If you've ever placed a plant clipping into a glass of water in the hopes that it will develop roots, you've practiced in a form of hydroponics. Hydroponics is a branch of agriculture where plants are grown without the use of soil. The nutrients that the plants normally derive from the soil are simply dissolved into water instead, and depending on the type of hydroponic system used, the plant's roots are suspended in, flooded with or misted with the nutrient solution so that the plant can derive the elements it needs for growth.

The term hydroponics originates from the ancient Greek "hydros," meaning water, and "ponos," meaning work. It can sometimes be mistakenly referred to as aquaculture, or aquiculture, but these terms are really more appropriately used for other branches of science that have nothing to do with gardening.

­­As the population of our planet soars and arable land available for crop production declines, hydroponics will offer us a lifeline of sorts and allow us to produce crops in greenhouses or in multilevel buildings dedicated to agriculture. Already, where the cost of land is at a premium, crops are being produced underground, on rooftops and in greenhouses using hydroponic methods.

Perhaps you'd like to start a garden so that you can grow your own vegetables, but you don't have the space in your yard, or you're overwhelmed by pests and insects. This article will arm you with the knowledge you need to successfully set up a hydroponics garden in your home and provide suggestions of plants that will grow readily without a big investment.

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