Simply put, hydroponics gardening is “soil less” (without soil) gardening. The term was coined by UC Davis Professor Gerike in 1929. He took the Greek word for agriculture “geoponics” and came up with the term “hydroponics”. “Soil less” gardening experimentation had been around for some time; however, professor Gerike was the first to demonstrate that plants could be grown to full size without soil. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Floating Gardens of China are thought to be the first instances of “soil less” gardening in the history of man.
There are seven basic categories of hydroponics systems (methods): passive, water culture, flood and drain, drip, wick, nutrient film technique, and “aeroponic.”
The passive system is the simplest of the hydroponics systems. The roots of the plants are surrounded by a medium of some kind that has air holes like rockwool, perlite or gravel. The plant is then suspended so that it is immersed in the nutrient solution. The plant absorbs the nutrient through capillary action in the same manner as plants absorb nutrients through soil.
In the water culture system the plants are suspended over a tray of water fortified with the proper nutrients. The roots of the plants are immersed in the water solution. Air or oxygen is pumped into the solution allowing the roots to absorb the solution.
The flood and drain system sometimes called the ebb and flow system, has plants bound in a medium as in the passive system. The plants sit in a tray. The nutrient solution is pumped in around them, drains away and is pumped in again on a regular cycle.
Drip and wick systems are somewhat the same. The plants are bound in a medium and sit in a tray. In the drip system the nutrient system is continuously pumped into the medium with a dripping action. The wick system uses the capillary draw of a wick to bring the solution from a reservoir below.
The nutrient film technique (NFT) and the “aeroponic” method are the newest and most advanced hydroponics systems. The NFT system relies on a continuous flow of nutrient solution. In this system the tray is tipped and the solution runs off leaving only a thin film of the solution in the tray. Aeroponics on the other hand uses a system which sprays a fine mist of solution continuously into the air. Both NFT and aeroponics rely on the plants getting their nutrients out of the air.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Hydroponics systems fall into seven categories which are defined by the method used to apply nutrients to the plant’s root system. Plants that grow in soil spend half of their time growing up and the other half growing the root system to find nutrient. Soil less plants grow taller because their nutrients are readily available to the root system.
Hydroponics is the wave of the future. It is being studied in classrooms across the country and rapidly becoming a hobby. Get involved, hydroponics is fun and easy to do.
Copyright © Larry Gildea, All Rights Reserved.
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