Monthly Archives: October 2015

Why Use Hydroponic Systems?

HydroponicsMany people are attracted to the use of hydroponic systems to grow fresh herbs and vegetables in smaller spaces. There are even greenhouses and nurseries that grow their plants in a special growing mix and feed them through the water supply. More and more people understand the necessity of finding sustainable methods of growing our food, methods with a minimal impact on the environment, solutions to feed the growing population of this planet. If we ignore the warnings sent by our planet, we are soon going to see our most valuable resource depleted, so your children may never be able to enjoy the world as we know it. Permaculture, hydroponics and alternative energy production sources are in the attention of scientists from all over the world.

There are multiple reasons why people prefer hydroponic systems to traditional ones. One of these reasons is the lack of fertile farmland. Additionally, another reason, as good as the first one, is the lack of large water supplies. If you can’t cultivate and water a garden properly, you won’t harvest too many goodies, so you should make sure you find the technique that works best for your specific situation. Just think about people who are too old or too weak to cultivate and maintain a garden. They are doomed to a poor nutrition, as there’s nobody to help them grow their food as they once used to. These people could do fine with maintaining a hydroponic system to supply them with fresh vegetables. Thanks to modern technology, automation is possible and relatively affordable. Back in the 80s, it was even hard to imagine a wireless phone or a remote control, not to mention other technology wonders we take today for granted.

For hobbyists or home gardeners, soilless gardening is a much better solution than traditional gardening. In a hydroponic system the plants grow in a sterile environment, so weeding isn’t necessary. Moreover, there are no pests to attack the crops, so you can make sure you are going to harvest healthy foods. If you do your hydroponics gardening right, your plants are going to be healthier and more vigorous than the ones grown by traditional methods. This is possible because you can easily control that the plants get the right amount of nutrients needed for their optimal development. In nature, things aren’t always like this, so plants may suffer and even die. Gardeners can’t control nature. They can love and cherish their plants, but they are powerless in front of the unleashed elements. A summer storm can bring a true disaster. This never occurs in hydroponic systems.

Another beauty of such systems is the possibility of automating them with timers and remote monitoring. You can program your system to maintain the exact plant growth requirements without the need for your intervention. This also means you have the freedom to take a longer time off your garden without fearing your plants are going to suffer. Automatic systems are going to keep on feeding them with or without you around.

hydroponics green vegetable in farmIn terms of cost effectiveness, hydroponics wins again. Such techniques allow the application of water and nutrients directly to the roots of each plant. This eliminates waste, as you are only going to use the precise amount of substance needed and not more. Moreover, water is reused, so there’s no waste. Besides, the evaporation is also reduced. This enables a much better sustainability than in case of traditional agriculture or gardening, where water is wasted a lot through evaporation or field run-off. It is true that you can’t organize extremely large hydroponic systems. However, thanks to their excellent productivity, such systems may enable you collect more than one harvest per year, thus making them worthwhile.

There’s another benefit of hydroponic gardens. It is their accessibility. Unlike real land, these gardens can be set wherever you need. They can be close to markets, thus cutting the transportation costs and reducing the waste caused by long transportation times. Moreover, you can place these gardens where you have some space available, even if it is in the desert. you won’t need any natural resources, so you can grow healthy plants in the most arid areas without any problem. This could be a very good idea for supplying remote communities with fresh fruits and vegetables instead of importing such produce from far away places. There’s a lot of food waste caused by long storage time, so the sooner we can bring the goods on the market, the better it is for everyone, from producers to distributors, retailers and consumers. This is a simple way of supplying people living in arid areas the fresh food they need to be healthy and to provide their body the essential nutrients.

Starting a small hydroponic garden is relatively simple and fairly inexpensive. Almost everyone can try it on a small scale in the beginning, and expand it after they see how it works. There’s information widely available everywhere on the web, so if you want to give it a try, all you need to do is find a good guide, read it and follow through. Even if you only grow some herbs you use in your cooking to start with, it is still something. A small success today could mean a greater motivation to scale your garden to the extent where you are going to be able to feed your whole family with fresh vegetables all year round.

Hydroponics Facts And Demystifying The Myths

cucumber plantBefore looking at the different purported myths about hydroponics systems, it is essential that you first of all understand what a hydroponics system is and what it is all about. A hydroponics system is a system that allows gardeners to grow and cultivate plants without using soil. The name quite literally means working water and comes with plenty of benefits to the user considering that it easily eliminated the problems that are synonymous with traditional gardening.

Often, these systems are associated with the cultivation of vegetables. However, they can be used to grow all types of plants, including ornamental bloomers and flowers. Considering that these systems do not use any soil, plants that are grown hydroponically never experience most of the issues soil-grown plants experience like infestation by pests that thrive in the soil, poor drainage or salt build up. At the same time, these systems provide gardeners with environments that they can grow specific plants that would have otherwise not grown under their normal conditions.

The great thing about hydroponic systems is that the user is given the power to carefully control the environment in which they plant their produce. With such a system, gardeners are able to grow plants in and out of season allowing them to enjoy flower and vegetable yields all year round. At the same time, you can easily eliminate temperature and lighting issues by regulating these aspects to your specific liking.

Basically, there are 6 types of hydroponics systems. These include:

1. The Wick System – This is the simplest hydroponic system there is. It is a passive system; meaning there are literally no moving parts. A nutrient solutions is placed in a reservoir where it is drawn using a wick into the growing medium.

2. The Water Culture System – Of all active hydroponic systems available, the water culture system is by far the simplest. It is made up of a Styrofoam platform which holds the plants directly above the nutrient solution. Air is supplied using an air pump. The bubbles created push the nutrients and supply oxygen to the plant’s roots.

3. The Ebb & Flow System – This hydroponics system works through temporarily flooding the grow-tray with the nutrient solution before draining the solution back to the reservoir. The system usually employs a timed pump submerged in the reservoir.

4. The Drip System – Drip hydroponic systems are probably the most commonly and widely used hydroponic systems. Basically, these systems use a timed pump that is submerged in a nutrient solution in the reservoir, the timer pumps small amounts of the nutrient on to the growing medium up top providing the nutrients required.

5. The Nutrient Film Technique System – This system features a constant flow of nutrients to the roots of the plants via the nutrient solution that is pumped on to the grow tray and slowly flows to the other end where it drains back into the reservoir.

6. Aeroponic System – This system is without a doubt one of the most high-tech hydroponics system you will find out there. Like the NFT, plants in this system basically hang in the air but unlike the NFT system where the nutrients flow past the roots, in this option the roots receive the nutrients via a mist of the nutrient solution created by a timed pump that is submerged in the water.

tomatoes in a greenhouseThere always has been a lot of controversy and myth surrounding hydroponics systems. However, most of these myths are misconstrued perceptions about these systems. This article will now be looking at demystifying some of these myths allowing you to better understand this systems, what they really are and how they truly are.

Myth #1: Hydroponics Systems are a New Technology

Nope! The interesting thing is that this technology has been around since the days of the Pharaohs of Egypt who enjoyed vegetables and fruits grown using this system. Ever heard of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? There is reason to believe that these were actually hydroponic gardens. As such, hydroponics systems are not that new, but just a bit different.

Myth #2: Hydroponics are Unnatural and Artificial

Plant growth in a hydroponics system is very much natural and real. All that a plant requires to grow are the basic things, and these are light, water, air and nutrients; things that a hydroponics system supplies to the plant when it needs it. There are no genetic mutations taking place within the equipment nor are there mysterious chemicals being added or introduced to the plants.

Myth #3: Hydroponics is Bad for the Environment

Not true. As a matter of fact, hydroponics is safer and kinder to the environment than most cultivation options available like traditional gardening approaches. For instance, a hydroponics system uses about 70% to 90% lesser water than traditional gardening approaches. At the same time, any chemicals used within the system like fertilizers are held within the system. There are no runoffs meaning that chances of water pollution are lower.

Myth #4: Hydroponics are Too Expensive

This is another lie that you should not believe. Yes, there are things that you will need to buy and things that you will need to get to upgrade your system as you grow and expand. But, most of these expenses are a onetime cost. At the same time, most of the things required are not that expensive and you would be surprised that you could create a thriving hydroponics garden using a sizeable budget.

There are many more myths that accompany the use of hydroponics. However, it is important to note that most of them, if not all of them, are never true. If you are a person that is in to gardening, this is one gardening option that you should consider trying out.