Although there is no soil in a hydroponic garden, the plants must still be anchored. There is a wide range of inert materials which can be used to support plant roots and we call them "growing mediums". Heydite, clay pellets, Perlite, vermiculite, and Rockwool are the most popular media. The hydroponic media that work best are pH neutral, provide ample support for plants, retain moisture, and allow space for good air exchange. The type of media you choose will depend on the size and type of plants you wish to grow, and the type of hydroponic system being used. For continuous drip systems, a course media such Hydrocorn (clay pellets) is best. The 1/4 " to3/4 " pebbles provide enough free drainage and air space to take advantage of continuous feeding. These media also provide good anchorage for larger plants, and are easy to clean and re-use indefinitely.
Rockwool is also another popular medium. Made from rock which has been melted and spun into fibrous cubes and growing slabs with the texture of insulation, Rockwool provides roots with a good balance of water/oxygen. Small cubes are used for starting seeds and cuttings, 3" or 4" cubes for small plants or intermediate growth, and slabs for larger plants. Rockwool can be used with continuous drip or flood and drain systems. Although it is possible to sterilize and re-use Rockwool, most often it is used only once.
Perlite, made from volcanic rock, is a white, light weight material often used as a soil additive. The 1/8" to 1/4" pellets can be used alone as growing medium, but don't provide enough anchorage for large plants. Perlite is often used to start seed and cuttings, which can easily transplanted after rooting. Vermiculite is use the same way as Perlite, and the two are sometimes mixed together. It is made from heat expanded mica and has a flaky, shiny appearance. Soilless mix such as Pro-mix BX, and Pro-mix lite has the appearance and texture of light soil. Mainly peatmoss, mixed with Perlite, it contains very little nutrient, and is used a a soil additive, or alone as a hydroponic medium.
Coco pucks and bricks are made from the husk of the coconut.
Cocopeat makes an excellent growing medium for hydroponics or container plant growing. Cocopeat is a natural fibre made out of coconut husks. The extraction of the coconut fibre from husks gives us this by-product called cocopeat. Cocopeat is a 100% natural growing medium. This cocopeat dried in the natural sun. Clean coir has natural rooting hormones and anti-fungal properties. Cocopeat is a 100% organic natural and root friendly product.
Coconut fiber is also becoming very popular as a growing medium as an alternative but similar results to soil.
Diamtomite (Diatomaceous Earth or "DE") is a sedimentary rock primarily composed of the fossilized remains of unicellular fresh water plants known as Diatoms. Over the millennia the diatoms have been compressed to create one of the most effective growing mediums available. Diatomite consists of approximately 90 % silicon dioxide, with the remainder of its contents being elemental minerals, which are essential for plant growth. All of these unique factors make Diatomite the premium horticultural grade medium for all growing applications.
All Diatomite is not created equal. You may be familiar with diatomaceous earth that is used in filters and as an insect and slug repellant. These types of products are not suitable for horticulture because the diatoms are of salt-water origin, leaving them with a high salinity level that is no suitable for plants.
Our diatomite is Maidenwell(TM) Diamtomite and comes from an Australian mine that has a fresh water origin. Maidenwell(TM) is a natural, non-toxic, with minimal contaminants and salts that make most other sources unsuitable for horticulture.
WHY USE DIAMTOMITE?
Diatomite is High in Silica, Absorbent,Porous, Long Lasting, Environmentally Friendly, pH Neutral, Sterilized, Natural and Reusable, all factors necessary for healthy plants while still being cost effective for the grower.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING DIATIMITE?
Silica is essential for healthy plants and roots. While Diatomite is approximately 85% insoluble Silica, it contains a small but significant portion that is SOLUBLE SILICA. Silica is essential for healthy plant and roots. Your plants will receive from Diatomite a slow release of silica resulting in healthier, more robust plants. Plants available silica has been shown in studies to stimulate SYSTEMIC ACQUIRED RESISTANCE (SAR) in plants, which increases their resistance to disease.
Diatomite is naturally very porous, and can hold 150% of its weight in water. The Silica Content, natural Absorbency, and Porous qualities result in a slow release of water and nutrients to your plants, contributing to higher yields and less watering.
The porosity of the Diatomite contributes to its ability to draw water, while moving water and nutrients laterally throughout the medium, making Diatomite ideal for HYDROPONICS!
Diamtomite is multifaceted and varies in size. Because each rock is unique in shape it does not compact while in the pot. This leaves pockets, allowing air to penetrate and circulate to the root zone.
Note: Some hydroponic systems do not require any growing medium at all. Various methods are used to support the plants while the roots are directly fed nutrient solution. Some examples of these are, aeroponic, N.F.T., or "Nutrient Film Technique" and deep water culture.