Hydroponics gardening guide – growing mediums used in hydroponics – Soil less Mixtures and Coconut Fiber
Soil less Mixtures
There is a great amount of soil less mixtures available, which contain different ingredients. Sphagnum moss, perlite, and vermiculite are the most widely spread hydroponics components, used in such mixtures.
Being organic, soil less growing media are usually used for container gardening wick systems or on-recovery drip systems. It is also possible to use soil less mixtures in recovery systems, however, it is necessary to remember that because of very fine particles in such mixtures, they can clog tubes, pumps and drip emitters, when used without a good filtration system. By the way, according to the urban gardeners, one can use panty hose as a filter: just fit it to the return line and to the pump inlet, and all the tiny particles will be filtered out.
Most soil less mixes form a good growing medium for multiple hydroponic and organic gardens, because they can hold water well, have great wicking action, and, at the same time, they provide a reasonable amount of air to the roots of growing plants.
The popularity of coconut fiber as growing medium increases rapidly around the world. Being the first totally organic growing medium, providing highest performance for hydroponic systems, coconut fiber may soon become the most popular growing medium ever. It is interesting to note that coconut fiber is, actually, a waste product, which contains the powdered husks of coconuts.
In comparison to rockwool, coconut fiber is characterized with higher oxygen capacity and water retaining. These features are important advantages for hydroponic systems with intermittent watering cycles.
Coconut fiber also contains a lot of root stimulating hormones, thus offering some protection against fungus infestation and other root diseases. The mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% expanded clay pellets is considered to be the perfect growing medium.
However, it is necessary to underline one precaution when buying coconut fiber. Avoid purchasing a low grade coconut fiber, which is very fine grained and contains a high level of sea-salts. Such coconut fiber will have negative and disappointing effect on hydroponic system.
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