Hydroponics systems are intended to satisfy the plant’s prerequisites with the most solid and effective techniques. 3 requirements that should be satisfied by any hydroponics system.
- Provide roots with Fresh and well-balanced Nutrients.
- Maintains a high level of air exchange between roots and nutrients solution.
- Protect roots against the dehydration and immediate crop failure in the event of system failure.
Before designing the hydroponics system you just need to check all the requirements. The hydroponics system is of
2 Types of hydroponics system active or passive.
The active hydroponics system contains the motor re-circulation methods and passive cantinas the capillary action, absorption or force of gravity.
For the hydroponics system to be dependable, these three significant necessities are met on predictable measures. The best way to build a reliable and effective hydroponics system is to use advanced engineering.
Modern engineering can help you in building the less complex and most efficient hydroponics system at less cost.
Nowadays, we have a better understanding of the hydroponics system. But in the early time, there is not much advancement in the system. One of the early records of people using hydroponics tells the methods that they are using that time.
Floating gardens of the Mexican Aztecs. gardens are made similar to naturally occurring ponds. Water was filled in the ponds and plants directly obtain nutrients in bioponic environments.
Waste of fishes, birds, and animals was used as a nutrient for the microbes in the sand and mud thrive on. These microbes convert that waste into nutrients and then use a portion of food for plants. Freshwater comes from the rain, which was lost in the form of evaporation.
Before learning about the Hydroponics system, learn the medium use in Hydroponics
- Sand and Gravel Culture
- The Dutch Bucket System
- The Rockwool Slab Drip System
- The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
- The Raft System
Sand and Gravel Culture in Hydroponics system
Although the sand is used as a growing medium with success, it has poor air retention quality due to the small interstitial spaces. Two things must remember while choosing the right soilless medium for the hydroponics system.
The medium should have good water holding capacity combined with good drainage qualities. This combination will allow the proper exchange of oxygen and air in the roots. Recent Research reveals that oxygen is necessary for the plant’s roots.
It is necessary for the plant to perform respiration, which provides the energy needed to transport the water to the plant.
Roots are the most important part of the plant and more healthy roots provide more healthy food. The increased absorption of oxygen by the roots provides a healthier, larger and faster-growing plant. As a result, all the newly designed systems apply these methods to improve the product further.
This rock culture system is a simple and economical approach to develop plants hydroponically. Other advantages include gravel’s relatively low cost and easy availability. Furthermore, it can be reused indefinitely. You can dry it after crop harvest and use it again.
The Dutch Bucket System
The name of the system was entitled because it was first introduced in Holland and it is extensively used by commercial growers there for roses, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Dutch Bucket system, you can use several media to grow the plant. In these systems, you can use coco-coir, Perlite, LECA stone, gravel, and even sand.
Dutch Bucket system, plants are placed in a straight row. The bucket must be of 2.5 gallons with a special drain fitting that maintains a small reserve of nutrients at the bottom of the bucket. One bucket contains only 1 or 2 plants together.
Waterline is placed on the bucket which provides nutrition to the plants with the help of a water pump from the reservoir. Drip hoses are used in the hydroponics system in water line at each plant.
As the Nutrient solution is pumped from the reservoir to each plant, it flows through the growing medium and over the plant’s roots. Extra nutrients fall on the bottom of the bucket and exit from the drain pipe.
The system’s reservoir is placed below the level of the bucket. with the help of gravity carries the solution back to it. A pump then re-circulates the solution again back to the drip hoses and starts feeding the plants. This cycle continues with a specific period of interval.
The Rockwool Slab Drip System
The least complex and the most well-known hydroponics technique utilizing trickle water systems to convey the supplement to plants. Many commercial greenhouses use this technique to grow tomatoes and peppers because they require low maintenance.
Rockwool slabs are placed in the row and plants are placed on it. This system requires very little labor and maintenance costs.
To feed the plants Drip systems is use with nutrient solutions. The most well-known method for applying supplements to Rockwool wools or huge squares is with the utilization of drips. A simple drip irrigation system should use a dripper with a capacity of 2 liters/hour, with one dripper per plant.
As I discuss above these are used in the tomatoes most then, all the rows of tomatoes are supported by strings in a method called Air-layering. As a fruit harvested off the bottom of the plant using these methods, the growing vines are coiled around each other. This rope provides support to the plants to reach its maximum height.
EC levels must be continuously checked in the root zone with Rockwool or with any other media. The EC of the supplement arrangement in the developing substrate changes as plants change various proportions of water and nutrients from the root zone.
The Nutrient Film Technique
NFT or Nutrient Film Technique is a very simple hydroponics method. Because it is simple to make and use we can use it both in-home and commercial levels. many plants are grown on the NFT system at the same time.
In the Nutrient Film Technique you can grow any plant, but root vegetables. It best works for the leafy greens and for small plants. Allen copper pioneered Nutrient Film Technique at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in England.
In this method, plants are placed on the top and inverted “V” shaped channel. sealed on all sides into a box-like tunnel, through which the nutrient solution passes along the bottom.
A small bucket or resolver is made, where the nutrient solution is collected and recycled back. Roots are down along the bottom of the channel by gravity, where they get the oxygen.
When using the NFT, you must need to pay attention to the flow rate of the solution. There are few variables that come into play when determining the best flow rate.
Too much solution flow can overflow your system and damage the plants. You need to give more focus on the angle and the flow rate in the NFT.
The Raft System
The Raft system is a fascinating technique for growing lettuce and other short height crops. In this system, a large bucket or tank is filled with the Nutrient solution and Plants are supported by baskets that fit into styrofoam sheets that float upon a bath of the Nutrient Solution.
In the Raft System, you no need to worry about the growing medium, major benefit of the raft system is the amount of oxygen received. The amount of oxygen plant roots received from the bottom makes it successful and provides proper growth to the plant.
Oxygen is the most important part of the hydroponics, more oxygen roots get larger and healthier plants you get.
In the Raft system, Air pump with air stone is used, which provides oxygen to the roots. I would recommend you to use a large air stone, the more bubbles you can make the better. The root mass of the plant becomes larger and you want bubbles to go up as much as possible.
The 2 major things you need to remember in the Raft system, the concentration of the solution, the more concentrated solution can damage your plant. And another thing is the change of water. When your plant comes to full-size, water is needed to be changed.
Hydroponics technology is more advanced than the early time. More systems are designed according to the need. Now hydroponics is used on the Commercial level, so the system must fulfill the requirements also.
People are also using hydroponics on their rooftop or in their balconies, so there is some system that can be used indoors as well.
Learn about Essential Plant Nutrients required in Hydroponics
Yes, Hydroponics Farming is commercially viable. Nowadays there are a number of systems that are specially designed for commercial use only. Raft systems or NFT are the best examples which is used for commercial purposes. Dutch Bucket system is also used for tomatoes for commercial scale. Hydroponics does so much research on the development and for commercial use in all weather conditions.
India mainly depends on agriculture and plays a major role in the export of food. Hydroponics can not only give you the quality but as the quantity. More food can be grown in small spaces. The population is increasing day by day and the size of the agricultural land is reduced, so hydroponics is the only way to fulfill the need of food.
I am Electronics Engineer and working on Startup on Hydroponics. I am doing trials and working on the Hydroponics system last 2 years. Hydroponics is the future of Agriculture. if anyone want to learn about Hydroponics can ask me.