Mastering hydroponic technology
To get a rich harvest it is not necessary to have fertile land. Almost all crops can be grown in a city apartment, avoiding dirt and a specific smell of soil. After all, a special solution serves as fertilizer. You won’t even have to attract specialists if hydroponics with your own hands is done according to all the rules.
- The concept of hydroponics
- Required System Components
- Substrate culture
- Periodic flooding of substrate culture
- Drip irrigation of substrate culture
- Aquatic system
- Nutrient Technique
- Aerial culture (aeroponics)
The concept of hydroponics
This is a system that enables plants to develop without soil. All the nutrients they get from the solution. Each culture and stage of development requires a different concentration..
Hydroponics allows a small area to get a rich harvest of environmentally friendly products. At the same time, the growth time before fruiting is significantly reduced. Plants do not need to give energy for the development of the root system in order to fully eat. A banana can grow up to 2 meters high in a year. True, a lot of solution will be needed for him.
At home, hydroponics allows you to grow almost all crops. In our country, this method is most common for tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, mint. Hydroponics is great for indoor flowers. An exception is plants with a root system that can easily rot..
Required System Components
Plants get oxygen, carbon and hydrogen from water and air, and many micro and macro elements that accelerate growth, stimulate the development of the root system, improve flowering and color intensity from the components of the solution..
The first group includes: iron, copper, zinc, boron, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum. To the second – potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
Hydroponic vegetables can be grown without a substrate, using only mortar and air, and using granite gravel, expanded clay, gravel, slag, pumice, coarse sand, mineral wool, foam rubber.
Depending on the method of fluid supply to the root system, hydroponics for flowers, vegetables and berries can be:
- active – pumps, pumps, ultrasounds and other devices are used;
- passive – the fluid moves due to the capillary forces of water.
Important! In the air, the roots should be longer, but they should not be allowed to dry out..
In addition, there are different systems that can be used separately or combined with each other..
This is the easiest passive hydroponic installation. The plant is in a container with a substrate, which has openings for access to the solution. The immersion depth in the liquid is 1-2 cm.
Important! Constant control of the solution level is necessary so that the roots do not dry out. Large plants “drink” liquid faster than it can rise.
Periodic flooding of substrate culture
The scheme is similar to the previous one. Only the vessel has a double bottom and is periodically filled with composition.
Hydroponic equipment for this system includes:
- a pump (supplemented by a timer) located in the lower compartment of the tank;
- an output tube discharged into the upper reservoir;
- inlet pipe to drain excess fluid back to the lower compartment.
The roots of the plant are in the air. Only a small amount of liquid is at the very bottom to maintain substrate moisture.
Then several times a day (usually from 2 to 8), depending on the microclimate, the type of substrate and the crop grown, the timer turns on the pump for 10-15 minutes. The filler is flooded with solution to the upper level of the restriction tube.
After turning off, the liquid is again drained into the lower compartment. The air is renewed, the roots are saturated with oxygen.
Important! This method is simple and reliable. But you should not use it in an area where the electricity is turned off for a long time, because timers are provided for the functioning of the system. Roots can dry out.
The system is suitable for hydroponics and without substrate.
Drip irrigation of substrate culture
Fertilizer feed for hydroponics is via adjustable droppers. The fluid flows continuously or periodically, falls on the surface of the substrate under the base of the stem of the plant. Two methods are possible:
- In case of a reverse, the excess solution that the plants did not manage to absorb, flows back into the tank and is reused.
- With irreversible prepared composition is used once. This allows you to accurately observe the proportions of the micro and macro elements and to avoid changes in pH.
The system is easy to make from a conventional medical dropper.
A non-sinking pan is located in the container, to which the plants are fixed with clamps (if necessary). The roots are constantly in a special fluid. As the nutrients are absorbed by the culture, the solution must be changed and saturated with oxygen (aerate). The usual aquarium compressor can handle the necessary functions..
The system is perfectly suitable for water-loving crops (e.g. lettuce). But for vegetables it is better to use a different method.
For the equipment of the system, a wide capacity of small height is required. The solution is supplied by a constantly circulating stream of 1-2 cm deep. It turns out that the moving liquid covers a large area. The mixing of nutrients with the air takes place. The solution is oxygenated without the use of a compressor and feeds the roots.
It is better to place the vessel under a slight slope.
Aerial culture (aeroponics)
The roots are in mid-air, periodically sprayed to prevent them from drying out..
The nutritional composition is sprayed as an aerosol. At home, the system can be manufactured using parts for an ultrasonic humidifier.
Advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics
Cultures grown using hydroponics are no different from soil counterparts. Just another method of supplying the elements necessary for their growth is applied. By taste and aroma, they are also identical if the hydroponic solution is prepared correctly.
An impressive list of advantages gives the system even greater popularity..
- Crops grow strong and healthy several times faster than in the soil, bear fruit better.
- All nutrients are absorbed in full, and do not go to the ground.
- The fruits do not accumulate nitrates, nuclides, heavy metals and other harmful elements that are in the soil.
- There is no need for watering plants. Significantly easier to control water flow.
- No need to use pesticides to avoid damage by pests and fungi.
- Eliminated the problems associated with the removal of weeds, cultivation and top dressing. The solution itself is a fertilizer.
- Cultures do not suffer from the lack of oxygen that occurs when grown in soil. They do not dry out and do not get wet..
- There is no dirt and odor in the apartment, as when using soil.
- A relatively small area is required to get a good crop..
- The roots of perennial plants are not injured when transplanting them into the ground.
- Ultimately, costs are lower than when growing crops in soil.
There are some inconveniences, but their disadvantages can hardly be called.
- Initially, you need to invest more than when buying soil and other necessary materials.
- Before you grow hydroponics, you need to study theoretical issues and install equipment. Have to spend more time than with the usual method.
The owner, who knows how to handle a hammer, screwdriver and drill, can effortlessly master the simple installation rules..
You must purchase an air aquarium compressor, a plastic container and a foam sheet. Light should not get on the roots of the plants, so the walls of the vessel can be painted or wrapped with foil.
Holes are cut out in the foam for placing pots in them (as an option, you can use cups from dairy products or cut plastic bottles). It is necessary to provide such a distance so that when the plants grow, then they do not interfere with each other. Make holes in the cups.
You can place each plant separately. It is most convenient to use hydropots – pots for hydroponics. But self-production will bring only pleasant chores.
It should be indoor and outdoor pots. In the first, holes are made for fluid to reach the roots. There are pots on sale that visually resemble a miniature version of a paper basket. The outdoor must be water and light tight. The distance between the bottoms is at least 6 cm. The inner pot should be covered with water for a quarter. As a liquid level indicator, you can use a glass tube.
Then you should fill the containers with a substrate and plant plants in them.
Important! The filler must be sieved, disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate. Then rinse with clean water. The measure is necessary for the death of pathogens.
The solution for hydroponics should be purchased in a specialized store. The label or insert details the rules of use and the necessary concentration for any crops.
Additional lighting is not necessary if hydroponics is located on the windowsill. In shaded places it is necessary to install lamps of different power depending on the type of plant, variety and stage of development.
Rules for the transfer of plants from soil to hydroponics
The procedure should be carried out in spring, summer or early autumn only for young crops. The roots must be kept in warm water for 2 hours, then rinsed from the soil, removed rotted elements and disinfected. Put in the inner pot and fill with the substrate a little higher than when planting in the ground.
The outer tank is filled with clean water in the required amount. An internal pot is placed in it. After a week, the water must be replaced with a solution. When new roots appear (this will be noticeable through the holes of the inner pot), the liquid level should be reduced to provide an air gap.
From the first to the fourth week, it is better to use a solution of half concentration, in the second month – standard, and then increase the content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium by 30%.
Important! Plants can not be taken out into the open (terrace, garden), because the water balance and composition of the solution may be disturbed.
Growing crops using hydroponics is gaining popularity around the world. And this is not surprising. After all, the method allows you to get healthy food with less material and labor costs..