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Agriculture is no more about soil and climate
Agriculture is extremely important for food production but in the present times when much of land is being converted into cities and buildings are cropping up everywhere, there is hardly any space for the production of food crops. In such a scenario, hydroponics is evolving as a much-required boon that can help in the production of different kinds of fruits and vegetables in a limited space.
Hydroponics in simple language can be defined as gardening without soil. In this new science, healthy plants are grown without using soil which is replaced by a water solution that is rich in minerals. The plant needs water, sunlight, and nutrients to grow but they can still grow without the presence of soil. In fact, they often grow better when the roots are inserted in water instead of soil.
Benefits of hydroponics
Hydroponics is fast evolving as a sustainable approach to farming without using traditional tools. It is being adopted by growers across the world with amazing results. Here are some of the benefits why you can also switch to hydroponics to grow your own vegetable garden.
- In the case of hydroponics, the plants have been observed to grow almost 50 times faster than the way they grow in soil. This is because the plants are receiving available nutrition more readily. Hydroponic Garden is capable of offering fresh produce throughout the year.
- It has been observed that plants growing in a hydroponic garden does not require pesticides for herbicides. This is a great improvement from the traditional methods of gardening because in most fruits and vegetables the presence of pesticides causes serious problems for the users.
- Hydroponics also saves water to a great extent. This is because the water that is used for the plants can be recycled and reused thus reducing the continuous need for fresh water supply. The water in the system is continuously recirculated. Plants use of the amount of water necessary for their growth while the extra water is captured and returned to the system. Water loss definitely occurs in two forms - evaporation and leakage. However, if the hydroponics setup is a table one then the chance of any leaks is minimized.
- Hydroponics is a workable solution to the problem of availability of arable land. As the reduction in gardening or agriculture remains continuous, hydroponics is a solution through which you can produce fruits and vegetables even in a tiny balcony.
- Climate control is another amazing thing about hydroponics. You can totally control the climate required for the growth of the plants. You have control over humidity, temperature, light intensity, and even the composition of the air. With this, you can actually grow food all through the year in any season. This allows you to continuously produce food and if you are using it for commercial purposes then maximize your business profits is a piece of cake. Hydroponics has the potential to solve a lot of problems regarding food crisis and production of food because being able to control the climate required for growth as well as the requirement of soil for plants is a huge benefit.
- Using the hydroponic system ensures that your garden is free from weeds and remains quite clean. Cleaning is quite a time-consuming thing for gardeners but in this case, since the soil is absent you need not be bothered about the weeks either.
How does the hydroponics farming system work?
Water is the most important thing in this type of farming. It is mixed with a lot of nutrients to form a balanced solution that helps in the growth of plants and a better yield. In place of soil, this system of agriculture uses inert mediums like clay pellets, peat moss, perlite, rock wool, etc. Hydroponics allows the plant roots to get access to the nutritional water and oxygen without the presence of soil. As a grower, you will be responsible for controlling the pH level and nutritional factor of the water which will help in the fast growth of your plants.
What does the nutrition solution of the water contain?
Plants in hydroponics are usually dependent on the nutritional solution that provides them with oxygen and nutrients. The nutrition solution can be easily bought from the market or created according to the plants that you are growing. The perfect mixture should contain certain primary nutrients like potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, as well as secondary nutrients like Phosphorus, Sulphur, and calcium. Certain micronutrients like magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, molybdenum, and boron will also be required. This essential solution has to be stored properly at room temperature in a container that is of food grade quality and definitely away from sunlight. Users will have to shake the bottle properly before putting them in the plants. If you are putting in too much of nutrition the leaves are likely to turn brown and burnt or even curled. In case they are receiving insufficient nutrients, the leaves are likely to turn yellow. This is a good indicator and helps you to monitor the amount of nutrients required by the plants.
What kind of plants should you grow using hydroponics?
Selecting plants for hydroponics needs to beat of consideration. You will have to pick vegetables that suit the hydroponic system more than the others. For instance, plants that can adapt to a bit of extra moisture and are not too big should be selected like cucumber, capsicum, strawberries, tomatoes, leafy greens, and lettuce. If you want to set up a hydroponic garden then you will have to understand what kinds of plants you want depending on the study, size, and possible development. If required then you will have to opt for a growth medium along with the nutrient solution. Leafy greens, for instance, grow quite well in the solution cultures while vegetables such as cucumbers and beets which have a deeper root system prefer growth media such as coconut husk, and even peat moss. Also, if you are planting fruiting and flowering plants then you will need sunlight exposure but leafy greens can grow quite well in the fluorescent lights that are normally placed above them.
Take away: Hydroponics offers complete freedom from the traditional agriculture system which is quite a welcome considering the space constraints of modern life. Personally as well as commercially you can do a lot with this new science.