By definition, hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water-based, nutrient-rich solution and most important to note here is that the whole process is carried without soil.

How Hydroponics works

This process is generally used for conservation and sustainability. Today plants are grown hydroponically at an individual level as well as at large scale production purpose.

To grow, a plant requires light, water, and some nutrients. The word hydroponics is originated from the Greek language and it is the combination of two words hydro and ponics which means working with the water.

In this article, we will describe, what hydroponics is and how it works, so to know more, read the article till the end.

Various Techniques Used In Hydroponics

As we have studied in our school books that plant grows through a process called photosynthesis. Under this process, chlorophyll is used which is a chemical present in its leaves. It is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into the nutrients. These nutrients are usually found in the soil, which are alternatively produced in hydroponic nutrient solutions.

Various techniques used to grow plants hydroponically are as following:

N.F.T. Or Nutrient Film Technique

N.F.T. Or Nutrient Film Technique

This is the most commonly used technique. It consists of the structure which includes tubing system. It pumps the nutrient solutions from the reservoir and spread it through a tubing system.

In that tubing system, seedlings are placed in starter cubes, while their roots are left hanging, so they can directly nourish of the shallow layer of nutrients. Hydroponics nutrients solution is recycled in the recycling system and thus it can be reused.

Note: System requires a constant flow because plants are very sensitive to the potential interruption.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics

This procedure uses a device known as AeroGarden, which is a product for producing an indoor garden. It is used to grow vegetables, herbs, salads in customizable kits at a small level. It is a method in which the roots are misted while suspended in the air.

Basically, there are two methods to expose the roots to the nutrients. The first method comprises a fine spray nozzle to moist the root and the second uses a pond fogger. This technique comes with a microchip controller to control automatically light, nutrient and water.

Water Culture

Water Culture

This technique is generally used to produce the plants which are water-loving and quick-growing. In this technique, the plant is suspended in a basket above the nutrient solution, where the roots continually remain drowned, in a reservoir.

The roots get the oxygen through the aquarium air pump and the use of air stones and if we want to check it the bubbles in the nutrient solutions give us the guarantee of the presence of the oxygen.

Ebb And Flow System

Ebb And Flow System

This technique consists of building a flood and drain system. All the plants are placed in containers which are connected to a reservoir.

This reservoir contains the nutrient solution and the plants are fed through the control bucket when there is time to feed and then the nutrient solution is eventually pumped back into the reservoir when it is time to pump it back.

Note: This technique is used to grow small and medium-sized plants and this is ideal for greenhouse setting.

Hydroponic Drip System

Hydroponic Drip System

This technique is ideal for those plants whose roots are large and covers a large area. A growing tray containing the nutrient solution is placed above the water container. The nutrient solution is pumped through a tubing system and dripped onto the base of each plant with the help of small drip lines.

Wick System

Wick System

This technique consists of a growing tray and a wick. Wick is used to draw the nutrient solution from the reservoir to the growing tray. The plants grow directly in the medium of growing.

Coconut fiber or perlite are some commonly used growing mediums. However, one of the biggest disadvantages of this method is, those plants do not get to absorb nutrient and the water properly.  That is why fresh water is regularly required.

Advantages Of Hydroponics

There are many advantages to growing plants hydroponically:

Advantages Of Hydroponics

  • As we have mentioned earlier that there is no use of soil in hydroponics and it avoids the production of pests and diseases and therefore eliminates the use of pesticides.
  • When there is no use of pesticides, automatically, there is reduced pollution and it promotes a healthy lifestyle.
  • Also, it is mentioned above, hydroponic nutrient solutions are reusable and recyclable.
  • Hydroponics contributes a lot in the food production.
  • As compared to traditional soil-based gardening it uses only 1/20th of the water.
  • In the hydroponic gardening, the crops grow two times faster. It is because hydroponic gardening provides controlled environment and yields doubled production from the same amount of space.
  • It needs 20% of less space in comparison to soil-based gardens, as plants with small roots can be grown closer to each other.
  • No soil setup as well as no testing hassles.
  • Plants grown through this technique are healthy and have better nutritional value. It has been proved that vitamin content is 50% more in hydroponically grown plants as compared to conventional ones.
  • In this type of gardening the harvesting is easy.
  • Crops can be grown all year round that is why no need to be worried about the changing season.
  • Hydroponic gardening is incredibly stress relieving and a relaxing hobby. You can spend quality time with your family.

Disadvantages Of Hydroponics

Disadvantages Of Hydroponics

  • Starting set up cost of hydroponic system is very high.
  • It needs constant supervision.
  • These gardens can also become vulnerable to power outage, in such cases plants will dry out. If this case ever happens, you have to manually water your garden.
  • Water-based microorganism can be easily grown up.
  • For growing plants through hydroponics, technical knowledge is required.

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