Hydroponics vs. Soil

Ok, so I'd always wanted to play around with small scale hydroponics and see if it's any fun..
So I was looking around and found this system.
http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/11plan01.htm
It's not like the misting systems that I'd seen and is a submersion system instead.. Anyway, my question is... Is there really any advantage in growing plants like this vs. in the ground.
Here are some other simplicity plans for a hydro system.
http://edurink10.tripod.com/hydroideashobbyist/systems.html
Inquiring minds want to know.. Thoughts?
Scott--
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

Thanks, I bookmarked that as it looks like a fairly simple diy project if you can find all those components.
I haven't gotten bitten by that bug yet. I would like to try this but don't want to spend the money on it right now. I could rig up something myself but you need special cups where roots won't tear when you take them out. I had seen a better link for a more expensive one but can't find it now.
Something like this only one that holds more cuttings, also more expensive.
http://www.hhydro.com/cgi-bin/hhydro/HH00557.html

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Hettie wrote:

I'll stick with something a little more DIY..
Oh well.. Just planning out loud I guess.. Maybe next year, or the year after... Hmmm.. I've got all this spare PVC though. ;)
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Scott Hildenbrand wrote:

I just have a few pieces, but amazing how I am going to use them . . .not enough for that. No way am I trying that now after building the frame for my lights. The hardware store cut some of it for me for free. They have these neato cutters . . .to have a nice system, the cuts don't have to be that neat, but the measurements have to be precise, and some pipe goes deeper into t connectors than in elbows, etc. Always expect the unexpected.
I think you should get the outside going first. You have a lot of work ahead on that. That would give you more time to think about what you would do with your system. The one you linked to you might find isn't versatile enough, etc. But it's fun to think ahead.
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Have your fun but look into phyto-nutrients, which organic plants seem to be significantly richer in than plants grown with chemical fertilizers. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Aboutus/docs.htm?docidA42
I've only seen this discuses in "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, but I'm all over the place in my reading. Right now I'm reading about the CIA supporting cocaine sales in Los Angles to fund the Contra War (Dark Alliance, by Webb), grrrrr.
Maybe you can come up with an organic hydroponics set up. But you'll probably be back, close to dirt.
--

Billy

Bush & Cheney, Behind Bars
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As I see it hydroponic growing is quite a bit of trouble and expense to go to. You would need to have reasons to do it, such as needing to grow indoors due to climate or absence of outdoor space, having no soil, or very bad soil, that you cannot amend for some reason, etc. Renters in limited space who want to do intensive growing on balconies and take their stuff with them when the lease is up would be one case that comes to mind. Growing illegal herbs in spare rooms is another!
Would hydroponic veges taste as good as soil-grown? I have no idea. My limited experience is with hydroponic supermarket veges which taste the same as other supermarket veges but cost more for some reason. However, one of the reasons home grown veges are better is freshness, you can get that with hydroponics too.
Also consider how comfortable you are doing your own "soil" chemistry in detail. Do you want to learn how to stabilise the pH of nutrient solutions and mix your own stuff, do you want to buy the gear to do the concoction yourself or are you going to do what the bloke at the hydroponics shop tells you, pay for ready mixed solute, and hope for the best. If you have no background in chemistry there is a fair bit to learn compared with the fairly forgiving environment of soil which can be managed reasonably well with minimal technical knowledge.
There are all sorts of things grown hydroponically these days, I would want to know what the commercial forces driving that enterprise were (eg growing flowers out of season to get top dollar) before emulating it on a small scale. In your circumstances there may be no reason to do it. But if you are curious, have some spare cash and want to play, you probably won't blow yourself up. But don't try and buy any large amount of ammonium nitrate unless you like answering questions under a spotlight.
David
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