Definition - What does Terraponics mean?
Terraponics is a hybrid growing method that combines the concepts of hydroponics and traditional soil-growing methods. It allows gardeners to get around the challenges presented by both methods when used on their own, while achieving healthier, better-tasting vegetables and fruits.
Terraponics is essentially container gardening that sees traditional soil being replaced with another earth-based grow medium: clay pebbles.
Terra is the latin word for 'earth' or 'terrain'.
MaximumYield explains Terraponics
Container gardening is popular with a wide range of growers, from those with limited outdoor space to those who want to grow plants that are not well adapted for their environment. However, container gardening can pose quite a few challenges, particularly during the heat of summer when plants use a great deal of water. Terraponics is an interesting combination of container/soil-based gardening and hydroponics.
Terraponics is a relatively new concept. As such, it is not all that well developed. For instance, you will not find the same range of equipment and supplies available for terraponics as you will for hydroponics. However, you truly do not need all that much. All that’s required are the containers, the plants, and a supply of LECA clay pebbles. The pebbles are used to replace the soil in your containers, and because they are made from baked clay, they will never rot away.
LECA, or lightweight expanded clay aggregate, pebbles contain many tiny holes and channels, called capillaries. These hold moisture for a very long time. Essentially, by replacing the soil in a container with LECA pebbles, you’re able to ensure a constant supply of water for container-grown plants and reduce your watering regimen.
However, because you’re using clay pebbles and not actual soil, you will need to supplement minerals for your plants by using a nutrient solution. This should be mixed with the water you provide your plants to ensure healthy, optimum growth. A water gauge inserted into the container lets you know at a glance when the water/nutrient solution needs to be replenished.