Hydroponic Books

I can't imagine having too many hydroponic books.  It's like having a room full of experts that you can consult whenever you want. 

Hydroponics may be a relatively new discipline. Happily, there are a wide range of books available on the general topic, and well as a number of books on the related specialties. We have found the following titles to be particularly helpful during our exploration of the complex and multi-faceted realm of hydroponics.

NOTE: We have provided our reviews of each book below the book's image/title.  For more information about any given book, click on the image or the hyperlink.  Doing so will take you to an Amazon.com details page about that particular book.  Be advised that if clicking on a book's detail page results in a sale, we earn a small commission on that sale.

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Beginner Hydroponic Books

The following hydroponic books are intended for those who are curious about the topic, but aren't quite sure what it can do, what's involved, and what would work best for their situation. These hydroponics books all provide a general overview of methods, techniques, equipment and potential production possible with various hydroponic systems. Some of them go into more detail than others, or provide things like DIY hydroponics plans. Others provide concise summaries and lots of photos. Choose whichever best meets your needs.

Hydroponics for Home Gardener: Completely Revised and Updated (Gardening), by Stewart Kenyon

This is a nice overall introduction to hydroponics, which demystifies many of the various principles and practices. I like that the author assumes you're not simply a hobbyist wanting to grow a single tomato, but rather you expect decent production for household use. It does provide repeated coverage of growing media throughout the book, in the context of how home gardeners can use these materials as an adjunct to their soil growing methods.

How-To Hydroponics, Fourth Edition by Keith Roberto

This has been one of the foundation hydroponic books that many of us used to get started. As indicated by the "4th Edition", it has been around awhile and has undergone repeated updating. Like the previous book, this book assumes you are not merely curious about hydroponics but want to get something accomplished for your efforts. It provides not only information but plans to get started on small scale systems. While not intended for experienced growers, or those intending to get started on a large scale, it provides a very sound foundation for beginners. The author provides a chapter on growing media, but also covers growing media in other sections of the book.

Beginning Hydroponics Revised Ed, by Richard Nicholls

This is another good introduction to hydroponics, but more from a conceptual standpoint than a practical standpoint. It is a very matter-of-fact sort of hydroponic book, with a more "college class" tone than a friendly conversational feel. Still, it provides a solid foundation. Beginners can use this book to create a solid feel for the basic concepts, enough to get going with your first projects. As your knowledge and experience grows, you'll eventually outgrow this book, but by then it will have served its purpose.

Hydroponic Basics by George F. Van Patten

This little hydroponic book is one of those that gives extremely dense information, plus a lot of photos of different potential setups. It is not intended as an in-depth treatment of any particular topic, but rather hopes to display a lot of different options. Some folks are looking for more depth and fewer pictures. If that's the case, one of the other, more in-depth guides would be a better selection. But if you're looking for a quick survey of various possibilities within the world of hydroponics, and you just want some of the details but not in depth treatment, this is just the book for you.

Advanced Books

The following hydroponic books go into much more depth than the general books listed above. These books are intended for those who have already experimented with their first setups and want to delve more deeply into the subject matter, and/or those who are ready to expand or refine their hydroponics operation. These books will provide solid information on their various topics. If you're hungry for specifics, these books will satisfy.

Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook for the Advanced Home Gardener and the Commercial Hydroponic Grower, Seventh Edition, by Howard M. Resh

Howard Resh is one of the more accomplished hydroponic authors and you'll see his name mentioned again in these pages. This is one of his best known hydroponic books. It is a no-nonsense, in-depth treatment of how to use hydroponics to really crank out production, either for comprehensive home use, up to small scale commercial production. If you've already dipped your toe in the hydroponics pool and now are ready to swim, this book is a good choice.

Hydroponic Tomatoes by Howard Resh

This is one of the bibles on hydroponic tomato production. Tomatoes are one of the main crops raised hydroponically; even conventional growers have turned to hydroponics to provide year-round tomatoes no matter where they live and work. For folks considering their first commercial hydroponics venture, tomatoes are one of the high-value crops that are considered good candidates for such an operation. You'll get solid technical information in this hydroponics book. If you want to succeed with hydroponic tomatoes, this book needs to be on your shelf.

Hydroponic Lettuce Production, by Dr. Lynn Morgan

Dr. Morgan is one of the hydroponic research community's shining stars, having worked for many years to perfect hydroponic methods for a variety of vegetable crops. Her work on lettuce production has served as THE hydroponic how-to manual for that crop. Given that salad greens are a short-turnaround, cool season crop in high demand at farmers' markets, groceries and CSA's, hydroponic lettuce production would be an excellent market crop candidate. If you want to know how to do it well, this book is the single best source of information you'll find.

Soilless Culture: Theory and Practice, by Michael Raviv

You wanted an authoritative reference manual on all aspects of hydroponic culture, suitable for both commercial growers and academics? This is it. Published in 2007, it has some of the most recent information available in print, on many of the latest developments throughout the world of hydroponic crop production. The various chapter authors know their business. Until you start going to hydroponic conferences, this will be the closest you'll ever get to being able to pick the brains of the movers and shakers in the hydroponics community. A valuable addition to any hydroponic books collection.

Specialty Topics

These hydroponic books focus on one or more specific topics within the large hydroponic realm.  We offer them here for folks who have most of their hydroponic operation nailed down, but are still looking for ways to boost performance.

Gardening Indoors with CO2, by Tom LaSpina

This is one of the few hydroponic books I'm aware of which look specifically at how to boost indoor CO2 concentrations. CO2 supplementation is a critical aspect of any kind of indoor or closed-environment growing systems, including hoophouses and greenhouses. Why? Because plants consume CO2 like we consume oxygen. If they don't have enough CO2 to breathe, then all the rest of our production efforts will be limited by that bottleneck. And most folks never even stop to think about it. This little book helps the grower ensure their plants always have plenty to breathe. The book also covers related topics such as humidity, which both conventional and hydroponic growers will have to consider before, during and after they add CO2 to their growing operations. A bargain for the price, and highly recommended.

CO2, Temperature and Humidity: How to Use CO2 to Increase Growth in Your Indoor Garden and Greenhouse, by D. Gold

Similar to the hydroponic book above, but with additional information about the inter-relationships between these three environmental conditions.  The text is aimed primarily at greenhouse production, regardless of which growing system is used.  Given that a greenhouse environment presents similar challenges and opportunities for both soil-based and hydroponic systems, this book provides a lot of information for how to balance these three variables for optimal production.

Adding Biology - For Soil and Hydroponic Systems by Carole Ann Rollins and Elaine Ingraham

Carole Rollins, PhD has expertise in proactively using microbiological cultures to enhance agricultural production, boost fertility and combat crop disease and pests.  Elaine Ingraham PhD is a world renowned expert on compost teas, and how to safely and effectively use compost teas to boost agricultural production in conventional soil-based agricultural systems.  Ingraham's earlier guides to safe compost tea production methods, Compost Tea Brewing Manual and subsequent books The Field Guides For Actively Aerated Compost Tea (Volumes I and II) are all considered to be best-of-breed sources for scientifically verified production and use of compost tea for these purposes.  Both authors are considered authorities in the field of proactive prevention of plant disease and non-toxic pest control.  Adding Biology is the first book we are aware of which brings that wealth of proactive management information into the realm of hydroponic production.  Very highly recommended.

Hydroponic Hot House: Low-Cost, High-Yield Greenhouse Gardening, by James Dekome

This little treasure of a hydroponic book found its way into my collection thanks to a used bookstore here in town.  And I'm so glad it did!  This book was written by, and for, the type of person I want to be: a well diversified small farm owner who wanted to close the loop as often as possible for his various agricultural operations.  Not to see if it could be done (it can be done, and very well), but because he had to make the absolute most of the infrastructure available to him.  So that's what he did.  He raised hydroponic crops in a greenhouse alongside meat rabbits.  Furthermore, he used the rabbit manure as the base for his hydroponic nutrient solution.  Even the rabbits' respiration became the source for his tomatoes' CO2 needs.  While his setup isn't necessarily what you want to do, he found ways to overcome whatever obstacles he faced, and ended up with a synergistic system that optimized every component.  Now that's an approach I think we can all make more use of.  If you want to see how to make the absolute most of very modest resources for your hydroponic operation, this book is a must.

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