[Plant-biology] Hydroculture

Shirley dormer123 at myrealbox.com
Mon Jun 12 07:38:03 EST 2006

This email is about hydroculture or hydroponics, and I am asking for 
advice, so I will understand if you do not reply.

I have a balcony garden 60sqm facing West and open to south, north 
and some part to the east as well; climate almost tropical (Brisbane 
Queensland) but can be horribly windy in Jan and July-Aug; 8th floor. 
I want to change my pots for a soilless garden. I have bougainvillea 
and palm trees, and also mock orange etc. The balcony is open to the 
rain for the most part. I also have a sheltered, shady part (covered) 
and would love to grow Jasmine and ferns and such.

I want the bougainvillea to climb on an as yet unbuilt pergola. I'd 
like some of my palms to grow larger than 2m and also to choose some 
shrubby or small tree-like plants that would grow about 3 meters tall 
to act as a windbreak from the south (down under, our north is the sunny-side).

You say you don't use expanded clay to anchor your plants? (LOL). I'd 
like to be able to organize pots etc myself as the ones available (at 
least on the net) are far too expensive and I don't seem to see how 
you could grow stuff "outdoors" (Ie what happens if it rains?) Also 
I'd need quite large containers and maybe commercial nutrients are 
too costly? Naturally I would start with only one section to "try" 
the hydroculture in case I kill everything stone dead.

Can you give me some ideas (or suggest a web site?) Most of the web 
sites I have found are either too basic or are geared to commercial products.

When I look from my balcony I see thousands of other balconies across 
the Brisbane skyline, most of them bare of even a stick. We are in 
one of  the worst droughts of our history.... however that isn't what 
prevents people growing in containers, it is that we kill so many 
plants by improper watering and feeding, or can't take care when on 
vacation.  Plants in pots generally have such little tolerance for 
owner ignorance, I notice this almost as soon as I bring a plant home 
from the lush and inspiring nursery environment.  I dream of a system 
where I use far less water and don't alternately drown or parch my 
poor collection. I imagine healthy robust plants. (I imagine....)

Thank you for your time,

Shirley Dormer

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