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Hydroponic Gardening Gaining Popularity in Oxford

Owen Thompson explaining how the hydroponic system works / Photo by Adam Brown
Owen Thompson explaining how the hydroponic system works / Photo by Adam Brown

The ancient and simple method of hydroponic gardening is gaining popularity nationwide. Particularly in Oxford, Mississippi thanks in part to University of Mississippi student, Owen Thompson.

Nearly one year ago, Thompson started his local company, GreenHouse Hydroponics. Since then he has been helping educate members of the community about the benefits of hydroponic gardening. The company grew out of his personal hobby, which was growing fresh vegetables year-round and indoors using home-made hydroponic gardening systems.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without using soil. Instead the plants live their entire lives suspended in a nutrient solution which allows the roots to absorb all of the needed water, nutrients, and oxygen for optimal growth. Thompson says that this method is superior to traditional soil gardening because it allows the user to garden all year, inside or outside, with no need for potting soils or heavy equipment. The user simply fills the hydroponic system with regular tap water and a small amount of fertilizer and plugs in the air pump into a standard household outlet.

Once started, the plant will grow vigorously and produce abundant yields up to three times the size of soil grown vegetables. According to Thompson, hydroponic plants are healthier than their soil-grown counterparts, the chances of pest problems and disease are reduced drastically.

The kits available for sale come in several sizes and configurations depending on the intended crop. Thompson says he strives to make hydroponic gardening accessible to everyone and the systems he sells are priced lower than competitors at $30-$40 depending on the model. Each system is hand-made in Oxford. He offers his systems for sale during the summer at the Oxford City Market and online all year via the company’s website (GHHydro.com).

Thompson was recently a guest speaker at Oxford Elementary. He addressed a second grade class on the science of hydroponics.

“I am amazed by the fact that a single seed can produce so much” Thompson said.

He expects sales of his systems to increase as consumers become more aware of the benefits of producing their own food at home. Thompson is scheduled to speak at the 2014 Mississippi Master Gardener’s Conference in May.

Justin Taylor, Associate Editor, HottyToddy.com

You can email Justin at justin.taylor@hottytoddy.com

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