Hydroponics: Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil, and can include an aggregate substrate, or growing media, such as vermiculite, coconut coir, or perlite. Hydroponic production systems are used by small farmers, hobbyists, and commercial enterprises.
Types of Hydroponic Systems
- Ebb and Flow System: It requires a medium such as perlite to give stability. Water and mineral solutions are periodically pumped into the tray containing plants. Plants absorb the solution and the remaining solution drains back to the reservoir. This method is simple and used in home gardens. Herbs are grown by this method.
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT): No medium is required. Hydroponic plants are kept in wooden channels having a slope. The mineral solution is pumped to the high end of the channel and slope down water is collected and reused. Plants with large roots are grown by this method.
- Drip Systems: It is similar to ebb and flow but here water goes through smaller tubes and drain on top of plants. Small plants having less developed root systems are grown using this method.
- Wick Systems: This is a medium based system where perlite or rockwool is used. Nylon rope is placed at the base of each root which extends to the reservoir. It takes up minerals and water and releases it in the medium which makes it available for plants. It is an economical method of hydroponic farming because no pumps are required.
- Aeroponics: This is a water-based system similar to NFT and doesn’t require a medium. The mineral solution is sprayed onto the plants in the form of mist. This is difficult to set up but is beneficial in the large commercial setting.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC): In a container, the plant’s root is suspended in oxygenated water containing minerals. An air pump is used. This is an easy method and requires low maintenance.
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By Team Learning Mantras