From basic gardening to high-tech installations, tips for the beginner and know-how for the seasoned professional, everything you ever wanted to know about the art of hydroponics, from the ABC's to the most guarded secrets...
William Texier was born in Paris. He first studied at the Institut National de Gemmologie in France, then with the Geological Institute of America in Los Angeles, before discovering hydroponics, which became his passion in 1985. He and Lawrence Brooke, his long time friend and founder of General Hydroponics, developed aero-hydroponics. A few years later, he began his first assignment in research and development for GH at the White Owl Waterfarm in Sebastopol, California. In 1994, he moved back to France and created General Hydroponics Europe with his wife, Noucetta Kehdi.
William Texier is a true innovator in the hydroponics industry. In 2004 he developed and patented «bioponics» (organic hydroponics). Currently, he manages research and development at GH in Europe and internationally, with a team of researchers drawn from different departments of the University of California. He publishes articles and conducts seminars around the world. With thirty years in the field, he is considered one of the most knowledgeable hydroponics experts worldwide.
Hydroponics for Everybody has been translated into half a dozen languages.
The Webster dictionary gives the following wonderfully succinct definition of the word hydroponics :
"A technique of growing plants without soil, in water containing dissolved nutrients."
Well, that's it in a nutshell. When done right hydroponics can produce better tasting, more nutritious fruits, vegetables and herbs with lower ecological impact than traditional soil-based cultivation. In this book I would like to help you «do it right». I will share with you much practical information I've garnered through my lifetime of growing with hydroponics. The more you understand, the more successful you'll be ; as we go along I'll do my best to explain each new term and concept and show you how to apply them.
There are two ways to grow plants in water : with the bare roots growing in a nutriment solution, or with a non-soil, inert substrate. In some languages, the term "hydroponics" is reserved for water-based cultivation, while the term «soil-less» is used for substrate-based culture. We will discuss both in this book.
The basic principles of hydroponics are very simple, almost childish : a nutrient solution must be kept at a tolerable temperature, oxygenated, and provide the plants with the nutriments they need. The part about oxygenation is really the heart of it. To make a good hydroponics System, the water has to be saturated with oxygen at ail times. Once you know that, you could almost throw away the book : you've learned the most important factor, so important that I will come back to the subject often.
The word hydroponics comes from two Greek roots : "Hydro" meaning water and "ponos" meaning work. You can translate it in several ways : by "water at work", or by "working with water", also by "the work of water" ; which ever you prefer, the meaning it conveys is clear. The word hydroponics, by and large, does not describe a single technology, but rather it covers many different techniques that we will examine further on. Sadly and confusingly, this means that the term hydro also encompasses poor practices that can be extremely damaging for the environment, wasteful of water, and produce low quality food totally devoid of interest both in terms of taste and nutritional value. If you've only encountered hydroponics products in the form of those tasteless tomatoes and odorless roses at your local supermarket, I can't blame you for having concluded that hydroponics is an unnatural and environmentally polluting way to produce industrial quantifies of something that only looks like food. Unfortunately, you are not wrong. The processes to grow those products generate ungodly mountains of waste, old plastic mulching, used slabs of rock wool and many other unwanted materials, none of them biodegradable.