Maximum Yield - Indoor Gardening
Archive Article: July, 2010
Water as a Substrate: Aeroponics and Aero-Hydroponics
by Nou cet t a Keh di 2010-06-01 Print Email
When choosing a hydroponic system, one of the important factors to consider is the substrate. A variety of options exist for the soilless gardener; among the most common are rockwool, clay pebbles, coconut fiber, several peat mixes, lava rock, perlite and vermiculite. It is important to choose the best option for your growing method.
But do you really need a substrate? What does the substrate do? What is its action?
There remains a misconception among growers that the substrate alone handles the relations of air and water within plants’ root systems. In reality the substrate’s role in plant growth is about 15 per cent, the other 85 per cent being in the hands of the grower. A substrate is the medium in which a plant grows. It can be one material, or a combination of materials, that provide support, aeration, plus water retention and distribute moisture to the plant. Basically, as far as the plant is concerned, the substrate must hold water, oxygen and nutrients, drain correctly and stay neutral so that it does not interfere with the plant’s development. The substrate must also respond to several other factors: it needs to be dependable, economical and light. It must be easy to handle and easy to dispose of. Ideally it should be non-polluting and biodegradable. And if you grow green, you will want something that is all-natural. Some find all these parameters too tedious to sort through. So the next question is how necessary is the substrate? Can you do without it or can you at least reduce it your dependence on it to a minimum amount? This is where aeroponics and aero-hydroponics come into the picture. These technologies respond exactly to these issues, and require little or no substrate. No more carrying bags up the stairs; no more dumping loads of used material to the rubbish; no more substrate-related pests and diseases.
What is aeroponics and what is aero-hydroponics?
Have you ever seen growing systems that mist the solution at the root level in a fog? These are aeroponic systems, a technique where water is delivered to the roots as a high-pressure fog. This technique is not often used in its pure form. Although some companies like to call their systems “aeroponic” systems, you will generally find them only in research laboratories and universities. Aeroponics has its advantages and inconveniences. It saturates the nutritive solution with oxygen, which gives the plant’s roots the healthiest of environments. Its most interesting application is plant propagation. But if you want to keep the crop all the way to maturity, you will notice that the root zone will develop too fast and too much, at the expense of the aerial portion of the plant. This is not what we are generally looking for except in the case of root crops. Even then, it is not always practical because the roots often stay soft from being immersed in water, and won’t offer the firm characteristics needed, like in the case of licorice root.
“ EGS” (Ein Gedi System)
Aero-hydroponics is an adaptation of aeroponics. It really started in the mid 80s in California, where Lawrence Brooke of General Hydroponics decided to bring aero-hydroponics into the mainstream market. He started with the “EGS” (Ein Gedi System), a unit invented at the University of Davis in California, which was used essentially to study the content of oxygen in water, and transformed it into one of the best propagation systems around. This unit will spew out mist to the roots, not in the form of a fog system, but rather as a “vortex” spray. Today there are loads of aero-hydroponic growing systems on the market, some very efficient, some less, depending on the experience and the know-how of the manufacturer. You can even build your own with a little help from the many magazines and books found in hydro shops. In aero-hydroponics water fills with oxygen through different methods: spray, injection and cascade. It relies on a pump that pushes water through different sprayers and irrigation tubing, and falls back down into the reservoir. A well-conceived aero hydroponic system must offer a good balance among its different components, and proper ratios between the different flows of water and the shapes of its different components (tubes, reservoirs, sprayers and irrigation devices).
leaving water as the only substrate. Once this is said and done. drain correctly and stay neutral so that it does not interfere with the plant’s
development. This is why it is often recommended that a beginner start with substrate systems and switch to aerohydroponic systems once they have acquired a little more experience. it is not the system nor the fertilizer alone.
“Substrate must hold water.
Other articles by Noucetta Kehdi
Hydroponics and Medicinal Plants
Hydroponics gardening resources by Maximum Yield.com/article_sh_db. with special kits that allow you to switch from one substrate machine to a machine that doesn’t require substrate. Melchior played with it for a few months and was definitely persuaded. Last year. They use only plant supports in the shape of coconut pots. He or she must ensure a well-balanced and comprehensive nutritive solution. if you wish. and was quite happy with it. And don’t forget that. humidity and accidents. the substrate surrounds the root zone completely. and with any other growing technique. but the gardener who ensures the plant of a healthy development. a correct level of EC and pH. uniform and harmonized. as soon as you feel more confident. I had the good fortune.Indoor Gardening
Both aeroponics and aero-hydroponics need little or no substrate. His plants looked perfect. good ventilation. and the pleasure.9/29/2010
Maximum Yield . Let’s see what we can accomplish with aeroponics and aero-hydroponics. To safely eliminate the traditional substrates. Well oxygenated water is presented to the roots and drainage is ideal. humidity and cleanliness. not really. plastic net-pots or just neoprene rings. And they will guarantee fast and free technical advice and follow up with their customers. Just follow the instructions that come with your growing unit. His greatest accomplishments are the excellent yields he achieved. With aeroponics and aero-hydroponics you have eliminated the most gruesome problems of substrates. and thus protects it from environmental variations like temperature. oxygen and nutrient supply. and a neutral environment.
maximumyield. the rest is in the hands of the grower. an Australian friend of his left him with a small aero-hydroponic system. whichever technique you choose. from High Five in Holland. as you would generally do for any plant. and the fact that he was ridden from substrate and all the hassles related to it.
You can even choose aero-hydroponics as a beginner. Some manufacturers will offer “dual” growing units. but you may wonder if you have switched to others that are just as difficult to address? No. which means that contrary to water where parts of your roots hang bare in the air. to meet Melchior. In aeroponics and aero-hydroponics these are the basics. A few weeks ago in Berlin.” The advantage of the substrate is its buffering capacity. temperature. His harvest was great—much better than any other he had in years. a free how-to hydroponics gardening and indoor gardening bi-monthly magazine that is distributed internationally through stores that retail hydroponics gardening products. he used the traditional rockwool and drip system. As most Dutch growers.php?a…
. You must also ensure there is good aeration. you must ensure water is available to the plant. and you’ll see how simple it is.