Hydroponics – Soil-free farming!

Hydroponics – Soil-free farming!

Hydroponics as the name suggests is a method of growing plants using water rich in mineral nutrients without soil. The base doesn’t necessarily have to be water but it can also be any inert medium like sand, perlite, coconut fiber or chips, rockwool, small clay rocks, vermiculite etc. with mineral nutrients available in it.

Hydroponics can be done on large scale or you can install a hydroponics system at home and try your hand at it too. You’ll need a hydroponics system like pots, trays, A-frames etc., necessary nutrients and an inert hydroponics medium to start with.

The hydroponic systems have two basic categories. First is a solution culture wherein the plant roots grow directly into a nutrient-filled solution and second is an aggregate system consisting of gravel, sand etc in which the roots grow into the medium. The function of both these systems is the same and that is to provide the basic ingredients for a plant to grow namely, water or moisture, nutrients and oxygen. Hydroponic nutrients differ from regular fertilizers used for growing plants. You will require sufficient natural or artificial light for your efforts to bear fruits.

Any houseplants, fruits or vegetables can be grown using this system. Leafy greens like spinach etc., radishes and herbs can be grown in solution systems since they have shallow roots while veggies with deep roots like beetroot or even cucumber etc. thrive well in aggregate systems.

The information about various systems and how to go about the process are available online and there are many indigenous companies that have entered the market professionally.
Since hydroponics doesn’t involve soil it is not organic farming, but its ecological benefits are same as organic farming. Even the flavor and nutrition of the produce is said to be better than the traditional produce.

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