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Water Gardening - Hydroponics

When God created the heaven and the earth, He also created the waters and all that abounds within. Interestingly, water is an essential part of both heaven AND earth and everything that lives and grows therein. Rain comes from the heavens, falls to earth in the form of snow or water and replenishes the natural reservoirs under ground and in the oceans. Water is a basic requirement of life - all life. Humans, plants, birds, insects, animals, fish and marine life die without water. Remove water = remove life.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT

Just as water is an essential to our existence, it is also provides wonderful recreational and learning opportunities. Many water sports immediately come to mind, but think, too, of an elementary form for growing things - water gardening or "hydroponics."

Hydroponics is actually "soil-less" gardening. The word itself is a conjunction of two Greek words. You may already know that "hydro" means water but you probably don't know that "ponics" means labor.

Lucky Bamboo is a fine example of a plant that will grow well forever in water. It does not need gravel or a planting medium for survival. Only water with, perhaps, a slight dab of fertilizer from time to time.

LIKE A FISH TAKES TO WATER

Did you know you can grow a grapefruit tree in a fish aquarium? The next time you have a fresh grapefruit (or lemon or orange), take a seed and press it into the gravel at the bottom of your aquarium. It will sprout and actually grow inside the aquarium. The benefit is mutual - the green leaves will actually emit oxygen into the water and the droppings from the fish provide food for the plant. Sorry, but I have no idea how long this arrangement will last because I've always dismantled the aquarium after a couple of years and hand to pull the tiny little trees from the gravel. If you try this, please let me know your results.

THE BARE ROOT OF THE MATTER

Growing vegetables by using hydroponics has gained in popularity over the past several years. Claims are made that some vegetables, such as tomatoes, have greater yields when grown by hydroponics. Pests are less of an issue since the crops are not in soil which contains molds, fungus and a plethora of insects in various stages of development so far less pesticides are necessary to keep the plants healthy.

CRYSTALS OF WATER - NOT SNOW, NOT ICE, BUT NICE!

We often use "water crystals" in Lucky Bamboo arrangements. Water crystals are actually a polymer gel sold in granular form that looks similar to dried, crushed white corn. When water is added to the gel granules, the granules absorb up to 10 times their weight or volume with water. If you use only the water crystals be sure to put the container in an area that is not exposed to direct sunlight as algae will form. If that happens, simply remove the gel and replace it with clean and fresh crystals. You can then mix the algae-ridden gel into your regular planting soil and use it for other houseplants, hanging baskets, or patio container plants.

Water crystals are great for hanging baskets as they hold the water without allowing it to run out of the pot. Be somewhat frugal, though, when mixing the dried gel granules into the potting mix as it will expand and spill out of your container when you add water. It's best to mix the gel with water first, then use a handful or two and mix it into your potting soil, tamping firmly around your plant.

When the water crystals are reconstituted, you may also add a light liquid fertilizer to the water before adding the crystals. That way, the fertilizer will be released to the plant as needed, or "on demand."