An Introduction to Hydroponic Systems
Hydroponics is the process of plant cultivation without the use of natural living soils. It is used because soils are inconsistent from place to place and time to time, and because they can contain microorganisms and insects that are harmful to plants. In order to achieve maximal growth rates - a grower or farmer must be able to control moisture, air, temperature, and nutrients in the root zone, and hydroponic systems function as tools for high precision root zone management.
The advantage of Hydroponics at home is that Hydroponic systems operate in the most efficient way for a grower. They may employ a simple fertiliser solution wherein the roots sit or flow, or they may include aggregates and substrate media (soilless cultivation) that anchor plant roots and provide oxygen from pores. Regardless of the Hydroponic system, research has shown that crops grown hydroponically have a higher phytochemical and nutritive content than conventionally grown crops.
- If you’re using a Hydroponic System at home, you can grow more plants per square foot than in a garden because roots are directly fed in the Hydroponic system; therefore there is no competition for root space. As a result, you can get higher yields per square foot, per unit of time.
- Plants in a Hydroponic system will grow faster because they will be getting all the nutrients they need and in the proper proportions.
- Root systems of plants in Hydroponic systems stay smaller, so each plant can concentrate its energy on producing plant mass, rather than roots.
Between commercially manufactured and homemade hydroponic systems, the equipment can be configured in many different ways, but most hydroponic systems used to grow food crops fall into two main camps: those that do include a solid growing medium (also known as substrate hydro systems) in place of soil, and those that do not (also known as liquid hydro systems).