“Hydroponics” term is derived from Greek words “hydro’’ meaning water and “ponos’’ meaning labour. Hence, working water is its raw meaning. Technically we can say that “Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil’’.
But why we are calling this future of farming? How is it going to help our farmers? Well, to answer such questions let us go through some winning key points of hydroponics over traditional soil farming.
- 1 Benefits Of Hydroponics:
- 2 Types of Hydroponics System
Benefits Of Hydroponics:
- No Soils Needed
The most significant advantage of this technique is that the crops can be grown where the land is limited or is heavily contaminated.
- Low water requirement
This soil less method uses only 10% of water in comparison to soil agriculture.
- Effective use of nutrients
All the essential nutrients required by the plants for their growth are mixed with water and directly applied to their roots. Hence, they can be readily utilized by the plants.
- Less soil related problems
All the weeds and vulnerable soil-borne pests and diseases are eliminated in a hydroponic system.
- Controlled environment
Growers can take control of the surrounding environment and can bestow with the ideal conditions that plant requires optimum temperature, light, humidity, pH, etc.
Better growth rate
With a sufficient amount of nutrients and controlled conditions, the growth of a hydroponic plant is twice as that of soil-grown species.
- High Yield
Higher yields are possible in a disease-free and well-controlled environment.
Types of Hydroponics System
There are six types of hydroponic systems. These systems can either be active or passive in nature. If the nutrient solution is moved usually by a pump, then it is considered an active system. The passive system contains a wick which helps the nutrients to flow to the plant roots.
- Wick system:
As the name suggests, this system consists of a wick by which the nutrients are drawn into the growing medium from the reservoir.
- Water culture:
It is the purest type of active recovery system. It contains a platform made up of styrofoam which holds the plant upright. An air pump is used to supply oxygen to the roots of the plants.
- Ebb and flow:
This system usually consists of a pump connected to a timer which is used to pull the nutrients in the grow tray periodically and then drain the solution back into the reservoir.
- Drip System:
In this system, a small drip line is placed near the base of each plant by which the nutrient solution is drawn using a submerged pump which is controlled by a timer.
- Nutrient film technique(NFT):
It works by continuously flowing nutrient solution into the grow tray. Hence, it doesn’t need a timer. The nutrient solution flows through the roots of the plants and then drains back into the reservoir. Usually, this system doesn’t use any growing medium except air.
This is probably the most advanced system among all. It doesn’t require any growing medium as the roots hanging in the air. The roots are misted continuously using a nutrient pump which is controlled by a timer.
Growing media in Hydroponics
There are various types of growing media available around us. Some of the common growing media are
- Coconut Coir
- Expanded clay pellets
What To Grow In A Hydroponic System?
The plants that are best grown in a hydroponic system are
- Vegetables: lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, beans
- Herbs: basil, mint oregano, chive
- Fruits: strawberries, hot peppers
The plants which are quite harder to grow in hydroponics are
- Deep-rooted crops: carrots, potatoes, turnips
- Space craving plants: pumpkins, melons, squash
By- Somya Sharma, B.Sc- Agricultural Sciences