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Hydroponic systems can be characterised as either ‘active’ or ‘passive’; Active hydroponics is the technique where nutrient solution is actively delivered to the plants roots via a pump, whatever the plants do not use simply drains away. No absorbent growing medium is necessary in active hydro; this allows an abundance of oxygen into the root zone. The constant supply of oxygen, water and nutrients leads to optimum growth and yields. Passive hydroponics is the technique where nutrient solution is constantly made available to the plant via the capillary action of the growing medium surrounding the roots, there is no pump involved. Although much more effective than traditional growing methods: passive hydro relies on absorbent growing medium and this limits the amount of oxygen in the root zone. Growers looking for a simple introduction to hydroponics and the next step up in performance from hand watering pots and trays should try passive hydro. Growers looking for the maximum growth and yield possible should always choose active hydro.
There are 6 basic types of hydroponic systems; Wick, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow (Flood & Drain), Drip (recovery or non-recovery), N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique) and Aeroponic.
No soil is needed. Most plant diseases are eliminated. Weeds cannot grow. Outdoor pests are not a concern. As a result of the last two points, fewer pesticides and herbicides are needed. Less water is required. No water is wasted. Plants can be grown year-round. Plants grow faster and have bigger yields. Some studies have shown that hydroponically-produced plants are more nutritional and better-tasting.
Cons Some plants cannot be grown hydroponically. If being sold for profit. Some methods require the purchase of a soil-replacement medium. If the hydroponic watering system fails. . Setup costs can be very expensive. hydroponically-cultivated plants usually provide less of a return on investment. Hydroponics requires more technical knowledge and training than soil cultivation. Gardeners have much more control over the nutrient amounts their plants receive. Crops must be maintained more frequently. Less space is required. plants will dry out and die rapidly. as plants can be placed closer together than they could in soil. so diseases will affect all plants to the same degree. Plant uniqueness is minimized.