Plants for normal growth need nutrition. Unfortunately, the soil is quickly depleted, if it is constantly used for the cultivation of crops. Soil cultivation of plants in depleted regions has been replaced by hydroponics. A few years ago, few people were interested in hydroponic systems, but now they are in great demand. They are used in large enterprises, in small private lands, and even at home.
What is hydroponic system
Hydroponics is a method of cultivating crops without soil. In Latin, the word "hydroponics" is translated as "working water." Depending on the type of system chosen, the cultures are located simply in the air, in the water or in the substrate. The substrate is a variety of materials (gravel, perlite, vermiculite, mineral wool, coconut fiber, etc.). From these fillers seedlings do not receive nutrition. The main task of the substrate is to keep the roots of the seedlings so that they do not fall and do not wash off with the solution when using the active system.
Hydroponic systems are artificially created conditions for growing greens, vegetables and berries without soil in special containers, substrates or on floating platforms.
Wick systemInteresting! Plants that are grown by the method of hydroponics, develop faster and give a better crop, if you provide them with proper care.
Vital elements, seedlings are obtained exclusively from water, which is enriched with fertilizers, before it is poured into the system. Different types of systems used in hydroponics, have their own characteristics of supplying the solution to plants, and the method of their cultivation.
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Hydroponic systems are only 6 species, but there are a lot of modifications based on them. On the type of system chosen, depends on the method of arrangement and the care of crops.
This is a passive version of the hydroponic system, which is also considered the most elementary. Saplings grow in a special substrate. For such a system, pearlite, coconut fiber, Pro-Mix are most often purchased. The liquid enters the substrate through the wick from a special reservoir and feeds the plant.
The main problem of this system is that large, adult cultures consume nutrients too quickly. But, if you control this moment, you can avoid a shortage of minerals.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) or Water Culture
Deep Water Culture (DWC) or Water Culture
This is a simple type of active hydroponic system. The basis for the location of seedlings is constructed from foam or similar material. The seedlings are placed on it, and it floats on the nutrient solution on the foam, feeding on water through the holes made in it. A special aerator oxygenates the solution.Interesting! Water culture is a system that is most often used in the cultivation of lettuce.
Such a system is very easy to do at home, for example, with the help of an aquarium and a compressor. However, only some crops can produce a large crop with such cultivation. And plants that grow high are not grown by this method at all.
Periodic flooding system
The hydroponic system of periodic flooding is usually settled in greenhouses of various sizes for the cultivation of virtually all types of crops. Its essence is that periodically the box where cultures are grown is flooded with nutrient solution, and then it is drained. For these manipulations, a timer pump is used.
Periodic flooding system
The timer is set so that the solution is poured and drained several times a day. Different types of substrates are suitable for this system (expanded clay, gravel), but preferably not light, like perlite, otherwise it will be washed out with water.
The main problem is that the system depends on electricity. If the electricity is turned off, seedlings can be left without moisture for a long time. In the case where gravel is used, perlite, which is poorly retained by water, the roots dry and the plants die.
This type of hydroponics is the most popular. The system has a timer that controls the submerged pump. Upon its inclusion, the element-enriched solution drips into the root zone of all seedlings.
Drip systems are available in reverse and non-reverse. In the reversion system, the remains of the life-giving solution, which are not absorbed by the culture, are returned to the container for reuse. But at the same time, you need to constantly monitor the pH level, water temperature, because the remaining liquid flows into a common container with a solution and can change its composition.
Technique of the nutrient layer (N.F.T.)
This type of hydroponic system works by means of a constant flow of hydroponic solution. Seedlings are usually grown simply in water, substrates are used extremely rarely. They are placed in special baskets or in a pipe, through which the solution flows, but the system is constructed so that the water touches only the roots, and not the surface part. Water flows non-stop, pouring into the pipes and flowing into a common container.
Technique of the nutrient layer (N.F.TImportant! The main drawback of the N.F.T. in that when the electricity is turned off, the water stops circulating and the roots begin to dry quickly.
This type of system is considered the most high-tech. The substrate for plants is air. Roots just hang in the air, and moisture is obtained from water mist dust made from nutrient solution. Humanization is carried out with a break of several minutes. A mist pump is controlled by a timer. Unfortunately, this system is also dependent on electricity.
Hydroponic systems for home
It is possible to grow plants using the hydroponics method even at home, and not only in greenhouses. A home system is usually made small, easy to maintain. Wick, drip systems, water culture - these are the types of hydroponic systems that are convenient to use in apartments.
To make a hydroponic system at home and use it for its intended purpose, you can buy all the components and just assemble. It will only be necessary to place the plants in this system and grow them. But if you wish, you can make home hydroponic systems yourself.
Hydroponic drip systemsInteresting! Caring for plants in hydroponics is much easier than for those that grow in the ground.
In the large plastic basin a hole is made for the drain and a tap is placed in it so that you can drain the water as needed. A large circle is cut out of foam plastic with a thickness of up to 5 cm. It is in the size of the pelvis, and holes are made in it for cups with seedlings. A lot of holes are made in the cups so that water can flow in, then the substrate is poured into them (preferably light perlite or something like that). After that, you can plant plants.
The nutrient solution changes as needed. To understand when to do this, the pH level is measured every day, the nutritional value of water is checked by means of an EU meter.
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In hydroponics, it is important to monitor not only the growth of plants, but also the way in which nutrients are supplied in quantities, the temperature of water, air, as well as the acidity of the nutrient solution. If the pH is not suitable for a particular culture, it will not be able to fully develop. Therefore, this indicator is measured daily and is adjusted as necessary.
AeroponicaInteresting! In hydroponics, chemicals are rarely used to kill pests, diseases, because the seedlings are isolated from the soil in which spores of fungi and eggs of pests inhabit.
To change the pH level, acidity regulators (pH-down or pH-up) are added to the aqueous solution — special substances that reduce or increase the acidity of water, respectively. They are sold in gardening stores, where there is fertilizer for hydroponics. Add them according to the instructions, in the right quantity. Most often they are sold as white powder or granules and dissolve well in water.
Fertilizers for hydroponic systems
Fertilizers for hydroponic systems, as well as soil ones, contain three main minerals necessary for plant development - nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. But besides that, fertilizers for hydroponics also contain a lot of important components necessary for crops. Since seedlings when grown in hydroponics do not receive elements from the soil, they must receive with the water the whole complex of important substances for growth. Therefore, such fertilizers have a richer and more concentrated composition.
Such fertilizers are mineral or organic. They are available in liquid and solid form, but are used exclusively for dissolving in water, which is used for irrigation.
Hydroponic systems allow you to grow healthy crops that produce a rich, healthy crop. This growing method can be difficult or simple, depending on the system chosen. But in order for it to meet expectations, it is necessary to study the specifics of working with hydroponics, use properly prepared nutrient solutions and control the microclimate in the room where the crop is grown.