What is hydroponics\
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil, by instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid, or the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates.
- By providing constant and readily available nutrition, hydroponics allows plants to grow up to 50% faster than they would in soil. Also, fresh produce can be harvested from a hydroponic garden throughout the year.
- Great for both the environment and the grown product, hydroponic gardening virtually eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides compared to traditional soil gardening.
- Any water that is used in hydroponic gardening stays in the system and can be reused, reducing the constant need for a fresh water supply!
- Arable land is often in short supply and gardening space continues to decrease. A great option when you lack yard space or have a tiny balcony, hydroponics also lends itself really well to indoor gardening.
The Nutrient Solution
Ready-to-use store bought solutions can be used for hydroponics nutrient systems or one can make one’s own special solutions for different types of crops based on the chemical elements the plants need most.
The right nutrient mix combines primary nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, magnesium), secondary nutrients (calcium, sulphur, phosphorus) and micronutrients ( iron, copper, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, boron). Here is a recipe for a basic nutrient solution that you can make yourself by diluting the nutrients in 20 litres of filtered water.
- 25 ml of CaNO3 (calcium nitrate)
- 1.7 ml of K2SO4 (potassium sulfate)
- 8.3 ml of KNO3 (potassium nitrate)
- 6.25 ml of KH2PO4 (monopotassium phosphate)
- 17.5 ml of MgSO4 (magnesium sulfate)
- 2 ml of trace elements
The nutrients the plants need are provided by the nutrient solution, and is what the growing media is watered and moistened with. Some of the most widely used growing media’s include Rockwool, Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (called, Hydrocorn or Grow Rock), Coconut Fiber/Coconut chips, and Perlite or Vermiculite
- Grow Rock (Hydrocorn)
- Coco Fiber
- Coco Chips
- Oasis Cubes
- Floral foam
- Growstone Hydroponic Substrate
- River rock
- Pine shavings
- Composted and aged Pine bark
- Poly (Polyurethane) foam insulation
- Water absorbing crystals (water-absorbing polymers)