Hydroponic Farming – A Soil-Free Cultivation Option
Hydroponic farming, which is the process of growing plants without soil, was first adopted in the early nineteenth century, and since then the practice has become hugely popular among commercial growers and home gardeners. Almost all varieties of fruits and vegetables can be grown hydroponically in your gardens.
Hydroponic Farming – The Growth Requirements
For performing hydroponic farming, you will require rock wool, pottery shards, glass marbles, porous, inert clay pellets, coir, perlite, vermiculite, sand, gravel and polystyrene packing peanuts, for preparing the growth medium. Hydroponic nutrient solutions which are formulated by artificially measuring the nutrients are the key nutrient irrigation system for the plants. Static solution culture and continuous flow system are the two popular types of hydroponic farming. All the common vegetables and fruits that grow best in the soil also grow best in hydroponic cultivation. In fact, they grow rapidly in medium based agriculture, as compared with soil agriculture as the nutritive value of a formulated medium tends to be higher.
Hydroponic Growing – The Advantages
The main advantage of hydroponic growing is the rate of plant growth. As the root system is well organized in the medium which is rich in nutrients, they grow fast in this method of cultivation. As the humidity, temperature, light, and other basic requirements of the plants are artificially maintained, there are no seasonal vegetables and fruits. The size of plants and their products is comparatively larger when compared to the typical soil grown plants. The vegetables are grown both by active and passive systems. An active system is complex and requires pumps, and other similar devices to conduct nutrient solution to the plants. Passive hydroponic growing, which can be tried out by beginners is expensive and requires a growing medium or vermiculite for retaining the moisture.
Hydroponic Plants – Feeding Them
For the first ten days after setting up the hydroponics system, supply the plants 400ppm of nutrients and quarter spoon of Epsom salt on a daily basis. At the seedling stage, feed them 600 ppm, 16-16-16 parts of the nutrients. And, at the plant stage supply them with 800 ppm, 3-20-20 parts of nutrients and quarter teaspoon full of Epsom salt. And, in the last ten to fourteen days before the harvest feed the plant only clear water and flush the garden with water so as to remove excess nutrient salts from the plants and to enhance the aroma of the produce. All these specifications are approximate values and the amount will vary depending upon the size of the hydroponic plants and hydroponic garden.