Updated: Aug 19, 2019
“Hydroponics” or Soil-less farming is a revolutionary innovation in the field of agriculture.
Hydroponics: Soil-less Farming
“Hydroponics” or Soil-less farming is a revolutionary innovation in the field of agriculture. The hydroponics, mean a method of growing plants without soil, in mineral solution packed with nutrients. Soil-less farming uses less space, where plants’ growth rate is higher, relatively eco-friendly and consumes less water, as compared to the conventional soil based farming.
Types of hydroponics Systems: There are 6 basic types of hydroponic systems:
Deepwater culture system (DWC) or Reservoir method: It is the most basic system, where in a nutrient-filled water container, the plant floats on top of it, with roots suspended in the solution. An air pump constantly oxygenates the water. The light must not penetrate the system, as it causes algae to grow.
DWC systems are excellent for growing leafy greens.
Wick System: It is one of the easiest and lowest costing methods of hydroponics. The nutrient solution is drawn into the growing medium from the reservoir with a wick. It is recommended to use medium such as perlite or vermiculite. Avoid mediums which absorb more water. The drawback of the system is that plants with more absorbing capacity use up all the nutrient solution quicker than the wick can resupply it.
Nutrient Film Technique ( NFT) : In this system a nonstop flow of nutrient solution run over the plant roots. This type of solution is on a slight tilt, so that the nutrient solution will flow with the force of gravity. There is usually no growing medium used other than air, which saves the expense of replacing the growing medium after every crop.
However, NFT is susceptible to pump failure and power cuts.
Aeroponics: It is a complicated type of hydroponics, where air is the growing medium. In this method the roots hang in the air and are misted with a nutrient solution on regular intervals. Either a fine spray nozzle is used to mist the roots or a pond fogger is done.EBB & Flow: This type of system functions by flooding the grow tray with the nutrient solution temporarily, which then slowly drains back into the reservoir. The pump is hooked to a timer, so the process repeats itself at specific intervals. It is a versatile system and can be used with many types of growing mediums. However, vulnerable to power outages, pump failure and time failure.Drip System( Recovery & Non-recovery system): A drip system works by providing a slow supply of nutrient solution to the hydroponics medium.
In a Recovery Drip System, the excess nutrient solution that runs off is gathered back to the reservoir for re-use. However, there can be substantial shifts in the nutrient strength and pH levels and requires periodic adjustments.
In Non-Recovery System the runoff is not collected. Thus, it requires less maintenance, since the excess nutrient solution is not recycled back into the reservoir; so the nutrient strength and the pH will not vary.
Author Note: The author has hands on experience in farming and is astonished to practice the soil-less farming. The author feels an ethical duty to put forward this methodology of soil-less cultivation into words, which will surely benefit the mankind, in near future.
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Summary: Soil-less farming is opening doors for new prospects, to feed an increasingly urban, rising worldwide population. With few limitations, it has many advantages, which makes hydroponics a boon in the field of agriculture.
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