution, which in turn gives oxygen to the plant roots. This method is best for water-loving plants like leaf lettuce.
3. Drip Systems
In a drip system, drip emitters are used to supply the nutrient solution to plants in containers with inert media like peat, perlite, coir, or grow stones. The containers are placed on the floor with gutters to collect the solution that flows through the containers, or collected in a reservoir for reuse.
4. The Kratky Method
This type of hydroponics is similar to the water culture method but is even simpler. The Kratky method consists of growing the plants in large containers or buckets, with their supporting structure fixed to the top of the container instead of floating. As the nutrient solution is consumed, the plant roots are gradually exposed to the air, supplying them with oxygen. The nutrient solution is placed at a level where only the bottom portion of the roots are submerged.
5. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In this technique, water is pumped from the solution reservoir and through shallow channels. Plants in pots or blocks of inert media are placed in these channels, with a drain at the end. The plant roots aren’t submerged in water but grown within a thin film of nutrient solution that flows continuously through the entire system.
Aeroponics is the most complex and technology-dependent type of hydroponics. This method consists of freely hanging the plants in a chamber without any media. The roots are misted periodically with water and a nutrient solution by automated pressurized nozzles.
Hydroponics can be an efficient method of growing flowers, plants, herbs and vegetables in your garden room year-round. When deciding on which type of hydroponics, consider your budget and the time and effort you’re willing to put into its maintenance. Contact us to know more.