Danbury Hydroponics

Hydroponics are food production systems that grow plants in soilless growing media fertilized by nutrient-rich water.  Hydroponic systems can be adapted to any shape, size, or scale, from tabletop to commercial.  They can save up to 90% of water consumption and reduce land use by up to 300%.  Almost any crop can be cultivated hydroponically!


Growing food crops in water rather than soil has a long history, with many civilizations, such as the Aztecs, utilizing the ‘floating-garden’ chinampa systems and people in Southern China implementing similar soil-less production systems (Source). In 1945, UC Berkeley’s W.F. Gericke described hydroponics as the revolutionary “art and science” of soilless crop production, with the term hydroponics meaning “working water” (Source). Modern technology and increased investment have accelerated the development and implementation of hydroponic systems. 

Depending on the environment, hydroponics systems can range from highly controlled environments to ones with minimal control. They can be implemented almost anywhere, from rooftops to basements, patios to greenhouses, and even abandoned buildings.  Each system design (as seen below) has its own pros and cons, uses different types of irrigation and plant beds, and offers a unique type of crop production.

Almost anything! Popular hydroponic crops include culinary herbs, edible flowers, leafy greens, and fruiting crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries. People are even experimenting with growing rice and pine apple trees hydroponically. 


Each hydroponic system is designed for specific crops. For example, Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and Ebb & Flow systems use shallow channels, so they are ideal for crops such as lettuce, basil, and other crops with shallow roots. Meanwhile, Dutch or Bato Buckets are designed for larger crops with deeper root systems, such as tomatoes, peppers, peas, and strawberries. Deep Water Culture (DCW)/Deep Flow Technique (DFT) systems can also be used for fruiting crops but are also used for leafy greens and flowers. Before choosing a system design, it is important to decide what type of crops you want to produce. For commercial growers, understanding the intended market will impact the decision in the design and chosen crops.

Hydroponics has the potential to transform the local food industry by improving food security, generating resilient economic opportunities, and minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture.  However, just like any industry, how we do business matters.  By emphasizing not only the economic bottom line but also the social and environmental impacts, Danbury Hydroponics offers unique and innovative perspectives and practices to the hydroponics field.  We know the power of collaboration with farmers and community members and are constantly searching for ways to improve the way we grow and distribute food. We want to share the benefits of hydroponic food production with others locally and globally to create a more equitable and resilient food system. 

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