HYDROPONICS It is believed that about 12,000 years ago during middle age, our hunter-gatherer ancestors started the cultivation of seeds. They first started cultivating the wild varieties of crops. Later the agricultural system slowly got developed. Thanks to our ancestors that we got to know about agriculture, which is known as the cultivation or growing of plants and animals. We know that most crops are grown in the land/field, they require soil for their germination, growth, and development. However, there are numerous hydrophones that grow on water. Such plants do not require soil for growing. But, we’ve seen that, if we ever place a terrestrial plant’s clipping into a glass of water, it develops roots, which shows that cultivation of crops is possible in the water. So why is it called Hydroponics? Hydroponics became popular in the 1920s, when a scientist named Dr. William Frederick Gericke of the University of California, put laboratory experiments in plant nutrition on a commercial scale. He popularized the idea that plants could be grown in a solution of nutrients and water instead of soil. He grew 25-foot tomato vines using only water and nutrients and decided to call this system of growing Hydroponics.
The word Hydroponics was derived from Greek words, ‘Hydro’, which means water, and ‘Ponos’, means labor, meaning water working. Thus, Hydroponics is the technic of growing plants in water without soil. How does it work? In order to grow, plants need water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and nutrients. In a traditional garden, plant roots have to seek out nutrients in the soil. In hydroponic gardens, nutrients are dissolved in the water that surrounds the roots, so plants have even easier access to the nutrition they need. The result? Plants tend to grow big and beautiful very quickly. It works by allowing minute control over environmental conditions like temperature and pH balance and maximized exposure to nutrients and water.
Hydroponics operates under a very simple principle: provide plants exactly what they need when they need it. Why Hydroponics?
Hydroponic plants produce the healthiest crop with high yield with extremely easy and less effort. As the nutrients are applied directly to the roots, the plants grow faster. It generally gives us a more hygienic product with fewer problems of diseases. A hydroponic system does not take much space unless we want it to, it just works anywhere. No wonder why it’s becoming more popular these days! Components of Hydroponics To operate a hydroponic system, requires few components to run it efficiently. Growing Medium Something that replaces soil for cultivation is a growing medium. Depending upon the type of hydroponic, there is the various growing medium. The most common mediums are Rock wool and expanded clay as they provide more advantages as compared to other mediums. The others include sand, gravel, bark, coconut fiber, vermiculite, polyurethane foam, as well as perlite.
Nutrient Solution, Reservoir, and Net Pots A nutrient solution holds all the essential nutrients required by plants, while the nutrient reservoir is where the solution is placed. Net pots are the planters that hold the hydroponic plants. Pumps and air stone plants that are submerged in water can quickly drown if the water is not sufficiently aerated. Air stones disperse tiny bubbles of dissolved oxygen throughout our nutrient solution reservoir. These bubbles also help evenly distribute the dissolved nutrients in the solution. It is highly recommended as it serves the purpose of adding oxygen into the nutrient solution. A pump serves the purpose of pumping water from the reservoir. Its key purpose is to oxygenate the water and prevent algae growth in the reservoir. Light supplies As hydroponics plants are grown indoors, they require lighting that closely resembles that of the sun.
Fluorescent lights are ideal for growing foliage plants, on the other hand, flowering plants and vegetables will require better lighting and thus the use of metal halide lights.
Article Credit: Swastika Regmi