What is Hydroponics?
What is Hydroponics? The word Hydroponics meaning soilless cultivation comes from the Greek words hydro meaning water and ponos, meaning labour. This is the method of growing plants in a nutrient solution rather than the traditional method of cultivating plants in soil. Hydroponics isn’t such a new science; it has been around for over 70 years.
After understand what hydroponics is, it is relatively easy to set up a hydroponic grow room due to the many hydroponic systems being available through the large number of Hydroponic retail stores which are opening at an ever increasing rate worldwide. It is very easy to acquire the right equipment along with the right advice.
The first thing any indoor hydroponic grow room needs is a lighting solution to replace the sun’s rays. Growers must consider the need for the right spectrum of light which is essential as not all light bulbs have the correct blue and red spectrum. The most common hydroponics light solutions used in the hydroponic industry are High Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide and Fluorescent light bulbs and with breakthroughs in recent technology, L.E.D. bulbs have been found to be effective too.
These lighting solutions provide the plant with the correct frequency of light allowing the plant to turn the light into energy enabling the plant to grow and flower healthily.
To replace the soil grow media is used. There are 3 major brands who supply this in the UK and they are provided by Green Spirit. Canna Coco is an example which consists of 100% coco flakes, fantastic for growing plants quickly.
The next thing needed is a hydroponic grow system; the choice is varied as there are many hydroponic grow systems available:
• The simple but effective N.F.T. system (Nutrient Film Technique) which has been around for many years
• The more elaborate Flood and Drain Systems which has proved to be very successful with many seasoned and new hydroponic gardeners
• Dripper Systems in a variety of styles
• The latest and most recently available very effective Aeroponic systems which sprays nutrient solution directly onto the plants roots.
All of these systems which work on the same principle, and can be housed in a Hydroponics grow tent. They all provide the plant roots with a solution containing the correct E.C. (Electrical conductivity which is a measurement of the nutrients diluted within the water) and the correct pH (potential of Hydrogen or simply pH meaning the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity). These 2 factors which are of upmost importance, provided at the correct ratios, give the plant all that is needed at the root zone for healthy growth and bloom.
An important factor for successful growth is the environment that the plant lives in. Sometimes this factor is overlooked by novice growers. In Air containing sufficient amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), the plant is able to take in the carbon dioxide and use the sunlight available to enable the action of photosynthesis. So Fresh Carbon Dioxide rich air is essential for healthy growth.
To replicate nature, ventilation systems are utilised within the hydroponics growing environment to move the stale Carbon dioxide depleted air from the grow room and to replace it with new fresh carbon dioxide rich air. Also available to the hydroponic gardener is equipment to raise levels of carbon dioxide within the grow room (or green house) by methods of carbon dioxide. This solution would contain gas bottles injecting CO2 into the air surrounding the plants giving perfect growing conditions for plants to live and thrive in.
These main factors when carefully implemented and maintained will give plants a healthy life resulting in larger yields than the old fashion traditional methods. Of course this is the aim of any gardener be they serious or novice growers and regardless of the fruit, vegetable, herb or flower he or she chooses to cultivate.