Soilless Culture

What is water culture?

Growth of plants in a watertight container filled with a weak solution of fertilizer salts.

What is sand culture?

Growth of plants in a container of sand through which a weak fertilizer solution either drops continually, or is poured on at intervals.

What house plants can be grown in sand culture?

With care, almost any house plants.

What is gravel culture?

Growth of plants in a watertight container filled with some inert medium, preferable slightly acid, which is flooded, manually or mechanically, from below with a weak fertilizer solution.

What flowering crops may be grown in gravel culture if a greenhouse is available?

Any crop which can be grown in soil. Roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, snapdragons, calendula, annuals, orchids, are all successfully grown.

What vegetable crops may be grown by an amateur in gravel or water culture?

It is not practical to attempt to grow vegetables unless a greenhouse is available. Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, spinach, kale, etc., can be grown.

What type of soilless culture is best suited for commercial use?

Gravel culture. Less troublesome than water culture; requires less labor than sand culture. No type will accomplish any more than will normal soil culture, and will require greater skill and equipment.

Will chemical gardening (soilless culture) succeed commercially?

Probably not. Good soil has many advantages over soilless culture, not the least of which is the former’s adaptation to the use of large-scale equipment. When people realize that good soil is clean and very responsive to proper enrichment with all necessary nutrient elements, soilless culture will become a by-gone fad, except where it is used as a valuable research method.

Has the experiment with tank farming contributed much to general practices and knowledge in general gardening?

Tank farming (which is water culture) has not contributed much; but gravel and sand culture have been very helpful in the study of general garden problems, particularly from the standpoint of plant nutrition. However, much has been learned about the needs of minor elements from studies in water culture.

What is a “nutrient solution,” for soilless gardens?

It is composed of fertilizer elements completely soluble in water. Obtain chemicals from your druggist and use the following formula for water, sand, or gravel cultures:

Potassium Nitrate: 1.0 oz.
Monocalcium Phosphate: 0.5 oz.
Magnesium Sulfate: 0.75 oz.
Water: 5 gals.
Iron Sulfate: 1 tsp.