Techniques of Hydroponics

What Are The Techniques of Hydroponics?

Before we can talk about techniques of hydroponics, we have to know about hydroponics generally and about its features and growing systems.

The hydroponics is a type of growing plants mainly for food, materials, comfort, and beauty

The hydroponics is a method of growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent.

How did hydroponics start?

The earliest published work on growing terrestrial plants without soil was the 1627 book Sylva Sylvarum or ‘A Natural History’ by Francis Bacon,

Water culture became a popular research technique after that. In 1699 John Woodward published his water culture experiments with spearmint.

He found that plants in less-pure water sources grew better than plants in distilled water. 

It quickly became a standard research and teaching technique and is still widely used. Solution culture is now considered a type of hydroponics where there is an inert medium.

Around the 1930s plant scientists investigated diseases of certain plants, and thereby, observed symptoms related to existing soil conditions. 

In this context, water culture experiments were undertaken with the hope of delivering similar symptoms under controlled conditions.

One of the earliest successes of hydroponics occurred on Wake Island, a rocky atoll in the Pacific Ocean used as a refueling stop for Pan American Airlines. 

What are the techniques of hydroponics?

There are a lot of ways to grow plants hydroponically, each one uses specific nutrients. 

Techniques:

  • Static solution culture technique
  • Continuous-flow solution culture technique
  • Aeroponics technique
  • Fogponics technique
  • Passive sub-irrigation technique
  • Ebb and flow (flood and drain) sub-irrigation technique
  • Run-to-waste technique
  • Deepwater culture technique 
  • Rotary technique

Read more: 10 Best Hydroponic Gardens and Kits

Read more: Aeroponics vs Passive Sub-Irrigation


Static Solution Culture Technique

One of the most popular techniques of hydroponics is Static solution culture which is considered the most basic technique and involves a plant with the roots growing into a nutrient solution with an air gap for oxygen.

If there is no gap for oxygen then you need to ariate then nutrient solution to keep the plant alive.

In static solution culture, plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution, such as glass Mason jars (typically, in-home applications), plastic buckets, tubs, or tanks.

The solution is usually gently aerated but may be un-aerated. If un-aerated, the solution level is kept low enough that enough roots are above the solution so they get adequate oxygen.

A hole is cut in the lid of the reservoir for each plant. There can be one to many plants per reservoir.

Reservoir size can be increased as plant size increases. A homemade system can be constructed from plastic food containers,

Or glass canning jars with aeration provided by an aquarium pump, aquarium airline tubing, and aquarium valves.

Clear containers are covered with aluminium foil, butcher paper, black plastic, or other material to exclude light, thus helping to eliminate the formation of algae.

The nutrient solution is changed either on a schedule, such as once per week, or when the concentration drops below a certain level as determined with an electrical conductivity meter.

Whenever the solution is depleted below a certain level, either water or fresh nutrient solution is added, A Mariotte’s bottle, or a float valve, can be used to automatically maintain the solution level.

In raft solution culture, plants are placed in a sheet of buoyant plastic that is floated on the surface of the nutrient solution.

Continuous-Flow Solution Culture Technique

Techniques of Hydroponics

Continuous flow hydroponics has a broad range of the hydroponic technique.

Generally, this method refers to a system where the nutrient solution continuously pumps over the root systems of the plants. Nutrient Film Technique is a good example of this method.

In this technique, the nutrient liquid provided for the plants constantly flows around the roots.

Continuous flow solution is a lot easier to mechanize when compared to static culture,

Why that?

Since adjustments and sampling to the varying temperature level and the concentration level can be done easily in a big reservoir that feeds potentially numerous plants.

A well-known alternative of this technique is the nutrient film technique.

That is by which a very low flow of water consisting of all the essential nutrients for the plant development is re-circulated around the uncovered roots of the plant in a waterproof solid root mat.

This root mat is developed at the base of the canal and has the upper surface almost damp and suspended in the air.

Consequently, there is an ample contribution of oxygen to the plant roots.

The correct canal slope along with the correct stream speed and the correct canal length can designate a proper nutrient film technique.

The biggest advantage of nutrient film technique is that the growth of the plant is uncovered to ample supply of water, nutrients and oxygen.

Another variety of creation brings in a deficiency and a divergence among the various supplements of nutrients and the requirements of essential elements resulting in a disproportion of the whole composition.

This design structure provides a great system for strong plant development and an effective cultivation system.

The consequence of this technique brings in high yield and exceptionally nutritious crops.

However, one must remember that while applying the nutrient film technique a little negligence or carelessness in the power outrage or any other 

Fogponics Technique

Another one of techniques of hydroponics is Fogponics or fog, and ponics (labor) which can be defined as working fog. In its simplest meaning, in fogponic system, growers use the fog to grow plants.

The fogponics system uses electric foggers to pump and vibrate under pressure to transform nutrient and water mix into humidity, like the humid atmosphere found in the rainforest.

This creates a constant humid and nutrient-rich fog for plant roots

With fogponics, the root system can have full coverage as the tiny droplet size of the gravity-defying fog can travel and penetrate all space around it.

Fogponics uses a suspension of nutrient-enriched water to deliver nutrients and oxygen to plant roots.

This is in contrast to geoponics and organogenic which use soil and organic materials as the primary source of nutrients (as well as the growth medium).

The difference between fogponics and other forms of aeroponics is that while aeroponics typically delivers nutrient rich water to the roots using a spray (relatively large particles in air),

Fogponics uses one of a number of mechanisms (for example ultrasonic, compressed air, or heating elements) to form a suspension of much smaller particles of water (5–30 μm), or even as a vapor.

What Are Fogponics Technique Benefits?

For optimal root growth in an aeroponic unit, the size of the average water droplet matters most:

If the average water droplet is too big, then not enough oxygen will be provided to plant roots.

If the average water droplet is too small, then plant roots will not receive the necessary nutrients to grow.

The sweet spot for water droplets dispensed from aeroponic misters or sprayers is between 30–100 microns. 

Water droplets below 30 microns say 5–25 microns, need to be dispensed at an extremely high density.

So then, this is where a fogponic system can thrive: using a sprayer to consistently provide solution droplets that are between 5–25 microns is impractical, but an ultrasonic nebulizer (fogger) is perfect for the job.

For these benefits of Fogponics Technique, this one techniques of hydroponics is good to start with.

Run-To-Waste Technique

In a run-to-waste system, nutrient and water solution is periodically applied to the medium surface.

The method was invented in Bengal in 1946; for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as “The Bengal System”

This method of techniques of hydroponics can be set up in various configurations. In its simplest form, a nutrient-and-water solution is manually applied one or more times per day to a container of inert growing media, such as rock wool, perlite, vermiculite, coco fibre, or sand.

In a slightly more complex system, it is automated with a delivery pump, a timer,

And irrigation tubing to deliver a nutrient solution with a delivery frequency that is governed by the key parameters of plant size, plant growing stage, climate, substrate, and substrate conductivity, pH, and water content.

So, Why Run Drain to Waste?

“Drain to Waste” provides more control over your plants and helps to prevent diseases

A very common concern is that the system will waste too many nutrients due to the excessive amount of “waste run-off.” This is simply not the case.

A dialed-in “Drain to Waste” system will only waste 10-15% of the fed nutrient solution as “run-off.” an example of this is as follows:

A given garden uses 5 Gallons of water to feed all the plants within, the “waste run-off” will only be 1/2 to 3/4 of one gallon of solution.


Also on Guide To Solutions:

What Is The Hydroponics? – Definition and Techniques

TREKKING FOR HEALTH: THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF TREKKING


Deep Water Culture Technique

Techniques of Hydroponics
(source)

This method is called Deep Water Culture for two reasons.  One, you typically grow with a reservoir that can hold a decent amount of water.

More water means more stability in your nutrient solution, which means less monitoring and maintenance for you!

The second reason is because of how much of the root mass you submerge in the water.

Other methods expose your plant’s root zone to air and drench them in water just a few times a day like ebb and flow systems.

In deep water culture, most of your plant’s root system is submerged 24/7 – hence the name!

In the Deep Water Culture system, a plant’s roots are suspended in a well-oxygenated solution composed of water and nutrients.

There are three parts of this system:

  • Oxygen: Because the roots are submerged in water and not soil (which has gaps and holes where air resides), the water needs to be well oxygenated so the plant doesn’t drown.
  • Water: Think of this system as if you’re growing in soil and permanently watering your plants – this is one of the reasons growing hydroponically is so beneficial – you never need to ‘water’ again.
  • Nutrients: A good quality soil contains all of the micro and macronutrients that a plant needs to survive and thrive.  

Rotary Technique

A rotary hydroponic garden is a style of commercial techniques of hydroponics created within a circular frame that rotates continuously during the entire growth cycle of whatever plant is being grown.

While system specifics vary, systems typically rotate once per hour, giving a plant 24 full turns within the circle each 24-hour period.

Within the center of each rotary hydroponic garden can be a high intensity grow light, designed to simulate sunlight, often with the assistance of a mechanized timer.

Each day, as the plants rotate, they are periodically watered with a hydroponic growth solution to provide all nutrients necessary for robust growth.

Due to the plant’s continuous fight against gravity, plants typically mature much more quickly than when grown in soil or other traditional hydroponic growing systems.

Because rotary hydroponic systems have a small size, it allows for more plant material to be grown per square foot of floor space than other traditional hydroponic systems.

What Are The Benefits Of Rotary Technique?

A rotary hydroponic system uses a continuously rotating circular frame.

The frame constantly rotates the plant around a glowing light that stimulates sunlight while providing it regularly with a nutrient solution.

The rotation may occur once every hour or more often, depending on the setup.

Advantages:

  • Small footprint makes it space-efficient
  • Promotes fast growth of the plant
  • Simulated light is usually built into the system

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than simpler systems
  • Requires constant monitoring
  • Vulnerable to power outages

The Bottom Line

As we see each type of system has advantages and disadvantages, so when you come to choose from these options you have to keep in your mind space which you will use and the budget you have.

After you learned the techniques of hydroponics and the features of each one, which one of them you will choose to start hydroponic gardening?

Don’t forget to read articles on Guide to Solutions:

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