Hydroponics Farming of Plants
Updated: Apr 6, 2018
Hydroponics by definition is a technique of developing plants in a water-based alternative instead of soil. As hydroponics does not utilize soil, the root system is supplied with an inert medium such as rock wool, perlite, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite. The premise behind shelves or under racks would be to permit the plants roots to come in contact with the solution and trigger the natural intake of necessary nutrients.
This article provides sufficient information to orient you about hydroponics essentials. Even when you don't anticipate growing with hydroponics, you might still learn a lot about what crops need in their respective stages of growth by studying the principles of hydroponics.
Growing hydroponics comes along with several advantages with the biggest benefit being the rate of growth of the plants. With the correct setting and supplies, the plants will mature around 25% faster and produce approximately 30% more than the same crops grown in soil. In such arrangement, the plants grow faster and bigger as they do not have to work hard to get nutrients. It, however, requires a precise control of the nutrients and balancing the pH levels. A hydroponic system may also use less water than soil-based crops since the process is enclosed, which results in less evaporation.
Naturally, hydroponics is being considered as better for that the environment since it reduces waste and pollution from dirt runoff. It though has few drawbacks i.e. cost effectiveness is the biggest factor meaning that a high-quality hydroponics system of any size will be more expensive than its soil equivalent. A large-scale hydroponics system may take a great deal time to setup if you are not an experienced grower and have the thorough understanding of hydroponics.
Also, maintaining a hydroponics system will take a great investment of time as well. It requires a close monitoring and balancing the pH and nutrient levels on a regular basis. There are inherent risks such as a pump failure can kill the plants within hours depending on the size of your system. They can die rapidly since the growing medium cannot store water like dirt can, therefore the crops are always dependent on a fresh supply of water.
While there could be drawbacks due to design or supply specific arrangements, hydroponics is under development and refinement stage and with industrial and domestic adaptation of these techniques will help to overcome these challenges while bringing technical advancements.
Vertical gardens are getting popular in various enclosed buildings for natural oxygen supply and beautification and are becoming an industry that is backed by hydroponic techniques. Details of vertical gardens in next blog.
Renu Joshi, Ph. D.