If you’re like most people, the term “hydroponic farming” probably conjures up images of futuristic greenhouses and high-tech equipment. However, the truth is that hydroponic farming is a centuries-old method of growing plants in water instead of soil. Today, hydroponic farms are increasingly popular as a way to produce food in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Hydroponic systems can be incredibly simple or extremely complex, but they all share one key principle: plants can thrive without soil. In fact, many experts believe that soil is superfluous for plant growth and that it actually inhibits the uptake of nutrients. With hydroponics, plants are fed directly with nutrient-rich water, allowing them to grow faster and healthier than their soil-bound counterparts. What’s more, hydroponic farms use less water than traditional farms, and they can be located in places where soil is not suitable for agriculture. As the world population continues to grow, hydroponic farming may become an essential part of ensuring that everyone has enough to eat.
What is hydroponic farming?
Hydroponics is a type of hydroculture that is a subset of hydroculture. It is a type of agriculture in which plants are grown in water rather than soil.
This water is high in hydroponic nutrients, which are essential for good growth and excellent harvests. Hydroponics has a lot of benefits. Aside from saving water, farmers don’t have to deal with invasive weeds and pests.
Crops are produced in a controlled environment that is shielded from the elements. This means that not only will harvests be higher, but they will also be healthier and of higher quality. Setting up a hydroponic system is basic and straightforward.
The reservoir, the piping system, and the plant trays are the three essential components. The entire system consists of a water storage that is periodically pumped to the plants.
These pans are filled with nutrient-rich water. The roots of the plants grow in the trays. Without ever needing to be in soil, the roots collect nutrients from the water.
The nutrients incorporated in the water, are all the minerals that the plant requires. Calcium, lithium, manganese, and potassium are among the minerals in this group. Organic or inorganic sources can be used to obtain the nutrients.
Cow dung, fish waste, chicken, and duck manure are all organic sources. Inorganic nutrients are derived from synthetically generated artificial fertilisers. As a result, hydroponics is best used indoors.
Setting up hydroponic structures techniques
When it comes to constructing a hydroponic structure, there are a plethora of options. It is up to the individual to determine whether or not to employ a growth substrate in each of these cases. The growing substrate is a non-toxic material.
This material is exclusively used to support the roots and stem of the plant. Gravel, sheep wool, wood fibre, pumice, or sand could be used as the substrate. With or without growth substrates, any of these setups could function.
These methods include:
Static solution culture
This is the simplest, most cost-effective, and most fundamental type of hydroponics. Only a container is required in this setup to serve as a reservoir. This nutrient-rich water will be stored in this’reservoir.’
The roots of the plant will then be submerged in this water. The plants will get their nutrients directly from this source. It is critical to mix the water on a regular basis using this setup.
This is to guarantee that the plant’s roots receive adequate oxygen. Another approach is to maintain the reservoir’s water level low enough that the roots’ exposed parts are exposed to the air.
Culture of continuous flow solutions
A reservoir and a piping system are required for this setup. Over and over, water is pumped through the pipes. The plants are continuously in contact with the nutrient-rich water in this environment.
The roots are constantly being washed away by the sea. It isn’t stuck in a rut. It is preferable to the static solution setup because it ensures a steady supply of oxygen. It is, however, more expensive because it necessitates the use of a pumping system to keep the water flowing.
System of aeroponics
The roots of the plant are exposed to the air in this setup. They aren’t surrounded by a growing medium. The roots are then drenched with nutrient-rich water through spray nozzles on a regular basis.
Because the droplets are small enough, this is done. The smaller the droplets, the faster the nutrients are absorbed.
Fogponics is a type of hydroponics that uses fog to grow
Aeroponics and fogponics are quite similar. Only in fogponics are the droplets sprayed onto the plant’s roots by a diaphragm vibrating at ultrasonic frequencies.
The sprayed droplets are almost tiny in size. As a result, they are absorbed much more quickly and easily by the plant’s roots.
The most organic kind of hydroponics is aquaponics. The nutrients are obtained from fish faeces in this system. It has a great deal of success with fish farms. The water from the aquariums is recycled in the hydroponic system.
This necessitates the use of a growth medium. Plants are grown within the substrate. The nutrients are transported by the growing substrate. Because it is indirect, it is called passive sub-irrigation.
A plant’s roots do not come into direct touch with the nutrient-rich water. The water soaks into the growing substrate. This substrate then serves as a source of nutrients for the plants.
Ebb and flow Hydroponic farming
This approach comprises a tidal-like movement of continuously drowning and emptying the plant roots. Trays, containers, and pots are used to grow plants. The reservoir is then connected to these trays through pipes. These pans are then filled with nutrient-rich water.
For a few minutes, the roots are submerged, allowing them to absorb as many nutrients as possible. The water is subsequently emptied and drained, and the process is repeated shortly after.
Hydroponics has a number of advantages
Hydroponics is the solution to agriculture’s difficulties. It is the world’s future of food security. It addresses many of the issues that arid and semi-arid countries have when it comes to food production.
The following are some of its benefits:
Reduce your water consumption.
The hydroponics method of growing plants uses 90% less water than traditional methods. Plants just only a small amount of water to survive and thrive. The majority of water used on farms is lost due to deep ground leeching or evaporation.
These two issues are no longer an issue with hydroponics. The plant’s water use is continuously monitored and can be reused indefinitely. This is particularly impressive because it aids in water conservation.
It’s an on-time solution that also ensures food security in arid and semi-arid locations. Rice will be farmed not just in China, but also in Oman and Egypt.
Better allocation of space
Hydroponics occupy a small amount of area. It’s even possible to set it up vertically or in a small grow tent. However, with an enclosed tent, acquiring a good lighting system is a must. This makes the most of little space.
This is because a plant’s roots do not need to extend out very far in search of water and nutrients. Everything is in close proximity. By maximising the utilisation of tiny spaces in this way, one can increase plant production while simultaneously maintaining quality and nutritional value.
There is no need for dirt.
Hydroponics is built entirely on this foundation. Plants are in direct contact with nutrient-rich water. They are sometimes in an inert growth substrate that is saturated with these nutrients.
Proving that plants can thrive without soil is a timely godsend for rocky, sandy, and arid environments. The ability to grow crops without relying on soil would help people living in such areas become more self-sufficient in terms of food.
There are no weeds, pests, or diseases.
Hydroponically produced plants are unaffected by any such ailment. They thrive in situations that are carefully monitored and managed. The environment is safe from the outside world’s assaults.
Of course, this means that yields will be considerably higher because the plants will be much healthier. Plants also do not require the use of pesticides or herbicides.
Human health can be harmed by herbicides and pesticides. Consuming plants that haven’t come into contact with them lowers the risk of getting sick.
The ability to control the climate
Indoor hydroponics is the greatest option. The climatic conditions that plants are subjected to are much easier to manipulate. This means that plants can continue to grow no matter what the weather or climatic circumstances are. This is a benefit that guarantees food security.
After being set up, hydroponics is mostly a self-contained system. It merely has to be maintained and monitored on a regular basis. This is a task that a small group of individuals can complete. When compared to the large labour force and machinery required in traditional farming, it appears to be a cakewalk.
Plants grown in a hydroponic system grow faster and bigger.
Nutrients come into direct contact with plants. This implies they can develop to enormous proportions in a short period of time. Furthermore, as a farmer, you can rest assured that all of your seeds will mature into healthy, vigorous plants. As a result, there are only benefits to using this system.