Derived from the Greek “water working”, hydroponics simply means growing plants in either a bath or flow of highly oxygenated, nutrient rich water. The strange part is hydroponics does not need soil to grow. During hydroponics water is enriched with nutrients salts, creating a hydroponics nutrient solution that remains perfectly balanced. The advantage of hydroponics is it does not harm the environment as does waste from fertilized soils.
Requirements for hydroponics
Hydroponics systems cannot be applicable in poor growing conditions such as improper temperature, inadequate light, or pests’ problems.
Following are the requirements for hydroponics plants to survive:
§ Water – you have to provide adequate amount of water. If the aggregate amount of water is not enough to keep the roots sufficiently moist, then the plants may dry and die. Make sure that water contains adequate [neither excess nor less] amount of alkalinity, sodium or salt contents for survival of hydroponics.
§ Oxygen – plants will require good amount of oxygen for respiration to carry out their work of nutrients and water uptake. The best way to supply oxygen is to bubble the air through the water solution.
§ Temperature – hydroponics grow well within limited temperature range. Either too high or too low temperature results in reduced productions and abnormal developments of the plants.
§ Light – plants like vegetables and fruits grown through hydroponics need at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight each day to produce well. However as an alternative to sunlight, you can apply incandescent light or high-pressure sodium lamps to produce the same effects.
§ Mineral nutrients – green plants must absorb certain minerals through their roots to survive. The essential elements needed in large quantities include potassium, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus and sulfur.
Hydroponics may also be called “controlled environmental agriculture” as it helps to control the environmental systems like water, light, CO2, oxygen, pH and nutrients.
Hydroponics growing technique
Hydroponics has a completely different growing technique method as compared to normal gardening methods.
Following are the brief ways you can grow hydroponics:
§ Nutrient film technique – the nutrient is fed into grow tubes where the roots draw it up. While a thin film of nutrient allows the roots to have constant contact with nutrients and the air layer above, the excess nutrient is drawn back into the reservoir.
§ Aeroponics or deep water culture – in this system the roots are misted within a chamber. A pump pushes the water with nutrient solution through sprayers, keeping the roots wet while providing a maximum amount of oxygen.
§ Drip-irrigation – this is also known as micro-irrigation where a controlled amount of solution is continuously drip-fed over the medium and root system. There is another tube that gets connected to the lower part of the garden system to recover the solution.
§ Home hobbyists system – these systems include deep water and aeroponics systems, which are more famous with housewives and children.
Grow hydroponics in your home, restaurant or office to give a completely different and fresh touch to the surrounding ambience.