WHAT IS HYDROPONICS? (AND HOW DOES IT WORK?)
Have you ever heard of hydroponics? If not, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Hydroponics is a type of agriculture that doesn’t use soil. Instead, plants are grown in water and mineral nutrient solutions. This can be done indoors or outdoors, which makes it a popular choice for people who want to garden but don’t have the space for traditional agriculture. Interested in learning more? Keep reading!
WHAT IS HYDROPONICS?
Hydroponics is a method of indoor gardening in which you grow plants in a water-based solution, without the use of soil. The word “hydroponics” comes from the Greek words “hydro,” meaning water, and “ponos,” meaning labor.
Plants do not require soil, but they do require the vitamins and minerals that soil can provide. Plants also need light, water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen at the plant root zone in order to grow. Hydroponic plants grow in an inert medium like rocks or coco coir fiber which is then fed a solution containing a balanced combination of the required nutrients. The plant’s roots absorb what they need from the solution, and the excess drains away. Nutrients can be provided to plants in either a liquid or solid form.
Hydroponics can produce a wide variety of plants, including fruits, herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Hydroponic farming is a great option for people who live in apartments or condos. This is because it does not require any outdoor space. Hydroponic food production is optimal in places where traditional agriculture is not possible, such as deserts or in areas with poor soil quality. It also allows for year-round growing, even during winter.
WHAT IS A HYDROPONIC SYSTEM?
A hydroponic system is a device or set of devices that grow plants in a nutrient rich water-based solution. There are many different types of hydroponic systems. However, they all have one common goal: to provide the plant with what it needs to grow.
The six types of hydroponic systems are as follows:
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) – this system uses a thin film of nutrient-rich water to flow over the plant roots.
- Ebb and Flow – This type of system uses a tray filled with inert growing medium, such as rocks or coco coir fiber. The tray is periodically flooded with a nutrient-rich solution and then allowed to drain back out.
- Drip system – This type of system uses a series of tubes and emitters to drip nutrient-rich water directly onto the plant’s roots.
- Wicking system -A wick system consists of a wick, such as a rope or piece of felt, that transports nutrients and water to the roots of plants.
- Aeroponics – This type of system uses a high-pressure mist to deliver nutrients and water directly to the plant’s roots.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC) – In a Deep Water Culture system, the roots of plants are suspended in a nutrient-rich solution. An air pump is used to provide oxygen to the roots.
Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to understand what you want to grow and what kind of system will work best for you.
Learn More: 6 Types of Hydroponic Systems & What’s the Best Method
HOW DOES HYDROPONIC FARMING AND GARDENING WORK?
Now that you know what hydroponics is, let’s look at how it works. As we mentioned earlier, plants need light, water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen to grow. Hydroponic gardens work to provide all these things directly to the plant’s roots.
The most crucial factor in a successful hydroponic garden is the water quality. The water must be free of contaminants and have a pH level that is conducive to plant growth. Nutrients are also essential for healthy plants, and they must be added to a hydro system’s water for plants to thrive.
One of the benefits of hydroponic gardening is that it can be done indoors, which means that you can control the environment in which your plants are growing. This is especially important for delicate plants that require a specific temperature or humidity level.
PASSIVE AND ACTIVE SYSTEMS
Plants are either grown in a water-based solution or planted directly in an aqueous medium such as coconut coir, rock wool, LECA, vermiculite, or perlite in a hydroponics system. In an active or passive system, the plants receive their nutrients either through the water or from a solid medium.
- Active systems: active systems use pumps to circulate and aerate the nutrient solution which delivers the nutrients to the plant’s root system zone so they can be taken up.
- Passive systems: passive systems do not have any pumps or moving parts. The nutrient solutions are fed to the root zone through flooding, gravity, or capillary action.
Depending upon what you are growing, your climate, and the space you have available, one system may be better for you than the other.
Vertical farming is an exciting new development in hydroponic gardening. It is a type of agriculture that takes advantage of vertical space to produce more crops in a smaller area.
In traditional farming, the crops are planted in rows that run parallel to the ground. This layout is not efficient when it comes to using space, because most of the space is taken up by the ground itself. In a hydroponic farm, crops are planted in stacks or tiers that run perpendicular to the ground. This allows for more plants to be grown in a smaller area.
This system of farming also has other benefits. It is more efficient when it comes to using water and nutrients because the water and nutrients can be delivered directly to the plants’ roots. It is also more efficient when it comes to energy usage because the lights can be positioned closer to the plants.
Vertical farming is still in its infancy, but it has exciting potential for the future. With advances in technology and increasing demand for locally-grown produce, vertical farming could soon become a mainstream form of agriculture.
BENEFITS OF USING HYDROPONICS
There are many benefits to using hydroponics, including the following:
- You can grow a hydroponic plant system year-round, regardless of the weather.
- Hydroponic gardens use far less water than traditional gardens, with up to 90% greater water efficiency.
- The nutrients required for plant growth can be provided in a liquid or solid form.
- No soil is necessary.
- Hydroponic gardens are less susceptible to pests and diseases.
- When utilizing a hydroponic system, no pesticides or weed killers are necessary.
- You can control the environment in which your plants are growing.
- Controlling the time between harvest and consumption improves the nutritional value of the finished product.
- In the same amount of space, production increases by a factor of three to ten.
- In a well-managed hydroponic system, certain crops may be produced twice as quickly.
Overall, hydroponic growing has several advantages over traditional gardening. It is a more effective form of gardening than conventional methods. It consumes less water, and pests and diseases are less likely to affect it. Moreover, you have greater control over the environment in which your plants are flourishing. Hydroponics may be the ideal answer for you if you want to increase your production, grow plants year-round, or have limited space.
GETTING STARTED WITH HYDROPONICS
HRG has the hydroponics supplies you need for a successful harvest. We work with product lines that have a proven track record in the industry so that you can buy with confidence.
Our brands supply everything from pumps and timers to reflectors and complete hydroponic systems. We also offer a wide variety of nutrients, grow lights, and gardening tools for your hydroponic setup needs.
We represent brands including but not limited to:
Whether you are just getting started or are a seasoned pro, we have the products and expertise to help you every step of the way. Give us a call today or find our products locally. We look forward to helping you grow!