Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite,gravel ,mineral wool,expanded clayor coconut husk .
Some of the reasons why hydroponics is being adapted around the world for food production are the following: No soil is needed for hydroponics
The water stays in the system and can be reused - thus, lower water costs It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety - thus, lower nutrition costs No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system Stable and high yields
Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container's mobility It is easier to harvest
No pesticide damage
Today, hydroponics is an established branch of agronomy. Progress has been rapid, and results obtained in various countries have proved it to be thoroughly practical and to have very definite advantages over conventional methods of horticulture. There are two chief merits of the soil-less cultivation of plants. First, hydroponics may potentially produce much higher crop yields. Also, hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening are not possible.
Ideal Hydroponics growing conditions
(1) Temperature:An ideal temperature range should be from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, during lights-on cycle and from 64 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit during light-off cycle. The ideal day time growing temperature without CO2 augmentation is 73 degrees Fahrennheit/23 degrees Centigrade whereas, without CO2 augmentation is 76 degrees Fahrenheit/24.5 degrees Centigrade. (2)Temperature for the root zone:It is very important to understand that if you are growing your hydroponic plants are in cement slabs or basements; do not place the pots on the floor because this can drop the temperature of the root zone, which can destroy your hydroponic plants. The ideal root zone temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. (3)Temperature for water or nutrient solution: The ideal temperature for water or nutrient solution is from 66 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit. (4)Humidity: Proper humidity helps create conditions that permit harmful organisms and molds to flourish. During vegetative period the ideal humidity required is 40 to 65% and 40 to 60% for flowering. (5)Lights: For hydroponics vegetable plantation the light cycle required is 18 hours light on and 6 hours light off. For flowering it is 12 hours with light on and 12 hours with light off. Of course the exact hours of light cycle may change depending on the plant. (6) Lighting: You need fluorescent lighting for early cuttings and cloning and forhydroponics vegetable growth you’ll need High Pressure Sodium and metal halide; for vegetative growth lighting 60% halide and 40% HPS; for floral growth high pressure sodium only and no metal halide. (7)Light coverage: For 10 square feet of space you need 400 watt bulb and for 20 square feet you need 1000 watt light. You can accordingly extend the coverage areas. (8)Light measurement: The unit for measuring light is called Lumen and a plant should receive 3000 lumens to grow faster. (9)Plant tops to lights distance:Remember, if hydroponics plants get too close to hydroponics lights they can be damaged severely. The distance between the plants top and lights should be 2.5 feet. (10)Grow media: Processed coconut rusks, coco coir, perlite, lava rocks etc. (11)Air circulation: Your grow room should have at least one fan no matter what’s the size of your grow room. (12) Air exchange: It is very important to install exhaust fans in your hydroponics systems to avoid augmented CO2 in the room. (13)pH level: Ideal pH level is between 5.8 and 6.3. For roots ideal pH is 6.5.
Overall, the main advantages of hydroponics over soil culture are - more effectient...