Hydroponics is basically a type of agriculture or plantation method that is not dependable on the soil. The term ‘hydroponics’ has been derived from the greek word, ‘hudor’ which means water, and ‘ponos’ which means work, so the full meaning will be “water-working”. By using this type of technique plants are generally used to grow through the use of some water-based nutrients. In the absence of soil, water will provide hydration and nutrition to the plants which can make them grow in a superb way.
Using the technique of hydroponic one can cultivate any type of plant like watermelons, jalapenos, orchids, etc. All that the plants will need is the high nutrition, minerals, and fertility that they will be getting from the water. Hydroponics by using the scientific method can easily grow plants in a very minimal space than the traditional method of agriculture and indigenous design. With this technique, beautiful gardens of fruits and flowers can be grown within half the time.
Hydroponic flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are planted in a closed area with nutrient-rich solutions, oxygen, and water. This system of hydroponics will stimulate rapid growth, stronger yields, and the best quality. When a plant grows in the soil its roots eventually start to find the proper nutrients to support it but if a plant’s roots are directly exposed to water and nutrition then it does not need to exert its energy for sustainability. In hydroponic farming, the plants will get all the necessary nutrition and minerals from the water and which can be proven to be a more effective and versatile method of agriculture than traditional farming.
In the modern world, hydroponic farming has got the utmost attention over the traditional method of agriculture because utilizing this technique not only gives enrichment to the plants but also one can do the farming anywhere they want. All they will need is a room where they can grow their plants and the facility of good water supply. Through this technique the plants will be more nutritious, strong, and of good quality.
How does the system of Hydroponics work?
As we all know now Hydroponics is a system of agriculture that is based mainly on water-growing plants. The system of Hydroponics works mainly by allowing very minimal control over environmental conditions like temperature and PH balance and allowing more exposure to nutrients and water. The main aim of Hydroponics is: that plants should be provided with the basic necessities that it needs. This system of hydroponic farming also allows for controlling the light that the plant will need according to its requirement. By using such an advanced system the plant will definitely accelerate its growth in a fast manner.
As control over the environment can be done through this method of agriculture which in turn benefits the plants in numerous ways like if plants were cultivated in fields and gardens they will be exposed to a host of variables that will impact their health. The fungus may also spread diseases to plants. Animals can also destroy the vegetables grown in the garden and insects can also infect the plants by spreading some harmful bacteria. Thus, using this hydroponic system can end problems related to growing plants outside in fields or gardens.
Hydroponics does not make use of any pesticides or harmful substances and uses only natural way to grow plants with the use of water-rich nutrients.
Resources needed for Hydroponics
Hydroponic farming needs a lot of resources which makes it one of the best farming techniques in the modern world. All we need is:
This is one of the important essentials for hydroponic farming. As we already know that this technique mainly makes use of water to grow plants so one must be extra careful before using it as water also contains bacteria if not used fresh. Fresh water should only be used in hydroponic farming.
In traditional agriculture, plants can receive oxygen from the soil but in hydroponic farming, oxygen can be received by the plant only by creating some space between the base of the plant and the water tank or it can be oxygenated by using an air pump.
Support for roots
The roots are considered the heart of the plant because without them plants cannot survive. So, the roots also need some pampering which can be possible only by using some methods like vermiculture, peat moss, coconut fiber, and Rockwool. These ingredients will make the roots strong and sustainable.
Giving rich nutrients to plants is highly recommended as these nutrients will make the plant healthy and strong. Plenty of nutrients are needed which can be acquired by using magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, and one can buy them easily from the market or some online stores.
In hydroponic farming, plants are usually cultivated indoors which requires some special lightning. Each kind of plant needs a different type and amount of light which is the foremost importance while growing plants through hydroponics.
Types of Hydroponic farming
Deep water culture system
In this system the plants are mainly suspended in aerated water. This system is also not so expensive as one can practice it even in one’s office or classroom. This system of hydroponics is also considered one of the purest forms of hydroponic farming. Through this system, only the roots of the plants should be submerged in the solution and not the other parts of the plants. The solution will provide the plant with rich nutrition, water, and oxygen.
In this system, the roots of the plants will be tried to a string which is known as a wick. The plants with the wicks will be submerged in a water reservoir and the nutrient solution from the water will pass through the wick to the plant by giving it enough minerals that it needs. But the wick system works very slowly if compared to the other hydroponics system. The wick attached to the root should be properly dissolved into the water so that the proper solution reaches the plant on time.
Nutrient film technique system
This type of system is mainly used in vertical farming i.e. plant skyscrapers. It is the most common form of hydroponic farming which can be used in the home, lab, and commercial settings. It mainly works by allowing continuous nutrient flow to the plants and back to the reservoir by using a downward-facing tube.
Ebb and Flow system
This is a method where a pump is used with a timer in it to watch how much nutrients are required for the plants and then drain back the solution to the reservoir after successfully encompassing the plant roots. It requires a proper growing medium then only it can be implemented in a perfect manner.
In this system, a timer has been used that controls when the nutrient solution should get transferred through a group of drip lines to provide tiny drops of water for the plants. It is not much expensive but if not used properly that a lot of water will be wasted.
It is one of the most complicated systems of all. Here the plants will be kept suspended in the air which requires no other medium for growing. There will be a spray system with a timer that will deliver nutrients to the plants at the appropriate time and as such the roots will be exposed to more oxygen.
Benefits of Hydroponic farming
- Hydroponics provides a high yield of calories per growing area. Through the use of this technique, plants are supported with the proper level of nutrients and growing area as per their requirement and sustainability.
- Hydroponic farming can be controlled according to the plant’s requirement as it is basically grown indoors with proper water reservoirs and sufficient light. The plants are fed with a nutrient solution that can come in many forms and usually its the water which is a mix of minerals and fertilizers that the plants required for food.
- Hydroponics consumes less water compared to traditional farming where the loss of water can be seen because of soil erosion, inefficient irrigation, and evaporation. Whereas, using the technique of hydroponics 90% less water can be used, and also here water gets recirculated efficiently.
- Hydroponic farmers can grow plants anywhere they want to as they can be set up in homes, gardens, and greenhouses. In desert climates like Egypt also it can be practiced for local food. More research is going on as to use of hydroponics in space which can grow some vegetables that will help the astronauts stay in space for longer missions.
- Through the use of hydroponic farming, plants can be grown at any time of the year without depending on any seasonal changes because it is mainly practiced indoors.
- In hydroponic farming use of pesticides and herbicides have been used in low quantities as the plants get most of their nutrients from water solution which almost remains free of such chemicals and pesticides.
Hydroponics of Hydroponic farming is the most convenient farming technique that has been adopted on a large scale by many farmers and agricultural producers. This system not only will make the plants more nutritious and strong but also it can remain free from any harmful environmental hazards. So, this type of farming technique is highly suggested in today’s world.