FarmingSustainability

Hydroponics: The Basics Explained

Truly a wonder of modern science, hydroponic gardens now produce a bountiful harvest. Fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers in places never before able to sustain growth. Hydroponics also know as soil-less farming or Earth friendly gardening or water gardening.

This is why it’ll be extremely vital for us in the future and here’s what you need to know.

Anatomy of soil farming

In nature, fire and water act together to recharge the soil with nutrients. When Forest burns, wood is turned to ash. Wood ash is rich in potassium, one of the plant kingdom’s fundamental foods. When the rain comes, lifeless leaves and fallen branches are helped along their path to decay.

Animal and insects hasten this process through their consumption of the plant. Material and excretion of organic wastes which filter down into the soil below. The organic matter in the soil is biologically decomposed into the basic nutrient salts that plants feed on. The falling rains once again help in dissolving these salts, making them available for plants to absorb through their roots. For a plant to receive a well-balanced diet, everything in nature must be in perfect harmony. 

Forest must burn, animals must eat, rains must come, the wood must rot and microbes in the soil must be present and ready to go to work. 

Such botanical conditions are very rare to see.

What Is Hydroponics?

In a hydroponics garden, this nutrient solution can be circulated around the roots by either the passive force of gravity or by the active force of a pump. Some system bathes the roots in nutrients solution and use an air pump to oxygenate the solution from below, this helps to prevent stagnation and provides roots with much-needed oxygen.

In plants, water provides turgor pressure on cell walls to keep leaves from wilting and it transport nutrition. Energy is stored in the form of dissolved salts and sugars throughout the plant.

Hydroponics
Hydroponics

Why Should We Adapt Hydroponics?

As we adapt to overcome the environmental stress plants also do. They bring in changes in their seed which further affects the plant. The stress may cause the plant to reduce the oils responsible for its savoury taste. Thus hydroponics allows us to maintain the quality of the plant.

Growing Strawberries With Hydroponics
Growing Strawberries With Hydroponics

The hydroponic system delivers water and nutrients directly to the plants. You can grow crops closer together without starving each other and healthier plants also contribute to higher yields.

Hydroponics reduces the use of various resources.
It reduces the use of various resources.

By growing crops in clean and ideal conditions, hydroponics saves the costs of soil preparation, insecticides, fungicides and losses due to drought and ground flooding. 

Growing plants in soil, plants expend a tremendous amount of energy. Developing a large root system to search for moisture and nutrients. Roots are directly bathed or sprayed with nutrients dissolved water in hydroponics. So the energy finds redirection into the production of foliage, flower, fruits and vegetables.

Planting hydroponics

Plants grown hydroponically are healthier because they receive a well-balanced diet.

NASA and Hydroponics

The science of hydroponics began with experiments to determine the elementary composition of plants. These experiments are from an early age, early as 1600 A.D.

The hanging garden of Babylon and the floating gardens of the Mexican Aztecs are both examples of early hydroponic gardening.

Dr W.F Gericke coined the word “hydroponics” in 1936 to describe the cultivation of both edible and ornamental plants in a solution of water and dissolved nutrients.

Hydroponics is NASA’s solution to providing space travellers with a self-sufficient food source. The administration has sponsored a research program titled Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) in order to further develop the technology and carry it into the future.

You can now potentially grow plants in space.

Article by,

Haroshit Tandon, admin

Student, NIFTEM

Also, if you have interests in learning about Aeroponics and aquaponics , do check our article.

Reference – How to hydropnics by Keith Robert

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