Basics of Hydroponics
- Author Sonya Gilman
- Published December 27, 2011
- Word count 812
The word hydroponics comes from the Greek language – hydro meaning water and ponos meaning labor. Hydroponics is therefore a way of cultivating plants, by mixing mineral nutrients
In the 19th century, researchers, researchers discovered that plants imbibe essential minerals mixed in water, and that soil only acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir. It is therefore not essential for plant growth
The difference between hydroponics and a soilless culture is sometimes confusing. While soilless culture requires that no soil with clay or silt be used, hydroponics is a subset of the soilless culture – there is absolutely no role of soil in hydroponics.
The Benefits of Hydroponics
There are several benefits attributed to hydroponics, compared to the conventional way of cultivating plants. The supply of oxygen that is provided through the growing media is very good for healthy plant yields. Also as a result of receiving an adequate supply of oxygen, the plants roots are able to imbibe the nutrition supply more rapidly. Additionally, the plant roots do not have to extract the nutrient solution from soil, as this is mixed with water, and is supplied directly to them. No wonder that plants grown hydroponically, cultivate faster and thicker. It has been noted that the rate of plant yield is approximately 30 to 50 percent faster with hydroponics as compared to soil based cultivation.
It should be noted too that hydroponic plants find and break down food more easily, and require considerably less energy for this. The conserved energy leads to faster growth and significant yields. Additionally, since there is no requirement of soil, the risk of bug infections and other plant borne diseases is drastically reduced.
Growing Media used in Hydroponics.
A prominent ingredient used in most hydroponics systems is the growing medium. Examples of these include Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, and different types of sand. All of these generally work well with all Hydroponics systems. The main purpose of growing media is to supply oxygen and facilitate the passage of the nutrient solution to the rooting system of plants.
Of all the different growing media, Rockwool has gained in immense popularity, owing to the fact that it is able to retain a significantly larger amount of air and water than soil. It has a pH content of about 7.8, which leads gardeners to be a little cautious about using it, since this can also raise the level of pH in the nutrient solution.
The other growing media mentioned above (perlite, vermiculite, and sand) are comparatively more stable than Rockwool, in that they barely impact the pH level of the nutrient solution. The drawback associated with these growing media is that they tend to hold excess water, and can prove to be harmful to those plants that are sensitive to a high degree of moisture. On a better note though, these three media are relatively inexpensive in comparison to Rockwool.
The nutrition solution used in hydroponics includes all the ingredients that a plant would receive from soil. Most of the nutrients are rather concentrated, and are available at hydroponic supply stores in either liquid or powdered forms. Usually, two different containers come with them, one to be used for plant growth, and the other to be used when the plants have blossomed. The liquid form of nutrition solution is easier to use than it powdered counterpart, although, it is expensive in price. It mixes well in water and accumulates adequately into the reservoir. The powdered nutrients on the other hand are economical, but require more effort in dissolved well into water and the reservoir.
Hydroponic plants generally require a maximum range of pH of 6.3. The good news for gardeners it is much easier to gauge the range of pH in a hydroponic system than in soil. Additionally, there are pH testing kits available at relatively cheap prices at several hardware set stores.
It is imperative to check for the pH level in growing media, as too much or too little of it can adversely affect plant growth, rendering them unable to adequately take in their required amount of nutrition. It is advisable therefore, to check the pH level at least once a week, and to make any necessary adjustments to its level. If the level needs to be raised, one can use dissolvable potash, and if needs to be reduced, then phosphoric acid can be used
Welcome to Coast Hydroponics™. Whether you are a hydroponics enthusiast or a seasoned professional, you will find a great selection and unparalleled value in our hydroponics store. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you select the right growing lights, irrigation system and nutrients to ensure your success.
Browse our online store for values on individual products or choose one of our discounted complete kits. Coast Hydroponics is your smartest choice in hydroponics.
Our brick and mortar store is located at 1319 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, Ca 92054 come visit us!
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