Understanding Hydroponics

Hydroponic is a Latin-derived words, that roughly translates to ‘working water’; in other words, it is the art of plant growth without the use of soil. There are numerous different types of hydroponic gardening used around the world, with the most popular method being NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). As opposed to contemporary beliefs, hydroponic gardening is a lot easier to manage as compared to gardening involving soil. Using the hydroponic techniques, plants are grown in inert mediums such as soluble nutrient solutions of adequate pH levels. This channels the plant’s energy in to greater vegetative growth, instead of expending it on extracting the nutrients from soil. Faster, better growth and much greater yields are just some of the many reasons that hydroponics is being adapted around the world for commercial food production as well as a growing number of home, hobby gardeners.

Another stereotype regarding hydroponic gardening is that it is beyond complicated; it can be but it doesn’t really have to be. Hydroponics can be incredibly simple if you use the correct methodologies, such as using appropriate inert nutrient solutions in hand watered buckets or nursery pots. It requires no automation, growth lights or electricity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot alter the process by using newer technologies, but that is only limited to your imagination, experience and budget. For example, if you have enough resources, you can automate all your garden management and control it from miles away using your cell phones, laptops or other electronic devices. However, the average home hydroponic system is usually limited to only a few basic parts; a growing tray, a submersible water pump, a reservoir, a timer and an air pump and stone r oxygenate the nutrient solution. Artificial, and/or natural light is also provided.

Hydroponics is also used commercially to grow vegetables, fruits, pesticides, herbicides etc. Some of the produce is labeled as organic, while the rest isn’t; organic produce is sold at higher rates as compared to inorganic produce. Most hydroponically grown produce cannot be sold as organic due to the fact that they do not use soil as a growing medium. Another very efficient benefit of using hydroponics is the conservation of water; the same quantity of goods is produces using 1/20th the amount of water consumed on regular farms. Water usage and water returns are easier to measure and control in hydroponics, thus ensuring the stability of the water table and running off of chemicals into water bodies. Furthermore, this helps a farmer reduce production costs by restricting his usage of water, and controlling the effects of nearby land. Nowadays, with reduced pest problems and constant supply of nutrients, productivity is at an all time high. The only constraint is the limited supply of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which can also be catered by inducing artificial carbon dioxide into the green houses etc.

Hydroponic gardening has a highly bright future, provided the low maintenance and growth costs and high output yields. Therefore, it is a good time to invest both time and money into this fruitful prospect.

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