Growing Fresh Herbs Hydroponically
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Hitesh Jain
Posted on: April 11, 2001

Thank you so much for answering my question about packaging fresh herbs with roots still intact. I really appreciated the amount of thought and the detail that went into your response.

I would like your opinion on another matter. Is it possible to grow fresh, culinary herbs, using the floating hydroponic system (aka raft system, or deep floating system)? I spoke with a representative from HydroNov, and they suggested that there is no problems at all (actually, the only problems were climatic conditions and dissolved oxygen concentrations- both can be addressed). However, a herb grower mentioned to me that when he tried to grow herbs using this method, he experienced problems that he attributed to the roots being submerged continuously in nutrient solution.

I guess it might depend on what herbs are being grown -- are some herbs better adapted for the floating hydroponic system?

As far as I know most of the common herbs can be grown hydroponically, but I don’t have any experience growing herbs hydroponically. I contacted Gordon Creaser who spoke about growing herbs hydroponically at our third commercial herb growing conference. He may be aware of specific concerns for herbs. If you want to get the transcripts of his talk at our conference you can order the Richters Third Commercial Herb Growing Conference transcripts on our website in the books section of the Online Catalogue.

Gordon says that there are many examples of hydroponic growers of fresh herbs. One is Mariposa Farms in Iowa. You check their website at http://www.mariposafarms.com/photo_tour/greenhouse/greenhouse.html . Mariposa grows over a dozen of the common herbs hydroponically using a floating raft system. Here is what he wrote:

"Please give me a call at 407-671-5075 and I will answer your question regarding herbs in float system which I have developed over the years. I have written several articles on these systems in "The Growing Edge" magazine and other world wide horticultural magazines."

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