Taking your garden indoors can be a fruitful, rewarding endeavor! Not only can you create an idyllic green space in your home, you can also grow and eat fresh vegetables year round! When creating an indoor hydroponic or soilless media system there is much to be considered, including what type of growth medium you will use. It’s important to choose the right material for your system and the plants you will be growing. Fortunately, there are many options available to meet the needs of any indoor grower!
Stone Wool (Rock Wool) – Grow Blocks & Slabs
Made from heating rock to molten temperatures, and spinning it into a porous, fibrous material, Stone Wool is similar in texture and weight to cotton candy. Stone wool blocks and slabs are excellent for use in a variety of hydroponic systems. Grow Blocks come in sizes small and large. They are perfect for seeds, seedlings, and larger plants. Smaller blocks can be transplanted into larger ones and larger blocks can be transplanted into slabs for the final stages of plantproduction and fruiting, making stone wool easy and efficient to use. Stone Wool is excellent at retaining water, while also leaving porous space available for air and gases essential to your plant’s health. Keep in mind that stone wool contains no beneficial nutrients or minerals for your plants, so you’ll need to provide for them from the very beginning.
Coco Coir– Mats, Loose Medium
From palm tree to plant pot, Coco Coir has seen an increase in hydroponic use and as an addition to soilless media over the past few years. In mat and plug form, coir can be used with confidence in hydroponics, including drip and flood/drain systems. As a loose medium, coir can also be used in hydro systems, although it can be a bit messy and cause clogs, filtering issues, and unnecessary headaches due to cleaning! In non-hydro systems, coco can add much needed porosity and aeration, necessary for proper root growth and nutrient uptake. Coco Coir is a sustainable alternative to peat moss and can be considered a renewable resource.
Clay pebbles are made by taking small pieces of clay and heating them until they expand into lightweight, porous stones. Clay pebbles can absorb water quickly when saturated, allowing roots quick access to it and any nutrients/minerals added. However, because clay pebbles dry quickly, they are best used in deep water, nutrient film, and expandable drip hydroponic systems. They can also be added to soil/soilless mediums to create better aeration and porosity. If cleaned and sterilized, clay pebbles can be used for more than one grow.
Recycled Glass– Grow Stones
Companies such as “Growstone” have created methods to manufacture recycled glass into growing medium. Through a process of crushing and heating, glass can be made into pebble-like media perfect for hydroponic and soil/soilless based growing systems. The glass ‘stones’ are porous, great at holding water and air, and clean and sterile right out of the bag! They can also be reused. Considered more sustainable than other mediums commonly used in indoor growing settings, if you are committed to the environment, Grow Stones made from glass might be the right choice for you!
Dirt– Soilless Potting Mix
If you are looking to capture the essence of outdoor gardening and grow in a soil-like medium, ‘Dirt’, also known as soilless potting mix, may be the growth media for you. Mixes are made using various recipes and the ingredients can differ from brand to brand. Generally, you’ll find a substrate such as coco coir or peat making up the majority of the mix, with additional amendments such as perlite, worm castings, forest humus, inoculants, nutrients, and minerals. These mixes are designed to promote vigorous root and vegetative growth, retain moisture well, and provide enough porous space for air movement.
There’s a grow medium out there for any indoor gardener’s needs! It’s important to choose the right mix for your space and plant needs. Whether growing vegetables, flowers, wheat grass, or coral, we over at plantlightinghydroponics.com are here to help you make the right decision. Leave a message in the blog or send us an email to [email protected].