Hydroponics, as a technique for farming has been an instant hit among the farmers due to its unprecedented advantages over open field agriculture. Hydroponics is defined as methods of growing plants in water and nutrient solution, without soil. This technique isn’t a new method of farming. Hydroponics can be traced back in the history to the Gardens of Babylon and Floating Gardens of China. General hydroponics can be carried out indoors as well as outdoors depending on the space available.
Let’s look at how general hydroponics work. When we grow plants in soil, it acts as a carrier for the essential minerals. Plant roots absorb these minerals and water from soil for its growth. In general hydroponics, this soil factor is eliminated and plants get direct access to nutrients, never stressing the plants due to lack of nutrients or water. You can grow your desired plants by Hydroponic Gardening Supplies them inorganic chemical minerals in the nutrient solution or else you can also make or purchase nutrient solution made from natural sources. When one opt for only organic sources of nutrients for growing hydroponic plants, it is called as organic hydroponics. Hydroponic products such as grow lights, grow medium, nutrients, grow cabinets, etc. are available in many hydroponic stores. For setting up your hydroponic garden, you need to pick from various hydroponic systems based on various hydroponic techniques. Though no single hydroponics technique is the best, most growers prefer any of the following four techniques:
1. Nutrient film technique (NFT): NFT utilizes a reservoir with a submersible pump that pushes the nutrient solution into the grow pipes where plant roots remain suspended. The grow pipe is slightly angled for nutrient flow and to collect the solution from the other end. No grow medium is needed. A steady flow of nutrients is maintained along the pipe and roots grow into dense mats, with a thin film of nutrients passing over them.
2. Ebb and Flow: This method uses a submersible pump to flush the plant roots that are planted in the upper tray of the reservoir at regular intervals. The pump should be on for about 20-30 minutes (flood period), which allows the nutrient solution to reach a set level and then drained back to the reservoir.
3. Drip system: A pump is immersed in the nutrient solution and is timer operated. Periodically, it drips the nutrient solution onto the plants’ root bases through a channel of tubes and pipes leading to each individual plant.
4. Aeroponics: Most advanced technique of hydroponics requires no surface for growing plants. Plant roots are suspended in growth chamber that is periodically misted with nutrient spray.
Other general hydroponic techniques that are easy to carry out at home are deep-water culture, grow bag technique, and wick system, etc. Even if you’re a home grower or commercial grower, you can grow almost any plant with hydroponics like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, leafy vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowering plants. With hydroponics, it is possible to provide optimum growing conditions for plant growth, and that’s why you get much higher, healthier, and nutritious yield.