I am no wizard when it comes to gardening. I am just a toddler who is learning with trial and error basis be it soil or hydroponics. However, last summer I had a satisfactory success with my own herb garden and my confidence level is up now. I am planning a raised bed by the middle of 2016.
I admit I started out small this time and practiced a lot of patience which I lacked during my initial gardening days. It started out on a small table, then on the kitchen windowsill etc. in small Mason jars. I began regrowing the veggies I have taken home from market and began sprouting from their bottom bits which otherwise would have been an addition in compost pile or trash can.
From cilantro stems to scallions, celery stalks to lettuce heads, fennel bulbs etc., I started off with everything. The scallions are quite speedy and germinate easily. Once trimmed they grow taller and even new shoots start to pop up not to mention the hairy roots that look healthier thanks to the water that I keep changing everyday.
As cilantro comes with roots, it grows with them and I am now in couple of pots as I love adding cilantros to my daily dishes. I cut the lettuce, fennel right down to the existing nub and within days there is a new life with the veggie inner rings. I have to admit the celery is more leafy and crunchy than stalky and the lettuce within 3 weeks looks so damn cute to cut it off. Fennel however has been a snail among these.
My table top or windowsill gardening, note, is not a polished and a techie based hydroponics that works 24/7 to circulate the nutrient based water delivering commercially produced “organic” leaves. They are quite simple and keeps in tone with home decor and does not cross my budget. Setting up hydroponic system is an entirely different thing mainly because this kinda science requires more energy, floor space, nutrients etc. and heavy amount of patience and risks that I am not willing to take.
Now I am not demotivating anyone from building a DIY hydroponics system or dialling your branded hydroponic cabinet guy like Supercloset or Cash Crop that can easily pull off a hydroponic garden.
There are many who can vouch for hydroponics due to its advantages such as the fertilizing nutrients do not leach through the soil to the groundwater thus harming the living beings down there. Another fact would be hydroponic systems can be easily set up anywhere can cut down the cost of transportation to arid places. Now one would think that hydroponics uses lot of water but the truth is they are actually water efficient and consume only lesser amount of water compared to soil gardening. This is because the hydroponic system recirculates the water making it very efficient.
Of course, there are downsides to hydroponic system such as costs for the infrastructure, consumption of energy and so on but there are many greenhouses such as Cornell University, the University of Florida, Texas A&M etc. However they are channeled and built efficiently yearly with a sturdy support from renewable energy sources.
Again I am saying am not a convert, but I watch how things work and planning to play in soil by this year.