Until recently, hydroponics – or the practice of growing plants in water instead of soil – were largely known to two industries: that of large-scale produce farming, and large-scale marijuana farming.
It’s a way of gardening that relies on science and measurements rather than instinct and trial and error; it’s a means to an end rather than a perambulating joy that comes with losing hours pottering around with plants. And, as both kinds of farmers know, it works: or at least it does when the levels of water, light and nutrients are correct.
But in the last few years hydroponics have been creeping into people’s homes. Pimped-up gardening trays with LED lamps and complicated watering systems appear in homes on Instagram, people share tips and post questions on Reddit.com/r/hydro, the section of the sprawling online forum dedicated to the hobby.