A soil-less approach of gardening.
Green Ray Hydroponics
Hydroponics - Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil.
Instead of nutrients in the soil, plants thrive on a nutrient solution which contains the minerals that the plants need. So, rather than searching throughout the soil for minerals, your plants are able to get nutrients easily, directly from the nutrient solution. Grow media -- such as gravel, peat, vermiculite, Perlite, coco, old rubber tires, rockwool or expanded clay aggregates -- is often used to support the plants and their root systems and perhaps to hold moisture around the roots. The growing medium is not a source of nutrients in itself.
Why grow hydroponically?
Hydroponic gardening is an easy, environmentally sound way to grow a wide variety of healthy plants. It offers numerous benefits including:
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Plants grow up to 50% faster than in soil because they have easy access to food and water. It is possible to garden indoors all year round Nutrients are directly available to plants and don't get bound up Little or no pesticides are necessary. Plants start out in a disease-free medium. Smaller containers can be used because the roots can grow without being root bound Gardening is possible where it would not be normally e.g. poor soil, rocky areas, even balconies. With the use of artificial lighting it is even possible to successfully garden in a spare room or garage. Less labor is required than growing in soil because no digging or weeding is required. Since plants do not need to compete for nutrients, more can be grown in a smaller area. The increased control over growing conditions makes it easier to provide the best possible environment for plants, leading to better quality produce and higher yields. Fast growing healthy plants grown by hydroponic methods are more resistant to pests and diseases. You will also notice improved flavor and texture in hydroponically grown fruit and veggies
Higher crop yield Less water required Possibility to grow crops outside of climate No need for crop rotation Continual growth throughout the year Little risk of weeds or parasites Possibility exists to grow outside of our atmosphere
Cost (initial, cost to run) Higher maintenance (constant supervision, pH testing, lighting adjustments) Requires specialized knowledge and equipment
There are two types of hydroponics systems for delivering the nutrient solution: Passive Active
Basic Easier to set up for the novice gardener Require materials that retain moisture longer (i.e..vermiculite and sand) Portable, simple, inexpensive Ideal for starting seeds, root cuttings and experimental purposes Common types: 1. Wick system
Wicks anchored in a medium stretch down to a reservoir and draw solution upward to reach the roots.
Disadvantage Plants do not grow to full maturity because of limited aeration and root zone volume.
The Water Culture System
The Water Culture System is the simplest of all active hydroponic systems. The platform that holds the plants is usually made of Styrofoam and floats directly on the nutrient solution. An air pump supplies air to the air stone that bubbles the nutrient solution and supplies oxygen to the roots of the plants. Water culture is the system of choice for growing leaf lettuce, which are fast growing water loving plants, making them an ideal choice for this type of hydroponic system. Very few plants other than lettuce will do well in this type of
system. This type of hydroponic system is great for the classroom and is popular with teachers. A very inexpensive system can be made out of an old aquarium or other water tight container. Disadvantages The biggest drawback of this kind of system is that it doesn¶t work well with large plants or with long-term plants.
Uses pumps and other devices to pour the solution into the system and gravity to drain off the excess to be reused. Require mediums that drain rapidly, such as smooth gravel
Types of Active Systems
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Ebb & Flow Top Feed Aeroponics Sub- Aeration
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
NFT uses little or no medium and uses a continuous solution flow over the roots Can produce large- scale crops cheaply in parts of the world where soil quality is poor NFT can produce 106 times more lettuce annually on a 2 1/2 acre operation than by conventional farming
Disadvantages The greatest problem facing NFT has been root die back caused by inadequate oxygen in the area around the root system This causes water stress which causes wilting and blossom end rot of fruit crops such as tomatoes. This system is susceptible to equipment failure and problems arise due to support of the plant
Drip systems use pumps to carry the solution to the medium, and gravity to drain it back to a reservoir These are reliable, require low maintenance and can withstand short term equipment failure because of the growing medium They are suitable for large scale growing of all types of plants
Disadvantages A disadvantage of this system is that it is expensive and difficult to set up Top feed systems can use a variety of growing mediums and are available in a wide range of configurations
Ebb & Flow
The most popular system due to its low maintenance and low cost Utilizes a growing bed full of medium that is flooded with solution and allowed to drain Best suited for growing seedlings, transplants and ornamental potted plants Ebb & Flow There is little risk of equipment failure because there is a growing medium that retains water and allows oxygen to get to the roots Ebb & Flow systems allow for uniform fill and complete drainage during the irrigation cycle thus leading to uniformity in plant growth This type of system can be made automatic with the use of computers
Uses sprayers to bathe the roots with a nutrient -oxygen mist Plants are artificially suspended Used most widely in lab studies, but not for large-scale commercial use due to expense of setup and maintenance. NASA has experimented with the combination of Aeroponics and NFT in order to conserve nutrients for the use of hydroponics in space The chief advantage of this type of system is efficient utilization of greenhouse space by arranging the plants vertically
Disadvantages A disadvantage of Aeroponics is regulating the consistency of the sprayers to assure constant nutrient flow.
The Nutrient Solution
The key to success of a hydroponics system Contains various combos of nutrients specifically engineered to mimic those in soil Made up of: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Boron, Copper Nitrogen- Production of leaves and growth of stem Phosphorous- Development of flowers, fruits, leaves and stems and growth of roots Potassium- Used by cells during assimilation of energy Calcium- Spurs root growth and helps plant absorb potassium Magnesium- Helps distribute phosphorous throughout the plant The Nutrient Solution Sulfur- Heightens the effectiveness of phosphorous and used in the production of energy Iron- Important in the production of chlorophyll Manganese- Aids in the absorption of nitrogen Zinc- Necessary in the transfer of energy Boron- Its purpose has not been determined Copper- Needed in the production of chlorophyll
Growing medium is used to lend support to the roots and plant A variety of growing medium are utilized for their individual qualities in various types of hydroponics systems Growing Medium A few popular examples of growing medium are: ± Sand ± Brick shards ± Vermiculite / Perlite ± Gravel ± Rockwool ± Sawdust ± Polyethylene Sheeting The Future of Hydroponics Advances in lighting technology Use will expand to third world countries Reduced cost
What is Hydroponics Vegetables Gardening?
The science of hydroponics refers to the process of growing vegetables or fruit, without using actual soil. Despite the fact that all plants grow in soil naturally, it's actually not the best environment for them. Soil can lack nutritious substances, water, it contains all sorts of pests that put the vegetables health in danger and so forth. Using a hydroponics vegetables gardening system on the other hand, will eliminate most of these problems, since you won't be growing these vegetables in soil, but in a nutritious substance that may vary with each system.
Benefits of Hydroponic Vegetable Gardening
Besides the actual benefit of eliminating all the problems that occur when a plant grows in soil, hydroponic vegetables gardening has a couple more aces up its sleeve. For example:
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A hydroponics vegetable system is easy to set up and even create from scratch You will produce extremely nutritious vegetables Oftentimes, the size of the vegetables grown in a hydroponic system is increased in comparison to vegetables grown in soil Besides being a nutritious source of food, a hydroponic vegetables system can also make a great landscape décor It's a very rewarding and satisfying occupation from a personal and spiritual point of view
The fact that you can grow your vegetables indoors is a tremendous benefit in its own. Plants grown using hydroponics vegetable gardening systems don't even need sunshine, they can use the system's own light source for photosynthesis. So basically, your veggies will grow by their own life clock, regardless of the season or the time of the day outside. Besides allowing them to grow off-season, your system will also help the vegetables grow a lot faster then if they would be out in their natural environment.