CLOSET GARDENING

SOIL OR HYDRO?

Another important decision requires choosing between a soil- or coco-based mix in a pot, or a hydroponic system that grows roots in water or rockwool and recirculates nutrient solution. If you consider yourself somewhat of a green thumb and have successfully grown houseplants, perhaps soil mix will suit your needs. If you're a more technically minded person who can provide attention to details but aren't necessarily a grow whiz, maybe you should give hydroponics a try. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, and in the end, the answer can only come from you.

Soil mix (or soilless mix, in the case of many commercially available brands) is simple to use. Just fill up your chosen container, add water and plant your seeds or clones. Start plants in cups and transplant them into larger pots once they become nearly root-bound. It never hurts to supplement your mix with additives such as greensand, composted worm castings or bat and seabird guanos. This will reduce the amount of feeding you'll have to do early on.

Some people have problems getting rid of soil in urban environments. Lacking a backyard garden or a naive garbage collector, they dump bags of dirt in the middle of the night, exposing themselves to massive fines and potential busts. Many decide that growing roots in water is the best way to solve their immediate problem.