Soil is an essential source of nutrients and minerals for growing plants. Also, it is responsible for facilitating gaseous exchange between the atmospheres and roots and helps to protect plants against erosion and facilitates water retention.
However, this article discusses a system – hydroponics, wherein plants can be grown without soil. Read on to find out what is hydroponics and gain valuable information about it.
What is Hydroponics?
The hydroponics definition states that it is the cultivation of plants in water. It is a subcategory of hydroculture and is a useful technique of growing plants without soil.
Through this technique, roots absorb the nutrients present in water and fulfil their growth requirement. Furthermore, through this method, one can grow plants in liquid, sand or gravel by simply adding some nutrients to it.
In recent years, hydroponics has found application in the field of commercial production and horticulture. Similarly, residents of cities with limited space is using this method to grow fresh plants in their home and surroundings.
In hydroponics, the photosynthesis process is expressed as –
Carbon dioxide + Water = Glucose + Oxygen
6CO2+ 6H2O = C6H12O6 + 6O2
Some of the most common hydroponics examples include – the production of artichokes, sprouts, cabbage, peas, onions, tomatoes and yams.
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Fig: Hydroponics diagram
Fun Fact: The term Hydroponics was derived from ‘hydros’ and ‘ponos’ which in Greek translates into ‘water working’.
Types of Hydroponics Systems
Here are the different types of hydroponics systems.
- Wick System: In this system, the nutrients are pumped from the reservoir and transmitted to plant roots through wick’s capillary movement.
- Ebb and Flow: It is also called the flood and drains system and is often automated via a pump with a timer. The grow tray is flooded with nutrient solution and is subsequently drained back.
- Water Culture: Plants are kept in net pots and are placed on a floating platform on top of a container of water and nutrients. To facilitate growth and development, the suspended roots are stretched out into the oxygenated solution, which is rich in nutrients.
- Drip System Recovery: In this setup, the nutrient solutions are pumped through a tube and then drops onto roots through drip lines.
Other than these, the nutrient film technique and aeroponic system are also popular types of hydroponics systems.
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Fig: Different types of hydroponics system
Test Your Knowledge: Define hydroponics. Explain the importance of hydroponics.
Advantages of Hydroponics
Following advantages makes the uses of hydroponics more feasible and effective –
- Higher yield.
- Controlled level of nutrition.
- Plants are healthier, and they mature faster.
- Weeds can be easily eliminated.
- Susceptibility to pests and diseases is negligible.
- Automation is possible.
- Water present in the system can be reused, which facilitates water conservation.
- Ease of harvesting.
- Crops produced are fitter for consumption.
- Small production space can be optimised effectively.
Irrespective of its benefits and uses, hydroponics has its share of disadvantages too. Read below to find remaining hydroponics information and its prominent problems.
Disadvantages of Hydroponics
Here are the prevalent problems of hydroponics –
- The initial cost of investment.
- The requirement of technical know-how.
- The process is often thorough and time-consuming.
- Only specific soluble nutrients are used.
- The recirculation system is prone to water-borne infection.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What Does Hydroponic Mean?
Ans. In simple words, hydroponic is a technique of growing plants without soil. It is a subcategory of hydroculture, which uses mineral nutrients solution to grow plants like peas, artichokes, cucumber, onions, radishes, leeks, etc.
- What is the Importance of Hydroponics?
Ans. Hydroponics helps to increase crop production even in areas where the soil is sterile. Also, the crops thus produced are healthier and less susceptible to pests and diseases. Similarly, hydroponics helps to use small places effectively for cultivation.
- What are the Benefits of Hydroponics?
Ans. The advantages include an increased yield of crops, more nutritious and fast yield and ease of cultivation.