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What is Grow Media?
Grow media, or it's full term 'growing medium' is the substance that your plants grow in. So basically, anything a plant grows in is considered grow media.
In hydroponics, we do not use soil. More nutrient dense media is used for a number of reasons. One of these reasons being that the more nutrient dense the media is, the less the roots will have to travel to find the nutrients it needs - allowing plants to be housed closer together. This allows more plants in the one area as apposed to spacing your plants out and not maximizing space when using soil. Another reason being that plants grow faster and yields are maximized when nutrients are readily available to them, so really... what's not to love about grow media.
So, what kind of grow media do most people use?
There are so many different types of grow media on offer, so we will talk you through some of the most popular kinds.
Rockwool is a really popular grow medium that has been widely used for a number of years. To form Rockwool, clay and Basalt rock is melted down into lava then is eventually pulled, then spun into fibers.These fibers are then compressed and most commonly shaped into blocks or slabs. You may have seen these blocks or cubes being used for cutting or seed propagation. These Grodan Gro-Blocks are a great example.
A lot of people tend to move on to a different grow media when the plant starts to grow larger, but some choose to use Rockwool for the duration. Rockwoool has proven to be so popular because the components of the material creates a great environment for roots to flourish.
Coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk.... We know the insides of coconuts are amazing and most of us use some sort of coconut product regularly. But ever wondered what happens to the husks of these coconuts when all this coconut goodness is being manufactured? Turns out it makes for amazing grow media.(Don't you feel better knowing it doesn't go to waste)
A lot of people swear by coco as a grow media because it's got some amazing properties that are perfect for housing plants - including being able to release nutrients slowly to roots, being able to adapt to a PH that's perfect for your plant and being able to hold and release that much needed oxygen to your roots.
Clay pebbles are another very widely used grow medium. Clay pebbles are pretty self explanatory, using pure clay that are formed into pebbles and baked. Because of its ability to wick water, the use of clay pebbles can ensure that your plants are always getting a good and steady amount of water. Like the coco, the clay pebbles are able to transfer oxygen to the roots really well which the plants love.
Pre-made mixtures of grow media are a great choice for anyone who is looking for a pre-blended, nutrient rich substrate.These blends are expertly created and often contain coco as the base substance like Tupur by Royal Gold. You can see by the ingredients list coco is the main substance, and other media has been added to maximize the nutrients.
Foxfarm is another example of great manufacturer that makes a range of grow media. Check out the ingredients list for their really popular Ocean Forrest Potting Soil -
Although the ingredients read more like a weird potion rather than something you house your plants in, everything on this list has been proven to get great results. For example, earthworm castings are great for improving the overall soil structure, bat guano is one of the best natural sources of nitrogen and oyster shell is a great natural PH adjuster.
So, to sum it up - grow media or 'growing medium' is anything you put your plants in. But because in hydroponics we do not use soil, a more nutrient dense alternate is used.
There are a lot of options out there, but as is true with all of your other hydroponic supplies, you need to figure out what suits your own plants best.
We have a lot of options for you here at your local hydroponics store in Culver City, so please come in and see us if you have any questions! Don't forget to visit our website and our social media pages for all the latest news, info and updates! Happy growing!