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Growing Underwater? New Hydro Projects

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Did you know that a lot of new exciting things are being done in the world of agriculture?

If you've read up on hydroponics at all, you probably do -- but some of what growers are doing these days still tends to take us by surprise. For example…

It turns out that couple of scuba divers in Italy are setting up a whole bunch of gardens under the sea -- a company called Ocean Reef Group is developing this type of gardening technology, where growers install balloons in large bodies of water, and then add things like plant pots and nutrient delivery systems to get different kinds of crops growing underwater.

Is this just showing off? Maybe, but it also illustrates the types of things you can do when you take the inherent technology of hydroponics and apply it in different ways - the whole idea is that you don't need a backyard to grow plants -- that you can grow anywhere you want by incorporating a few basic elements and setting up systems for growth in a small space.

Logistics

One of the first things we thought about when looking at the videos of the Ocean Reef crew diligently shepherding plants underwater is the logistics that are involved. You have to have wetsuits. You have to go down under water and install the grow systems. Then you also have to find ways of getting the right types of air environment inside the balloon gardens. That's in addition to all of the other gear and equipment that you have to use to keep plants situated and growing well.

Essentially, then, underwater growing, as remarkable and impressive as it is, isn't really the best way to grow. Growing above ground can be a lot easier, with a simple hydro products you can easily get from retailers.

The Building Blocks

To get an idea of how easy this is, just think about the basic building blocks of hydroponics. You need plant pots for plants to sit in, with sterile growing media inside. You need a way to get nutrient-rich water to plants. Then you need lighting. Those are basically the core components.

Environmental Challenges

Around that, you have to provide plants with right sort of environment. That means controlling temperature and humidity as well as pH value. It means making sure that water is chilled to the right temperature to provide plant roots with better oxygenation. And it also means timing nutrient treatment cycles make sure that plants get just enough. All of this is abundantly easier up on land than it would be underwater, but that's not really the point. The point is that you can make these systems yourself in a small space and start growing today. You don't have to be a chemist or physics whiz, and you don't need a wetsuit. You don’t have to go out and find an innovative space – you can start a hydro garden under a chair in your living room, on a wall hanging in your hallway, or under your desk at work.

Other Tips

Some of the more advanced ideas in hydroponics have to do with preventing damage from insects or bacteria. In a lot of cases, if your environment is already controlled, you don’t have to worry about bugs as much. The bacteria thing is a bit more difficult. Again, you can use temperature control to handle this, as well as keeping dead material and debris out of your grow space. There are some warning signs you can look for, and simple things you can do to protect plants better. As you learn all this, you can be enjoying green produce for your dinner table or for small commercial projects. Look into how easy it is to get going with hydroponics on land, as you marvel at how these innovative growers are producing food under the sea.

 
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