Home Hydroponic Gardens
In Print, The Growing Edge Volume 12, Number 2, November/December 2000
Spreading Simplified Hydroponics
Review by Dr. Lynette Morgan
Home Hydroponic Gardens
By Peggy Bradley and Cesar Marulanda
Global Hydroponics Network, (Corvallis, Oregon, 2000)
$34.95; 240 pages
It's not often that a book on hydroponic techniques can be both
inspirational and emotive--but Home Hydroponic Gardens certainly merits
such description. This book is best described as a manual for the
production of hydroponic crops in poverty-stricken areas of the world.
The first chapter introduces the reader to some of people who have built
their own simplified hydroponic systems in countries such as Nicaragua,
Colombia, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela--places were people are
using hydroponics to not only fight hunger, but also create thriving
small business ventures.
Peggy Bradley and Cesar Marulanda have gathered their extensive
knowledge and experience of simplified hydroponics by actually working
in developing countries. Beautiful illustrations help explain--in simple
terms--how people who have very little can source materials, design,
construct, and gain continuous yields from family and community
hydroponic gardens. Techniques on how to recycle water and organic
materials are included to minimize waste and get the most from the gardens.
The chapter on plant nutrients contains valuable information for all
hydroponic growers and covers many aspects of plant production we don't
often think about. There are even sections on adding minerals for human
health and an entire chapter on using organic nutrients, creating a worm
farm, and extracting organic fertilizer for hydroponic use. Very few
hydroponic texts even touch on such topics, which here are covered in a
step-by-step fashion that any grower can follow.
Not only are the details of the day-to-day operation covered in detail,
but so to are the cultural requirements for many plant species,
including seed starting, pollination, pruning, training, low-tech pest
and disease control, and symptoms of mineral deficiencies. A fascinating
chapter on human nutrition outlines the best combination of crops to
provide dietary calories, vitamins, and minerals.
While designed to be a production manual in the use of basic hydroponic
systems in poorer areas of the world, anyone can learn a lot from this
text. And the easy-to-follow instructions and principles of simplified
hydroponics are certainly attractive to someone just starting out with
their first hydroponic system. When we consider that over 1 billion
people on Earth are malnourished and hungry, the existence of Home
Hydroponic Gardens takes on a much greater importance.