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European Hydroponic Odyssey: Is the Grass Greener Across the Pond?

Your European hydroponic vacation will be an eye-opener. Your European hydroponic vacation will be an eye-opener.

Your ticket to gaining bigger yields may be just a plane ride away. Europe, with all of its different countries, is a hydroponics Mecca, especially with stops like Holland and Spain leading the way. However, you don’t have to just hit the biggest hydro hubs. France, Germany, Austria and even the Czech Republic can offer the North American grower who thinks they have seen it all an eye-popping experience that can improve your growing game and help to expand your horizons.

And it’s a lot of fun.

Naturally, your first stop is going to be Amsterdam, but don’t blow your whole wad there because there is still plenty more to Europe. In Amsterdam you will want to visit the many coffee shops, cafes and entertainment districts.

The Dutch are world renowned for their contributions to the growing community, and are relatively proud of this fact, so expect an enthusiastic greeting. Visiting Amsterdam provides an amazing opportunity to learn more about your preferred strains, with the possibility to speak with the breeders themselves. You might even find some new favorites during your visit.

There is so much history to be seen and felt.

Germany is another great stop, and you can hop on the train from Amsterdam and travel there at 280 kph. The growing scene varies depending on where you visit; however, in more metropolitan areas like Berlin and Frankfurt, you can make great growing connections.

In Europe, if you take a tour of some hydroponic grow supply shops, you will encounter gear and nutrient products you don’t have back at home. Most Euro hydroponic gear needs to run on 220/240- volt power supplies, making a lot of this gear perfectly wired for bigger, industrial-type grows in North America where 220/240-volt is the more common power source.

There are also treats you can taste yourself. Try some currywurst (pronounced “vwoist”) and enjoy the wonderful beer selections available everywhere. Mix orange soda and cola too, sold under the name Mezzo. Everyone else does it.

Entering France heading towards the capital city of Paris, you will encounter some amazing scenery in the French countryside. There is so much history to be seen and felt. Since the upkeep on the chateaus in the countryside is high, many have been converted into hotels, making for a great quiet place to spend a night.

It’s hard not to be inspired by the over-100-year-old giant oak trees and other landscaping that surround these old luxury homes. In North America, it is rare to see landscaping that has had this much time to develop.

Naturally, the food, the women and the wine in France are second to none. Visiting some of the vineyards and speaking with the growers could prove to be a valuable experience. Remember that you are speaking with people whose ancestors have been battling powdery mildew in crops for hundreds of years, compared to your relatively shorter growing tenure.

Some of the biggest hydroponics shops and grower-related stores you will ever see can be found in Austria.

There is certainly something to be learned about growing in France, and the many hydroponics shops in Paris can help you along with that experience.

Spain is a growing paradise. The climate is favorable just about everywhere, and even the cityscapes are lush with greenery. Just about everyone in Spain is growing something on their balcony. There are many grower and grower-related specialty shops throughout Barcelona and the surrounding areas.

Nightlife is a part of the very fabric of Spain, so be prepared to stay up late enjoying clubs, dining, music and whatever else may float your boat. Whatever you do, make sure try some fish croquetas and some of the local red wines. It’s almost always sunny and warm this far south, so even if you’re staying in the city, hop on the train for a day trip out to the coast and enjoy the lively and friendly beach communities.

The Austrian hills are alive with the sound of an impressive growing community. Austria is often credited for giving rise to the idea of high society, so there is plenty of beautiful architecture, shopping, music and other performances waiting to be discovered. It is also a very natural society, where people take pride in healthy living. This, of course, means growing things.

Some of the biggest hydroponics shops and grower-related stores you will ever see can be found in Austria. It’s actually quite mind-blowing. The selection is second to none, truly making it a one-stop shopping experience for European growers. As a visiting North American grower, you may find a few must-haves that you simply won’t be able to shove into your suitcase. In some cases, even after factoring in shipping cost, you can still come out ahead. Same goes with clothes shopping at the European factory outlet mall.

So if you have never made it over the pond, these are just a few of the places you might like to visit to expand your growing and cultural horizons. You are sure to have a good time, provided you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and really jump into things. Avoid grouping with other North American tourists. Instead, fraternize with the locals. Be polite and respectful, remembering that you are a guest. You may just discover that being a grower is a universal connection that can be felt just about anywhere in the world you venture to go.

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Maybe your European vacation will look like the Griswold’s.
Last modified on Thursday, 24 October 2013 20:55

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