Hydroponics is all about making a series of decisions that ultimately affects the fate of your garden. One of the most vital decisions that you will have to make is what growing medium you will use to grow your plants. While each has their upsides and downsides, and every grower has their own preferences based upon personal experiences, you should seriously consider using hydroton.
Hydroton is a kind of expanded clay pebble which is typically manufactured in Germany. While it is usually used as a growing medium for flowers and larger vegetables plants like peppers, growers of all stripes have found fantastic success from using hydroton.
Here are some of the primary reasons why you should give hydroton a try in your hydroponic garden.
Reusable – One of the major advantages of hydroton is that it is a major money saver. Unlike some hydroponic media that can wear away after a few growing seasons, or even after just a single growing season, you can use hydroton over and over again, virtually for as long as you grow hydroponically. All your really need to do them is clean them thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide after each growing season and then give them a good rinse.
Retains Water – The prime reason why most people choose growing media that may deteriorate, such as rockwool or coco coir, over more stable media such as perlite, is because perlite does not hold water very well at all. But what is remarkable about hydroton is that despite the fact that it is a very stable, reusable, easy to handle material, it also retains water reasonably well. This is an important feature because it gives that extra level of insurance that all of the nutrients and moisture that you need will be able to be used by your hydroponically grown plants. It also allows you to weather minor glitches in the performance of your equipment without suffering any major ill effects.
PH Neutral – One of the challenges of hydroponic media such as sphagnum moss and rockwool is that they are not pH neutral. This means that they might cause your nutrient solution to drift either acid or alkaline once it actually enters your grow tray. This can make finding and adjusting for the proper pH levels a little bit of an extra challenge.
With hydroton, however, you will never experience this problem. It is totally pH neutral, and if you establish the ideal pH range of between 5.6 and 6.3 in your nutrient solution, you can rest assured that is will stay this way in the root zone media. It also helps because you do not have to work quite as hard to bring the pH to an ideal level.
Excellent Aeration – Another major positive for hydroton is that you will never have to worry about drowning your plant from over-watering. The loose pebbles provide ample opportunity for lots of oxygen to enter your roots, giving them plenty of opportunity to thrive and grow large.
Affordable – If you find that your hydroponics budget is a perpetually strained because you have to spend so much money on your growing medium, you should definitely consider hydroton to conquer your financial woes. The main reason for this is that this material is fairly cheap to make, which makes it very easy on your wallet.
Using hydroton as your growing medium of choice has many benefits. They can be found in the grow rooms of virtually every style of hydroponic grower, but they are particularly favored by growers of flowers and growers of certain vegetables for their valuable properties. While there are many options to choose from, each has their upsides and downsides, and it might take some experience and testing to really find the hydroponic medium that works the best for your plants and your particular style of growing. So good luck and happy growing!