Origin Soilless culture Gericke originally defined hydroponics as crop growth in mineral nutrient solutions.

Hydroponics is a subset of soilless culture. Many types of soilless culture do not use the mineral nutrient solutions required for hydroponics. Plants that are not traditionally grown in a climate would be possible to grow using a controlled environment system like hydroponics. NA A has also looked to utili!e hydroponics in the space program. "ay #heeler$ plant physiologist at %ennedy pace &enter's pace (ife cience (ab$ believes that hydroponics will create advances within space travel. He terms this as a bioregenerative life support system.)*+ ome of the reasons why hydroponics is being adapted around the world for food production are the following,
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No soil is needed for hydroponics -he water stays in the system and can be reused . thus$ lower water costs /t is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety . thus$ lower nutrition costs No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system table and high yields Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container0s mobility /t is easier to harvest No pesticide damage

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-oday$ hydroponics is an established branch of agronomy. Progress has been rapid$ and results obtained in various countries have proved it to be thoroughly practical and to have very definite advantages over conventional methods of horticulture. -here are two chief merits of the soil.less cultivation of plants. 1irst$ hydroponics may potentially produce much higher crop yields. Also$ hydroponics can be used in places where in.ground agriculture or gardening are not possible. Disadvantages #ithout soil as a buffer$ any failure to the hydroponic system leads to rapid plant death. 2ther disadvantages include pathogen attacks such as damp.off due to 3erticillium wilt caused by the high moisture levels associated with hydroponics and over watering of soil based plants. Also$ many hydroponic plants require different fertili!ers and containment systems.)4+

1or all techniques$ most hydroponic reservoirs are now built of plastic$ but other materials have been used including concrete$ glass$ metal$ vegetable solids$ and wood. -he solution is usually gently aerated but may be un. -he nutrient solution is changed either on a schedule$ such as once per week$ or when the concentration drops below a certain level as determined with an electrical conductivity meter. -he medium culture method has a solid medium for the roots and is named for the type of medium$ e. /f un. -here are two main variations for each medium$ sub. olution culture does not use a solid medium for the roots$ 5ust the nutrient solution. /n raft solution culture$ plants are placed in a sheet of buoyant plastic that is floated on the surface of the nutrient solution. -he main advantage of the N1. -he three main types of solution cultures are static solution culture$ continuous.$ sand culture$ gravel culture$ or rockwool culture. -here can be one to many plants per reservoir.system over other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are e6posed to adequate supplies of water$ o6ygen$ and nutrients. Static solution culture /n static solution culture$ plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution$ such as glass Mason 5ars 7typically$ in. A properly designed N1.flow solution culture and aeroponics.Techniques -he two main types of hydroponics are solution culture and medium culture. /n all other forms of production$ there is a conflict between the supply of these requirements$ since e6cessive or deficient amounts of one results in an imbalance of one or both of the others. Continuous-flow solution culture /n continuous.system is based on using the right channel slope$ the right flow rate$ and the right channel length. -hat way$ the solution level never drops below the roots. -he containers should e6clude light to prevent algae growth in the nutrient solution. ubsequent to this$ an abundant supply of o6ygen is provided to the roots of the plants. /t is much easier to automate than the static solution culture because sampling and ad5ustments to the temperature and nutrient concentrations can be made in a large storage tank that has potential to serve thousands of plants. &lear containers are covered with aluminium foil$ butcher paper$ black plastic$ or other material to e6clude light$ thus helping to eliminate the formation of algae.aerated.flow solution culture$ the nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots. #henever the solution is depleted below a certain level$ either water or fresh nutrient solution is added$ A Mariotte0s bottle$ or a float valve$ can be used to automatically maintain the solution level.is always remembered and practised.aerated$ the solution level is kept low enough that enough roots are above the solution so they get adequate o6ygen.irrigation and top irrigation)specify+. -he result of these advantages is that . N1-$ because of its design$ provides a system where all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time$ provided that the simple concept of N1.g. A popular variation is the nutrient film technique or N1-$ whereby a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is recirculated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight thick root mat$ which develops in the bottom of the channel$ has an upper surface that$ although moist$ is in the air. A hole is cut in the lid of the reservoir for each plant.home applications8$ plastic buckets$ tubs$ or tanks. A home made system can be constructed from plastic food containers or glass canning 5ars with aeration provided by an aquarium pump$ aquarium airline tubing and aquarium valves. "eservoir si!e can be increased as plant si!e increases.

1low rates beyond these e6tremes are often associated with nutritional problems.E increase in dry weight biomass 7essential minerals8 compared to hydroponically grown plants. -he slope may be provided by the floor$ or benches or racks may hold the channels and provide the required slope.greens.is that it has very little buffering against interruptions in the flow$ e. At planting$ rates may be half this and the upper limit of > (?min appears about the ma6imum. Aeroponics used FBE less water than hydroponics.$ power outages. As a general guide$ flow rates for each gully should be : liter per minute. 2n rapidly growing crops$ tests have indicated that$ while o6ygen levels remain adequate$ nitrogen may be depleted over the length of the gully. Aeroponic techniques have proved to be commercially successful for propagation$ seed germination$ seed potato production$ tomato production$ leaf crops$ and micro.+ -he limitation of hydroponics is the fact that : kg of water can only hold 4 mg of air$ no matter whether aerators are utili!ed or not.E of the available o6ygen and carbon dio6ide to the roots !one$ stems$ and leaves$)::+ thus accelerating biomass growth and reducing rooting times. are used. -he method requires no substrate and entails growing plants with their roots suspended in a deep air or growth chamber with the roots periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomi!ed nutrients. -he advantage of aeroponics is that suspended aeroponic plants receive :. -his allows for minor irregularities in the surface$ but$ even with these slopes$ ponding and water logging may occur. have been recommended$ in practice it is difficult to build a base for channels that is sufficiently true to enable nutrient films to flow without ponding in locally depressed areas. As a consequence$ it is recommended that slopes of :. Aeroponics Main article: Aeroponics Aeroponics is a system wherein roots are continuously or discontinuously kept in an environment saturated with fine drops 7a mist or aerosol8 of nutrient solution.:.<.systems. As a consequence$ channel length should not e6ceed :. NA A also concluded that aeroponically grown plants requires G the nutrient input compared to hydroponics. Hnlike . A downside of N1. -he same design characteristics apply to all conventional N1.):. C6cellent aeration is the main advantage of aeroponics. 9oth methods are used and depend on local requirements$ often determined by the site and crop requirements.g.. 9ut$ overall$ it is probably one of the more productive techniques. NA A research has shown that aeroponically grown plants have an 4. @epressed growth rates of many crops have been observed when channels e6ceed :> metres in length. Another distinct advantage of aeroponics over hydroponics is that any species of plants can be grown in a true aeroponic system because the micro environment of an aeroponic can be finely controlled.quality produce are obtained over an e6tended period of cropping.=.. /n situations where this is not possible$ the reductions in growth can be eliminated by placing another nutrient feed halfway along the gully and reducing flow rates to : (?min through each outlet. #hile slopes along channels of :. -he limitation of hydroponics is that only certain species of plants can survive for so long in water before they become waterlogged.higher yields of high.A:B metres. to :.)D+ ince inventor "ichard toner commerciali!ed aeroponic technology in :D4<$ aeroponics has been implemented as an alternative to water intensive hydroponic systems worldwide.

.hydroponics$ is a method wherein plants are grown in an inert porous medium that transports water and fertili!er to the roots by capillary action from a separate reservoir as necessary$ reducing labour and providing a constant supply of water to the roots. Cither the tray is filled with growing medium 7clay granules being the most common8 and planted directly or pots of medium stand in the tray. Run to waste /n a run to waste system$ nutrient and water solution is periodically applied to the medium surface. Aeroponics is also widely used in laboratory studies of plant physiology and plant pathology. /n a slightly more comple6 system$ it is automated with a delivery pump$ a timer and irrigation tubing to deliver nutrient solution with a delivery frequency that is governed by the key parameters of plant si!e$ plant growing stage$ climate$ substrate$ and substrate conductivity$ pH$ and water content. Passive sub-irrigation Main article: Passive hydroponics Passive sub. Aeroponic techniques have been given special attention from NA A since a mist is easier to handle than a liquid in a !ero gravity environment. -his keeps the medium regularly flushed with nutrients and air. Additional advantages of passive hydroponics are the reduction of root rot and the additional ambient humidity provided through evaporations. -his may be done in its simplest form$ by manually applying a nutrient.and. &ommercial hydroponics production of large plants like tomatoes$ cucumber$ and peppers use one form or another of run to waste hydroponics.water solution one or more times per day in a container of inert growing media$ such as rockwool$ perlite$ vermiculite$ coco fibre$ or sand. At regular intervals$ a simple timer causes a pump to fill the upper tray with nutrient solution$ after which the solution drains back down into the reservoir. /n a commercial setting$ watering frequency is multi factorial and governed by computers or P(&s. /n the simplest method$ the pot sits in a shallow solution of fertili!er and water or on a capillary mat saturated with nutrient solution. -he various hydroponic media available$ such as e6panded clay and coconut husk$ contain more air space than more traditional potting mi6es$ delivering increased o6ygen to the roots$ which is important in epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads$ whose roots are e6posed to the air in nature. Ebb and flow or flood and drain sub-irrigation Main article: Ebb and flow /n its simplest form$ there is a tray above a reservoir of nutrient solution. 2nce the upper tray fills past the drain stop$ it begins recirculating the water until the timer turns the pump off$ and the water in the upper tray drains back into the reservoirs.irrigation$ also known as passive hydroponics or semi.hydroponically grown plants$ aeroponically grown plants will not suffer transplant shock when transplanted to soil$ and offers growers the ability to reduce the spread of disease and pathogens.

9oth the airstone and the water pump run >= hours a day. As with @eep #ater &ulture$ there is an airstone in the reservoir that pumps air into the water via a hose from outside the reservoir. -he water is released over the plant0s roots and then runs back into the reservoir below in a constantly recirculating system. #ith @eep #ater &ulture$ there is a time where the roots have not reached the water yet. #ith 9ubbleponics$ the roots get easy access to water from the beginning and will grow to the reservoir below much more quickly than with a @eep #ater &ulture system.):>+ Deep water culture Main article: Deep water culture -he hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient. -he biggest advantages with 9ubbleponics over @eep #ater &ulture involve increased growth during the first few weeks. Hsing the same general idea behind aeroponics e6cept fogponics uses a B. #ith this method$ the plants grow much faster because of the high amount of o6ygen that the roots receive. -he solution is o6ygen saturated from an air pump combined with porous stones. -raditional methods favor the use of plastic buckets and large containers with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from the centre of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution./n environmentally responsible uses$ the nutrient rich waste is collected and processed through an on site filtration system to be used many times$ making the system very productive.:. . 2nce the roots have reached the reservoir below$ there is not a huge advantage with 9ubbleponics over @eep #ater &ulture. -he airstone helps add o6ygen to the water. Rotar" A rotary hydroponic garden is a style of commercial hydroponics created within a circular frame which rotates continuously during the entire growth cycle of whatever plant is being grown.):=+ !ogponics Main article: Fogponics 1ogponics 1ogponics is an advanced form of aeroponics which uses water in a vaporised form to transfer nutrients and o6ygen to enclosed suspended plant roots. #hile @eep #ater &ulture involves the plant roots hanging down into a reservoir of water below$ the term 9ubbleponics describes a top.rich$ o6ygenated water.fed @eep #ater &ulture 7@#&8 hydroponic system. /n this method$ the water is pumped from the reservoir up to the roots 7top feeding8.):<+ ubbleponics I9ubbleponicsI is the art of delivering highly o6ygenated nutrient solution direct to the root !one of plants. However$ due to the quicker growth in the beginning$ a few weeks of grow time can be shaved off. micron mist within the rooting chamber and as use for a foliar feeding mechanism.

@ue to the plants continuous fight against gravity plants typically mature much more quickly then when grown in soil or other traditional hydroponic growing systems. J18. 9reaking open a clay pebble after a crop has been grown will reveal this growth. @ifferent media are appropriate for different growing techniques. Substrates 2ne of the most obvious decisions hydroponic farmers have to make is which medium they should use. @ue to the small foot print a rotary hydroponic system has$ it allows for more plant material to be grown per sq foot of floor space then other traditional hydroponic systems. 9aked clay pellets$ are suitable for hydroponic systems in which all nutrients are carefully controlled in water solution. . -he clay pellets are inert$ pH neutral and do not contain any nutrient value. E#panded cla" aggregate Main article: Expanded clay aggregate C6panded clay pebbles. J& 7>$:D. Another view is that clay pebbles are best not re. #ithin the center of each rotary hydroponic garden is a high intensity grow light$ designed to simulate sunlight$ often with the assistance of a mechani!ed timer.usable growing medium because of its ability to be cleaned and sterili!ed$ typically by washing in solutions of white vinegar$ chlorine bleach$ or hydrogen pero6ide 7H>2>8$ and rinsing completely. Cach day$ as the plants rotate$ they are periodically watered with a hydroponic growth solution to provide all nutrient necessary for robust growth.. /t is light in weight$ and does not compact over time. -he manufacturers consider e6panded clay to be an ecologically sustainable and re. -he shape of an individual pellet can be irregular or uniform depending on brand and manufacturing process.#hile system specific vary$ systems typically rotate once per hour$ giving a plant >= full turns within the circle each >= hour period. -his causes the clay to e6pand$ like popcorn$ and become porous.used even when they are cleaned$ due to root growth that may enter the medium. -he clay is formed into round pellets and fired in rotary kilns at :$>.

3ermiculite holds more water than perlite and has a natural IwickingI property that can draw water and nutrients in a passive hydroponic system. &oir is a :. However$ it is heavy$ does not hold water very well$ and it must be sterili!ed between use. Sand and is cheap and easily available. Perlite Perlite is a volcanic rock that has been superheated into very lightweight e6panded glass pebbles. Perlite has similar properties and uses to vermiculite but$ in general$ holds more air and less water. &oconut &oir is coloni!ed with trichoderma 1ungi$ which protects roots and stimulates root growth. /t is a fusion of granite$ obsidian$ pumice and basalt. &oir is available in many forms$ most common is coco peat$ which has the appearance and te6ture of soil but contains no mineral content. water ratio$ plant roots thrive in this environment$ coir has a high cation e6change$ meaning it can store unused minerals to be released to the plant as and when it requires it. /t is used loose or in plastic sleeves immersed in the water. /f too much water and not enough air surrounds the plants roots$ it is possible to gradually lower the medium0s water. /t is e6tremely difficult to over water coir due to its perfect air. -his aggregate holds more water than parboiled rice hulls. /f not contained$ it can float if flood and drain feeding is used. $ravel . retention capability by mi6ing in increasing quantities of perlite. -his volcanic rock is naturally fused at high temperatures undergoing what is called &!usionic 'eta(orphosis&. Rice %ulls Parboiled rice hulls 7P9H8 decay over time.):B+ Coir &oco Peat$ also known as coir or coco$ is the leftover material after the fibres have been removed from the outermost shell 7bolster8 of the coconut.to.):B+ A study showed that rice hulls didn0t affect the effects of plant growth regulators.E natural grow and flowering medium. Pu(ice (ike perlite$ pumice is a lightweight$ mined volcanic rock that finds application in hydroponics. )er(iculite (ike perlite$ vermiculite is a mineral that has been superheated until it has e6panded into light pebbles. /t is also used in potting soil mi6es to decrease soil density. "ice hulls allow drainage$):F+ and even retain less water than growstones..$rowstones Growstones$ made from glass waste$ have both more air and water retention space than perlite and peat. ):F+ "ice hulls are an agricultural byproduct that would otherwise have little use.

#ood fibre has been shown to reduce the effects of Iplant growth regulators. Plants may absorb styrene and pass it to their consumersL this is a possible health risk.I):F+ Sheep wool #ool from shearing sheep is a little. Most of the rock wool sold to date is a non. However$ they can be too lightweight for some uses.carcinogenic material$ falling under Note K of the Curopean Hnion &lassification Packaging and (abeling "egulation 7&(P8.E$ which decreased with use to a comparable =<E$ and water capacity that increased from ><E to ==E with use. Advantages include its proven efficiency and effectiveness as a commercial hydroponic substrate. Pol"st"rene pac+ing peanuts Polystyrene packing peanuts are ine6pensive$ readily available$ and have e6cellent drainage. 1lushing with cold water usually brings relief. /ndeed$ plants growing in a typical traditional gravel filter bed$ with water circulated using electric powerhead pumps$ are in effect being grown using gravel hydroponics. *ood fibre #ood fibre$ produced from steam friction of wood$ is a very efficient organic substrate for hydroponics. .tube systems.. Gravel is ine6pensive$ easy to keep clean$ drains well and will not become waterlogged. -he latter being the possible skin irritancy 7mechanical8 whilst handling 7:.used yet promising renewable growing medium. /n a study comparing wool with peat slabs$ coconut fibre slabs$ perlite and rockwool slabs to grow cucumber plants$ sheep wool had a greater air capacity of *.8. "ock wool has many advantages and some disadvantages. "ock wool is made from molten rock$ basalt or 0slag0 that is spun into bundles of single filament fibres$ and bonded into a medium capable of capillary action$ and is$ in effect$ protected from most common microbiological degradation. However$ it is also heavy$ and$ if the system does not provide continuous water$ the plant roots may dry out.-he same type that is used in aquariums$ though any small gravel can be used$ provided it is washed first. Note that polystyrene peanuts must be usedL biodegradable packing peanuts will decompose into a sludge.)citation needed+ ric+ shards 9rick shards have similar properties to gravel. -hey are used mainly in closed.):*+ Roc+ wool "ock wool 7mineral wool8 is the most widely used medium in hydroponics.ha!ardous$ non.:. "ock wool is an inert substrate suitable for both run to waste and recirculating systems. -hey have the added disadvantages of possibly altering the pH and requiring e6tra cleaning before reuse. /t has the advantage that it keeps its structure for a very long time. Hsing sheep wool resulted in the greatest yield out of the tested substrates$ while application of a biostimulator consisting of humic acid$ lactic acid and 9acillus subtilis improved yields in all substrates..

3arious micronutrients are typically added to hydroponic solutions to supply essential elementsL among them are 1e 7iron8$ Mn 7manganese8$ &u 7copper8$ On 7!inc8$ 9 7boron8$ &l 7chlorine8$ and Ni 7nickel8.cycle$ further optimi!es its nutritional value. -he first program is available for #indows$ Mac and (inu6 while the second one can be used through a simple Pava interface.+ and Hydro&al)>:+ have been created by professional chemists to help any hydroponics grower prepare their own nutrient solutions. -he well. 9oth programs allow for basic nutrient solution preparation although Hydro9uddy provides added functionality to use and save custom substances$ save formulations and predict electrical conductivity values. /t is therefore necessary to wrap the tank with black film obscuring all light..):4+ Plants will change the composition of the nutrient solutions upon contact by depleting specific nutrients more rapidly than others$ removing water from the solution$ and altering the pH by e6cretion of either acidity or alkalinity.o6ygenated and enlightened environment promotes the development of algae.mi6ed concentrated nutrient solutions are generally purchased from commercial nutrient manufacturers by hydroponic hobbyists and small commercial growers$ several tools e6ists to help anyone prepare their own solutions without e6tensive knowledge about chemistry. Primary among the dissolved cations 7positively charged ions8 are &a>M 7calcium8$ Mg>M 7magnesium8$ and %M 7potassium8L the ma5or nutrient anions in nutrient solutions are N2N < 7nitrate8$ 2>N = 7sulphate8$ and H>P2N = 7dihydrogen phosphate8. Many variations of the nutrient solutions used by Arnon and Hoagland 7see above8 have been styled 0modified Hoagland solutions0 and are widely used. /n organic hydroponics$ organic fertili!er can be added in the hydroponic solution because microorganisms degrade organic fertili!er into inorganic nutrients. &ommonly used chemicals for the macronutrients include potassium nitrate$ calcium nitrate$ potassium phosphate$ and magnesium sulfate. Numerous 0recipes0 for hydroponic solutions are available. Co((ercial ome commercial installations use no pesticides or herbicides$ preferring integrated pest management techniques.):D+ &are is required not to allow salt concentrations to become too high$ nutrients to become too depleted$ or pH to wander far from the desired value. 3ariation of different mi6es throughout the plant life. 2rganic hydroponics uses the solution containing microorganisms. -he free and open source tools Hydro9uddy)>.utrient solutions Main article: Plant nutrition Plant nutrients used in hydroponics are dissolved in the water and are mostly in inorganic and ionic form. -here is often a price premium willingly paid by consumers for . &helating agents are sometimes used to keep 1e soluble. /n contrast$ conventional hydroponics cannot use organic fertili!er because organic compounds in the hydroponic solution show phytoto6ic effects. Although pre. Many use different combinations of chemicals to reach similar total final compositions.

E less water than traditional soil farming. -he environment in a hydroponics greenhouse is tightly controlled for ma6imum efficiency$ and this new mindset is called soil. Growers monitor the temperature$ humidity$ and pH level constantly. ome states in the H A require soil as an essential to obtain organic certification.produce that is labelled IorganicI. -o increase yield further$ some sealed greenhouses in5ect carbon dio6ide into their environment to help growth 7&2> enrichment8$ add lights to lengthen the day$ or control vegetative growth$ etc.. However$ these lighting systems require large amounts of electricity to operate$ making efficiency and safety very critical. the amount as a regular farm to produce the same amount of food. -he water table can be impacted by the water use and run. -here are also overlapping and somewhat contradictory rules established by the H 1ederal Government$ so some food grown with hydroponics can be certified organic.environment agriculture 7&CA8. -his can save the farmer money by allowing reduced water use and the ability to measure consequences to the land around a farm.off of chemicals from farms$ but hydroponics may minimi!e impact as well as having the advantage that water use and water returns are easier to measure.less?controlled.*. High.pressure sodium emits more light in the red spectrum$ meaning that it is best suited for supplementing natural sunshine and can be used throughout the growing cycle.premium foods anywhere in the world$ regardless of temperature and growing seasons. Metal halide emits more light in the blue spectrum$ making it ideal for plant growth but is harmful to unprotected skin and can cause skin cancer. #ith this growers can make ultra.halide lamp for growing stage only or high. Hydroponics have been used to enhance vegetables to provide more nutritional value.pressure sodium for growing?flowering?blooming stage are used to lengthen the day or to supplement natural sunshine if it is scarce. Hydroponics also saves waterL it uses as little as :Q>. . A hydroponic farmer in 3irginia has developed a calcium and potassium enriched head of lettuce$ scheduled to be widely available in April >.)>>+ Advance(ents #ith pest problems reduced$ and nutrients constantly fed to the roots$ productivity in hydroponics is high$ although plant growth can be limited by the low levels of carbon dio6ide in the atmosphere$ or limited light e6posure. -o increase plant growth$ lighting systems such as metal. Grocers in test markets have said that the lettuce sells Ivery wellI$ and the farmers claim that their hydroponic lettuce uses D.