Most of the readers of this post might not be familiar with hydroponics. The term hydroponics was coined in 1937 by Gericke after he grew tomato vines in his backyard in a solution of nutrient without using soil. It is a subset of soilless culture which is a technique of growing plants without using soil. It is the use of nutrient solution which differentiates hydroponics from other soilless culture techniques.
Till now, following six hydroponics methods have been developed:
- Water culture: It is the simplest and least expensive method of hydroponics. A platform made up of Styrofoam holds plants. The nutrient solution is kept directly below the platform. This system consists of an air pump and an airstone. When air is supplied to the airstone; the airstone in addition to supplying oxygen to the roots also creates bubbles of nutrient solution.
- Wink system: This method of hydroponics makes use of capillary action to supply nutrient to the root. This system comprises of wicks, a reservoir and growing medium. Perlite, ProMixs, coconut fibre and vermiculite are the most popular growing mediums used in the wick system. Nutrient solution to the growing medium is supplied through wicks using capillary action.
- Flood and Drain method: This system consists of a timer controlled pump submerged in the reservoir, and a grow tray. The pump is used to flood the grow tray with nutrient solution and then drain it by drawing the nutrient solution back into the reservoir. In this system, it is required to use growing mediums which can retain more water. Coconut fibre, Rockwool, Vermiculite are the most suitable for this method.
- Drip system: Like Flood and drain method, drip system also consists of a grow tray and a timer controlled pump submerged in reservoir. The pump is turned on by the timer and nutrient solution is supplied to grow tray using drip lines. Recovery and non-recovery are the two types of drip system. In recovery drip system, the excess solution is reused. In the non-recovery drip system, the excess nutrient solution runs-off.
- Nutrient Film Technique:F.T. system consists of a pump (without any timer) submerged in the reservoir. This pump continually pumps the nutrient solution into the growing tray. This system uses air as growing medium. The solution flows over roots of plants without any interruption and then is drained back into the reservoir.
- Aeroponic: This system is quite similar to N.F.T. as it also uses air as growing medium. The root of a plant hangs in the air and is misted with nutrient solution. Roots being exposed to air are likely to get dried quickly. Therefore, misting is done for a few seconds after a few minutes using a timer controlled pump submerged in the reservoir.
Hydroponic Xpress and Aquaponics is the largest hydroponic shop, aquaponic warehouse and display centre in Perth where you can buy all hydroponic essentials at very affordable prices. Visit the website of Hydroponic Xpress to learn more about hydroponics.