I Am Local 6: Bobie Penrod, Growing Plants Without Soil

Warmer temperatures bring out the green thumbs.  There is a way to grow fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables year-round without getting dirty.  Paducah Hydroponics on Benton Road starts on an employee’s front porch.  It’s a home-grown business that gets you into soil-less agriculture.

The trickle of water and the hum of pumps are common sounds of a hydroponic gardening system. 

“You’re just growing plants in water instead of soil,” said Bob Penrod, sales representative for Paducah Hydroponics.

Is that possible?

Plants are very resilient.  They’ll pretty much grow in any medium as long as you provide Mother Nature’s necessities, light, water and food,” said Penrod.

LED bulbs produce the needed light but not the heat.  A reservoir close by provides nutrient filled water to the roots.

“It’ll pull this nutrient and water solution out.  Pump it into the bed.  Let everything get saturated, and then, it drains everything back out again,” said Penrod.

The systems can be large like a table or placed in a small box.  Either way, you’re going green while growing green lettuce.

“By doing this, you waste no water.  You’re not putting pesticides into the air.  You’re not doing a lot of bad things to the environment,” said Penrod.

When you place a store-bought tomato next to a hydroponic-grown tomato, you notice the color of the fruit is different.  The texture is different, and some people notice the taste.

“A lot of people think hydroponic lettuce and tomato are far superior in taste than soil grown.  It’s the satisfaction of knowing you’re providing a good healthy fruit or vegetable for your family,” said Penrod.

The initial start up costs can be a little expensive depending on how big you would like your setup.  For more information you may go to Paducah Hydroponics page on Facebook.

If you know of a group or someone who started a business from the ground up or is filling a niche in your community, you may contact Tori Shaw at tshaw@wpsdlocal6.com.  Shaw can also be found on Facebook facebook.com/torishawoffcial  and Twitter @TShawWPSD.

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