A grow box allows you to plant, grow and harvest any crop indoors inside of a fully enclosed, climate-controlled system. Most grow boxes have the same basic parts to them, such as a lighting source to replicate the sun, carbon filtering to ensure clean air inside your home during plantin, and ventilation systems with exhaust and intake fans. One of the biggest choices indoor growers face is not in the basic features of a grow box, but whether or not they are interested in a soil-based growing system or hydroponics.
What Is Hydroponics?
Using a hydroponic growing system offers green thumbs an alternative to the typical soil, water, and fertilizer approach to growing crops. Hydroponic systems rely instead upon nutrient-rich water to help plants grow. Rather than planting crops into the soil and feeding them through water and fertilizers in the soil, a hydroponics system suspends the plant and allows the roots to stretch down into the nutrient-rich water.
Hydroponics systems differ from soil-based grow boxes because they remove the soil altogether from the equation. Hydroponics was first discovered as far back as the 17th century, but it wasn't until a century later that scientists discovered that plants absorbed the mineral nutrients essential to their growth through inorganic ions in water.
Soil merely acts as a nutrient reservoir during planting. The water and fertilizers dumped into the soil hold those nutrients in place and the root system eventually takes in what the plant needs to grow. A hydroponics system, on the other hand, suspends the roots directly into a water solution that is infused with all the essential nutrients to grow.
For the inexperienced grower looking to purchase their first grow box, it is important to understand that the choice between hydroponics and soil is not simply one style or the other. There are various approaches to hydroponics, and each of them has the potential to deliver different results.
Hydroponics can mean simply suspending the root system of plant in a water solution or using an inert medium (for example, baked clay pellets, grow stones, coir, or rice hulls) to support the plant while the roots soak in the water solution. Additionally, there are also going to be different approaches to irrigation.
Advantages of Hydroponics
Most manufacturers will point to larger yields from crops through hydroponics, but the advantages to hydroponics over soil-based grow box systems don't end there. Hydroponic systems are easier to use than soil-based systems, require less "babysitting" and are cleaner.