An overview of what hydroponics is and how you can start growing
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants that does not use soil. Instead, plants grow in water with nutrients added directly to the water. It is a very efficient way to grow food because you don’t need as much space and you are able to make the most of your land or space using hydroponics techniques.
What is hydroponics and how does it work?
Most people have heard of hydroponics but don’t know what it is. Hydroponic gardening is a type of farming that is not done in the soil but rather in water with nutrients. It is an efficient way to grow plants because you don’t need as much space and still produce more food than if you were doing this on land without using modern techniques like hydroponics. The roots are suspended above the water through rockwool or clay pot cassettes while their ends hang in the nutrient solution below them.
The most important thing about using hydroponics for your garden is how often you need to change your nutrient solution. You want to monitor the nutrients used so that the correct ones are filled when adding nutrient solutions.
What is the purpose of hydroponics?
It is an efficient way to grow food because hydroponics can produce more fruits and vegetables than traditional gardening in the same amount of time without using pesticides or chemicals. The most important thing for this to work for your garden is how often you need to change your nutrient solutions. There are many guides online that can help you figure out how many nutrients you need to add to the water.
The 7 types of hydroponics:
There are seven main types of hydroponics:
- Aeroponics – Uses an air pump that blows nutrient-laden fog bubbles over the hanging roots just below where they hang down to allow them to use oxygen without soil getting into their system and clogging them things (which aeroponics doesn’t have). It also doesn’t worry about the nematodes found in most soils when using conventional methods, although it might make some people nervous as the bacteria could.
- Aquaponics – Use aquariums filled with living bacteria to produce nitrates which convert ammonia in fish waste into plant food while feeding on the organic matter produced by feeding the plants in your garden. The advantage here is an automatic fertilizer made from fish waste.
- Drill systems – Wick systems use a wick system to transport water and nutrients from the reservoir from the bottom to the top through the potting soil, above the root zone of your plant. This can be especially useful for gardens with large spacing as you don’t need to keep adding more plants or pots if there isn’t room as this maximizes vertical space saving.
- Water culture systems – Water growing systems are what many people think of when they hear about hydroponics. It is a closed system with the roots suspended in water that is periodically flushed with air containing nutrients, which then drains to produce food for your plants. Water growing systems can be used on rooftops or balconies and as such provide freshly grown vegetables close to your place of residence so that they are not shipped from overseas. which contributes to pollution problems.
- Drip system – A drip system is a more complex version of water cultivation systems. The roots hang in rows that “sink” with a nutrient solution, and it is these drops or little streams that produce food for your plants rather than just being mixed in a large body of water.
- NFT system – NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique which uses a shallow water jet that continuously flows over the roots. The water jet creates a thin film of nutrients absorbed by the root system and provides oxygen to help maintain healthy plant growth.
- Ebb and Flow system – The ebb and flow system consists of a shallow tray with holes in the bottom, allowing water to be channeled into an adjoining tank. The reservoir then supplies the next row of trays with nutrient-rich hydrogen peroxide.
As your plants grow, they will eventually need to be harvested. There are different harvesting methods for hydroponics:
- Cut and return method – which is best used with leafy vegetables like lettuce or basil. The plant is cut at the base when ready to harvest to encourage new shoots to sprout from the remaining base.
- Suck – suckers (side shoots) are removed from the plant to promote new growth. This method is best used with root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes.
- Shot selection – The entire shoot, including the base and roots, can be harvested by cutting it off at ground level.
Hydroponics is a great way to grow plants. They are more efficient and healthier for the environment than traditional planting, which requires less land and water resources. With so many hydroponic gardening methods available depending on what works best for your needs, it can be difficult to know where to start or how much you need. If you are looking for advice with hydroponics in Australia, the best brand I have come across is Adelaide Organic Hydro for their unrivaled expertise and diverse product line.