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Hydroponics 101

White hydroponic system with rows of lettuce

Do you want to fill your plate with the freshest, juiciest fruits and veggies all year long, but live in an area where the seasons don’t allow it? Hydroponics is your solution! It’s the new alternative to traditional gardening that has been quickly growing in popularity. With hydroponic growing you can produce food right in your own home or backyard all year around, anywhere in the world. If you’re interested in starting your own hydroponics garden but are unsure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. Before you jump in, let’s learn the basics of hydroponic growing.

What is Hydroponics?

close up and an underwater side view of a hydroponic system growing lettuce. The roots are submerged in water while the stems and leaves are above the table

Hydroponics simply means growing plants without soil. Plants grown with hydroponics have their roots in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution as opposed to soil. Soil provides support more than it does actual food for the plant and it can expose plants to pests and diseases. Hydroponics will sometimes use a medium like clay aggregate, gravel, peat moss, perlite, or rockwool to support the root system.

What Can You Grow with Hydroponics?

Close up image of two basil plants. The leaves are full, bushy, and a beautiful green.

You can harvest your favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers 365 days a year!

Leafy greens: 

lettuce, chard, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes


berries, melon, citrus, and grapes


chives, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, dill, mint, cilantro, and parsley


roses, petunias, lavender, hydrangeas, zinnias, marigolds, and baby’s breath

What are the Benefits of Hydroponics?

A close up view of a hand holding freshly picked radishes. The bulbs of the radish are bright red and the leafy stems are a vibrant green color.
  • Grow plants faster
  • Produce higher yields
  • Use less water
  • Grow all year – any climate, any season!

By providing food and water directly to the roots around the clock, plants are getting exactly what they need more easily than plants growing in soil. Because they don’t have to search out nutrients in soil, which expands their root systems, plants have a much smaller root system and can put more energy into growing their leaves and steams. Smaller root systems also mean that you can grow more plants in a smaller area, which is great especially if you’re growing indoors.

What are the Disadvantages of Hydroponics?

A small counter top hydroponic system growing eight lettuce plants underneath a grow light.

Some of the drawbacks to hydroponic growing include the cost of the equipment you need to get started and the amount of work involved in the setup and management of your hydroponic system. With hydroponics, plant health is more scientific and involved, so you will have to monitor and balance your pH and nutrient levels on a daily basis.

Hydroponic Gardening

The most popular type of hydroponic gardening is called N.F.T. (nutrient film technique), which is where the bare roots of your plants are touching a very shallow tube flowing with nutrient solution, allowing the roots to absorb the nutrients from the water. However, there are a variety of systems used for hydroponic growing including the wicks system, ebb and flow system, the drop system, and deep water culture system. Sounds intimidating doesn't it?

Luckily, has partnered with Root Farm™, a company dedicated to providing products and resources to make entry level hydroponic gardening easy and less intimidating to people who are interested in growing hydroponically, but not sure where to start!

Root Farm Seed Starting Kit

Root farm growing system. Seedling started pods with seedlings growing out of the container.

If you’re starting with seedlings, you’ll want the Root Farm Seed Starting Kit. This product is designed to be able to start your hydro plants from seeds. The seed-starting kits come with 50 peat moss plugs and a self-watering tray that help your plants establish strong root systems before hydroponic transplanting.

  1.  Simply place the seed in the center of the plug.
  2. Make sure the bottom tray has at least ¼ inch of water at all times to ensure the plugs are staying hydrated.
  3. Make sure your tray is receiving south-facing sunlight or is kept under a white fluorescent light.
  4. When the roots of your plants are growing outside of the plug, they are ready to be transplanted into your hydro garden.

Hydroponic Systems

Basil plant in a root farm hydro garden growing felt garden pot with root farm hydro garden growing mix

Root Farm Hydroponic Felt Garden Pot

Also known as the drain to waste system, the Hydro Felt Garden Pot is an easy way to start your hydroponics garden. You’ll need to pick up Root Farm Hydro Garden Growing Mix or Root Farm Coco Coir Blend to fill your felt pot. This system requires you to apply the nutrient solution daily, usually with a watering can, and the excess will drain away. It’s best to place a tray under the felt pot to catch the excess nutrient solution. This system is designed for premium aeration and drainage and more frequent feedings, which results in faster growth.

Learn More

A houseplant growing inside a Root Farm hydroponic garden system. This 6-gallon nutrient solution reservoir and dual-action punp continues to recirculate the water and nutrient solution to the plants.

Root Farm Hydroponic Garden System

Also known as the recirculating system, the Root Farm Hydroponic Garden System has a 6-gallon nutrient solution reservoir and dual-action pump that continually recirculates the water/nutrient solution to the plants. This system is great for use on your patio or in your home with sufficient lighting. It can grow one large plant or up to four smaller plants. There is a water level indicator to make sure your plants have enough water at all times, but you will need to drain and refill the reservoir every 1-2 weeks.

Learn More


There’s no doubt that hydroponics can seem like a lot of work, but the Hydroponic Starter Kit, the Hydro Garden System, and Hydro Felt Pot make getting your hydroponic garden started simple and easy. Proper lighting and balancing your nutrients and pH play a major factor in the success of your hydroponic garden. Learn more by visiting Root Farm's website or Youtube channel. Don’t forget to stock up on Root Farm potting mix, nutrient solution, supplements, and more available at or check with your local Do it Best store for in-stock availability!


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