What is a Growing medium?
A growing medium is a material used to provide support and nutrients for plants. The growing medium provides a place for the roots to anchor and absorb water and minerals. It also stores excess water and nutrients for the plant to use during periods of drought or stress.
Types of growing medium
There are many different types of growing mediums. The most popular one includes:
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Growing medium for hydroponics
The sort of growing medium you will choose for hydroponics is determined by the type of system you are using and your personal preferences. Hydroponic growing mediums have similar properties to soil. They do however come in bags and are usually a mix of stone and coco fibers. Hydroponics systems use a medium that is pure Rockwool but is not filled with holes as the size of the holes is too small for healthy root growth. For hydroponic growing mediums all the nutrients needed by your plants can be easily absorbed into the growing medium without any problems, although they may eventually need replacing after some time.
Here are the best types of growing media for hydroponics:
Coco coir: also known as a hydroponic growing medium. This is a natural growing medium that can be easily regenerated in hydroponics as well as used in soilless systems.
Perlite: also known as a hydroponic growing medium, is a volcanic rock mined in Mexico and Chile. This volcanic rock can absorb up to 25% of its weight in water and release it slowly over time. When water gets into the stone, the stone expands like a sponge and absorbs the water quickly, leaving the fastest rate of expansion possible. The stone cracks when it is heated above 500 degrees Fahrenheit to allow it to expand more quickly. This rock can be used in soilless mixes because it has absolutely no nutrients in it at all
Rockwool: Also called expanded clay, this is a manufactured product made from the by-product of the paper-making process. It is made in several grades to fit different hydroponic systems and has been used in many successful hydroponic growing environments.
Hemp fiber: also known as a hydroponic growing medium, this is a natural growing medium used in soilless mixes.
Sand: also used in soilless mixes, this is a natural material that can be found on a beach.
Sawdust: also used in soilless mixes, this is a natural material that can be found in a woodworking shop.
Expanded clay pellets. Also known as a hydroponic growing medium, this is a manufactured product made of heart-expanding clay. This is usually used in large commercial settings such as greenhouse operations and smaller greenhouses.
Soilless mix: a combination of various hydroponic growing mediums mixed and then applied to the roots.
Microgreens growing medium
Microgreens have been recently grown in a hydroponic manner. They are grown in small containers and are used for several different purposes. In this type of system, the roots can be placed directly into the container, and water from a reservoir flows over them. The microgreens formed need to be harvested at the beginning, in some way or another so they can be transplanted into bigger dishes or containers to continue growing, usually outdoors.
Some of the containers used in this method are made from various types of metals and are filled with a material like peat moss. In many cases, the pots used will allow the roots to grow outside by just above the surface.
Microgreens need to stay at a constant temperature. They need to be watered daily with nutrient-rich water (usually provided by an automatic system), but they aren’t given fertilizer when they are growing in this system. Because the system is so small, even providing nutrients would be too much. Over time, microgreens should be able to produce their food using the nutrients in their roots.
What are the best Growing Mediums for Growing Microgreens?
Soil: This is the best natural growing media. Soil contains nutrients and water and is the traditional growing medium used by most plants. It is also a great choice if your microgreen plants will be grown in a greenhouse or outdoors since it provides the drainage needed to control the water and air around your plants.
Coconut Coir: Coco coir is a great growing medium for microgreens because of its ability to hold a lot of water. It can hold approximately 1/3 of its weight in water after the water is absorbed. This makes it a very effective growing media for microgreens, especially when they will be grown outdoors. Decorative pots made from coco fiber are very common, and they are also the best choice in terms of quality.
Hemp Mats: Hemp mats are seen as a great alternative to coco fiber, but only if you live in an area with a large amount of humidity and need more insulation than coco fiber provides. Hemp and Its byproducts are very hardy and can last for decades. It is also considered a sustainable plant source for many farming programs.
Biostratech: Also called the “Holy Grail” growing medium, this is a specially manufactured product that holds even more nutrients than a coco fiber growing medium, but can be tailored to your specific microgreen needs. It contains both peat moss and coco flour in its base. Clay and other organic materials are then added to the mixture which helps retain moisture and prevent contamination. This mixture is sold in sizes of 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon which can be used for several different applications.
Vermiculite: A special type of rock, vermiculite holds a lot of water and can be used as a growing medium for microgreens. It is a great alternative to perlite because it does not need to be heated for it to expand. However, it does dissolve in water, which means that it should never touch your plants, or else the solution would be toxic to them.
Growing medium for seedlings
Because seedlings are small, they require a specific type of growing medium that provides better support than other types of hydroponic plants. The best type of growing medium for seedlings is a mix of vermiculite and peat moss. This mixture can be used in containers where the roots will grow in one direction, such as pots or pans. The roots will be placed in this growing media and given light to grow on. This growing media should be moistened but not soaked.
Succulent growing medium
The succulent growing medium contains many of the same ingredients as soilless mix or vermiculite, but with the addition of trace elements and other minerals. This is a great alternative to using clay in hydroponic systems because clay drains too much water. The result of using this growing medium is that it can help your plants develop roots more rapidly and stay healthier.
Other best Succulent growing mixtures are:
Perlite/pumice: A mix of 40% perlite and 60% pumice is a very good growing medium for succulents. Pumice is a volcanic glass that is often used in gardening because it has an aerating quality to it. It will help to keep the mixture at the right moisture level without the need for extra watering.
Coarse sand: Sandy growing medium is used to create a more sterile environment for the roots of plants, which helps to prevent mold and bacteria from affecting the roots. Sand mixed with perlite and pumice is sometimes preferred since perlite causes difficulty in watering.
Peat moss/soil: This mixture consists of 20% peat moss and 80% soil. This is a good mix if you would like to start your nursery beds and have the ability to care for the plants yourself. You will need to mix your soil for optimal results though, so it is not recommended if you don’t have any experience in gardening.
Perlite: a white rocky substance that is inert, so it’s not prone to contamination from the ground or water you add to it.
The growing medium is the most important part of your hydroponic system because it provides space for the roots to grow in the container. It also provides a way to water and feeds your plants when they are growing inside.
Succulent growing media have been specially created to provide nutrients and water, while still being able to hold moisture in the container. Depending on the type of container your microgreens will be grown in, you may want to try a different growing medium.
The type of growing medium you choose will depend on the plants you are growing, the method of hydroponics you are using, and your personal preferences. All of the above different types of growing media, each have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose the right growing medium for your plants to ensure they have the support and nutrients they need to thrive.