…can involve grow lights (but doesn’t have to)
…can involve mechanisms like water pumps, air pumps, float valves, drippers, etc. (but doesn’t have to)
As long as the roots are not in soil and nutrition is delivered to the plant by water rather than soil, it counts as hydroponics.
I think hydroponics appeals to so many people because you get to wear a lot of hats. You get to be:
- a biologist
- a chemist
- an engineer
- a (micro-)ecologist
- a caretaker
- a detective
- an inventor
- a scavenger, hacker, fabricator (if you want)
- a computer engineer (if you want)
- an exterminator (hopefully never)
- a farmer during harvest (hopefully often)
but I think the biggest attraction might be the mad scientist factor (IT’S ALIVE!!!).
We’ll also talk about some couple cousins of hydroponics which don’t necessarily fit the definition above but share part of the spirit of hydroponics: aquaponics, aeroponics, and hybrid.