Hydroponics is a system of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of the traditional soil based growing systems where plants not only grow much faster in a nutrient rich environment but also in a cleaner and more productive environment than the soil garden. Plants can be grown in the solution or in a medium such as sand or perlite.
There are two types of new hydroponics systems commonly used; closed and open systems. For closed hydroponic systems, the mineral nutrient solution is re-circulated and the solution monitored closely. The hydroponic solution is monitored and analyzed weekly to ensure the nutrient solution has the optimal composition. The composition is adjusted according to the results of the analysis in case any changes are noted. For an open system, a fresh nutrient solution is used for every time the hydroponics plants are irrigated. This requires more attention from the hydroponic grower than the closed system.
Also, two main types of growth cultures are used in hydroponics; solution culture and medium culture. Solution culture uses a nutrient solution only that helps in the plants growth. The plants’ roots float in the solution for solution cultures. In medium cultures, a medium is used. Unlike soil, that stores nutrients and directly interacts with the plants, the medium used has little effect on the plants. Examples of medium used are sand, perlite, gravel or mineral wool. These give the roots something to anchor on to.
Most hydroponic systems include a hydroponic setup, lights and ventilation systems built in. with advancements in growth technology, growth closets can be used for hydroponics growing. They are self-contained units that offer the same benefits as a grow room.
Among the key issues with hydroponics systems is the monitoring of water. Water quality and content is paramount for effective plant growth and should be closely monitored. The plant nutrients should also be provided in their right concentrations and ratios.
Hydroponics leaves little room for errors and as such hydroponics growers should make accurate and educated decisions.