Hydroponics is the process of cultivating plants through the use of a soil-free medium and the direct supply of a nutrient solution to the roots of the plants. What are the advantages of hydroponics? There are various benefits to this method of growing plants:
Faster plant growth
Full control over crop yield
Hydroponics is an extremely efficient method of growing plants and therefore allows plants to grow faster and healthier than traditional soil-based cultivation techniques. Also, because the grower has full control over the nutrient supply delivered to the plants, it is far easier to control the quality and yield derived from any particular crop.
The most important element in the HYDROPONICS process is the nutrient solution itself. This needs to be controlled and managed carefully to ensure optimal growing results. It’s crucial to ensure that the correct nutrient level is maintained and that the reservoir does not become dry. Regular cleaning of the hydroponics system with clean water is also advisable, as is using the best quality nutrient solution available, and controlling the temperature within the growing environment.
Efficient use of nutrient solution
It is crucial to identify the critical elements that the plants require for optimal growth. These include nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. In addition, plants also require minor elements such as zinc, copper, boron, iron, magnesium and molybdenum in order to grow efficiently. A lack of any of these nutrients can lead to deficiencies in plant composition – and ultimately affect growth and yield. Maintaining the correct nutrient supply ensures that plants have all the essential nutrients they require, at all times, and will deliver a crop of fruits, vegetables or flowers in tip top condition.
Controlling the pH level
For a nutrient solution which is optimally efficient it is essential to maintain the correct pH level. A value within the range 5.8 to 6.8 is normally recommended. If the pH level of the solution is optimal, it will ensure maximum nutrient delivery to the plants. In the case of sensitive plants, it’s recommended to check the pH level, and adjust if necessary, on a weekly basis.
Consider using a supplement, such as vitamin B1, which increases root growth and is essential for optimal cell multiplication.
Delivering the correct nutrients
Choosing the optimal nutrient solution for the plants you grow is key to the overall results you will obtain in terms of growth and yield. Don’t be overawed by the bewildering array of commercial nutrients you can purchase. Select nutrients based on your growing objectives; whether you’re looking for maximum yield, rapid growth, or aroma, of your particular crop.
Managing your nutrient reservoir
As mentioned previously, it’s essential that the reservoir is not left to become dry. But also important is the need to keep it protected from the ingress of any contaminants. A clean reservoir system will add to the quality of your crop.