Growing plants needs love, dedication, skill and training. It is a myth that plants primarily need soil to thrive. It is the mineral nutrients they receive through soil that they need. Soil is only a medium, not the main requirement. Nutrients and light are the only vital requirements for plants to grow.
It was Sir Francis Bacon of England, in his posthumously published book Sylva Sylvarum, who first suggested that plants can be grown without the use of soil. In 1937, William Fredrick Gericke, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, experimented with and made this form of gardening famous.
“Hydroponics” is a Greek word. “Hydro” means water and “Ponus” means work. Hydroponics can easily be grown in green houses, on roof-tops, multi-level buildings used for agriculture or even underground. Hydroponics is one of the best branches of agronomy. It is the ultimate solution till date, for agriculturists and plant-lovers who feel handicapped because of space. Maintenance of plants, frequent tilling and irrigating in the traditional form of agriculture demands a lot of time and investment. Hydropincs require very minimal maintenance.
Hydroponics consume less space, conserve more water and their growing process is hassle-free. No soil means no pesticides and no insects. This is a boon for large scale agriculturists as it makes the plants healthier and increases the ease of harvesting. Owing to these factors the system of hydroponics has become a favourite not just in homes but in outdoor agriculture too.
Let us understand more about outdoor hydroponics, their uses and drawbacks.
Uses of Outdoor Hydroponics:
Some of the benefits of turning to hydroponic system are:
* More eco-friendly
* All varieties of fruit and vegetables can be made available throughout the year
* Plant growth rate is faster, and yield, larger
* Nutrient application timing (watering) as well as nutrient quantities can adjusted according to requirement
Disadvantages of Outdoor Hydroponics:
* If the water timers goes wrong, the whole produce can be spoilt causing a huge loss
* Electricity consumption is high. They require the water pumps and growing lights to work round the clock.
* High setting-up cost ydroponics wholesaler
* Needs more attention and monitoring
* They are susceptible to water-borne diseases
* Being bred through artificial means, the plants are highly sensitive to any kind of environmental changes
An important thing which needs to be considered when planning hydroponic set-up, particularly for outdoor hydroponics, is to understand which type of growing system would be more effective. There are seven types of hydroponic culture, out which four are more advisable for outdoor purposes.
1. Drip system: this is the most widely used one. This is useful for small conventional vegetable farming. If you are using a drip system, you have to ensure that the nozzle heads are constantly unclogged.
2. Container System: Most effective for small scale outdoor purposes.
3. Nutrient Film: This can be done on a larger scale but takes high set-up cost.
4. The Mittleider Garden: this is the best of all. It takes low cost to set-up and maintain