Basic Guide to Hydroponics Technology

What Is Hydroponics?

In Latin, the word hydroponics means literally “water working.”

Hydroponics is the method of growing plants in nutrient-enriched water instead of soil, producing a healthier plant and healthier aromas. Plants grown using this method produce fruits and flowers with clearer, purer, more transparent scents. Impurities from soil and bacteria are eliminated, allowing hydroponically grown flowers to be used in the creation of fragrances for all scent applications.

In soil, biological decomposition breaks down organic matter into the basic nutrient salts that plants feed on. Water dissolves these salts and allows uptake by the roots. For a plant to receive a well balanced diet, everything in the soil must be in perfect balance. Rarely, if ever, can you find such ideal conditions in soil due to the lack of organic matter left behind on the surface, contamination and biological imbalances.

With hydroponics, water is enriched with these very same nutrient salts, creating a hydroponic nutrient solution that is perfectly balanced. And since this hydroponic nutrient solution is contained, it does not harm our environment as does runoff from fertilized soil. Additionally, very little water is lost to evaporation in a hydroponic system, owing to its application in drought stricken areas.

To support the plants in a hydroponic system, an inert soil-free medium like fiber, sand or stone, may be used to anchor the roots. These hydroponic mediums are designed to be very porous for excellent retention of air and water that’s necessary for a healthy plant – roots need to breathe too!

In addition to a perfectly balanced diet, hydroponic plants have their food and water delivered directly to their roots. This way, the energy normally used to develop long roots can be redirected to growing more plant, which is a great benefit indeed! With the proper exposure to natural sunlight or supplemental grow lights, your hydroponic plants .

Advantages of Simplified Hydroponics (SH) There are many advantages connected with this type of hydroponics. These include:

  • It is a low-cost and easy-to-learn technique. A self-taught, inexpensive training course on popular hydroponics gardens provides the basic technological pack for SH. This has been promoted by the FAO/RLC as part of the strategy for urban agriculture to produce vegetable crops in limited urban and peri-urban spaces. It requires no previous knowledge, and concrete results may be seen by local communities within a few weeks.
  • Allows the production of vegetables without soil in containers with water, or in low-cost natural substrates (sand, rice hulls, pumice stone, etc.). It allows the growth of a wide variety of vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, watercress, aubergine, beans, parsley, radish, leek, strawberries, melons, flowers, aromatic and medicinal plants, etc.
  • Promotes the use of recycled materials, thus making low-cost materials such as wood and disposable containers, useful.
  • It is ideal for food production in urban and suburban areas (Urban Agriculture).It offers the advantage of using places that have not previously been considered appropriate for food production (courtyards, small gardens,walls, balconies, rooftops).
  • High efficiency in the use of water, but there is a requirement for uncontaminated water availability.
  • Direct income for family or community micro-enterprises.
  • Allows the production of high quality, harmless food.The resultant fruits and vegetables have a high biological and nutritional value.Since they are grown by each family, they are harvested immediately before their use, thus,products are fresh, keeping their nutritional and medicinal qualities intact. Also, it allows soilless cultivation that is free from contamination.In order to ensure the purity of the final product, it is essential that only drinking water and/or clean rainwater is used.

Hydroponics is the science of growing plants using a solution of suitable nutrients instead of soil. In conventional gardening the plants are grown in soil and take their nourishment from the chemical compounds within that soil. The hydroponic gardener replaces the soil with a balanced, nutrient rich, solution that the plant can absorb with ease.

There are several different types of system, but all share the same basic method of supplying the plants with nutrients and water. The most common systems are:

Water Culture, Aquaculture, or Nutriculture. This is a system in which the plant roots are immersed in water containing a complex mixture of dissolved nutrients.

Aggregate Culture. In this system a material such as sand, gravel, or marbles supports the plant roots. It is important to note that the support material, unlike soil, does not absorb nutrient. It merely traps it in the spaces between the grains or stones allowing the plant roots to freely take up the liquid.

Continuous Flow Systems. In these types of system the nutrient solution flows constantly over the plant roots. This is the most commonly used system for commercial production.

Aeroponics. This system is one in which the plant roots hang in the air and are misted regularly with a nutrient solution.

For more information:

Mother Earth Hydroponics in Cebu
Suite 309 Garwood Park Hotel
Tel.: 253-1131 local 309 or cellphone no. 0916-4855176

For training and seminars:

Globalpinoy Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, Inc.
#6 Bayanihan Drive, Project 8, Quezon City
Tel: 926-0860, Mobile: 0920-4259973; 0928-7824987

sources: howtohydroponics.com, hydroponics.com.au, edu.gov.nf.ca, hydroponics-gardening-information.com

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