“Hydroponics is not difficult, but it will amaze you,” says Leo. “The benefits include no weeding or digging, plus wholesome produce.” Leo swapped traditional soil-growing for hydroponics 20 years ago. He started with a single potato in a garbage bin that he filled with sand.
When the spud sent out a shoot, he fed it with nutrients and topped it up with more sand. “It was almost magic when I tipped up the bin to find 15 potatoes had grown,” he recalls.
Leo then moved from potatoes to strawberries, putting these plants in a 7cm-diameter pipe with holes, which he hung on a wall. After having more success with this, he set up a glasshouse once he had retired from full-time work.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is simply a soil-less method of growing plants. Any plant – whether it is a flower, herb or vegetable – can be grown this way. The plants are supported in an inert, growing medium, such as gravel, scoria, vermiculite, sand, perlite or rockwool (a fibrous material made from rock and sand).
Nutrients are dissolved in water and then fed to the plants, so the plants don’t have to develop root systems looking for them. It’s a compact way of growing your own veggies and can even be done indoors if you have the necessary equipment.