Hydroponics is the technique of cultivating plants, using water as the nutrient medium. Instead of soil, the plants will be growing in water and the nutrients are added into this water. Soil is not used in hydroponics. This has become the newest trend in indoor gardening as it makes healthier and cleaner plants. The plants will be growing on a substrate that mostly will be rockwool or clay pebbles that provides space for aeration and the root penetration. It also provides better support for the plants.
Types of Hydroponic technology
There are many types of hydroponic technology. Each type has its advantage in watering and delivering the nutrients to the roots.
Deep water culture is the most used type of hydroponic technology. In this type the plants are grown in the water and the root system is submerged in the nutrient water. Here the water is stagnant and may need frequent changes than in other types to avoid contamination. This is the most convenient form of hydroponic technology for do-it-yourself, with the help of two buckets, on for plant support and the other one as the reservoir.
Ebb and flow method is more effective than the deep water culture. In this hydroponic technology the water is not stagnant and will be constantly moving. The plants roots will be temporarily submerged in the nutrient water completely. It stays there for a while and then recedes back to the reservoir. This technology is used for growing larger plants that grows higher and will need more space for the stem. Bucket system is used popularly for this type of hydroponics.
Bubbleponics is to create air bubbles in the nutrient water that will burst and release the oxygen for the roots to use. Other hydroponic technology will not have this extra oxygenation technique. The extra oxygen available helps the plants to perform better and can increase the yield.
NFT is Nutrient Film Technique that passes the nutrient water as a thin film through the root tips to allow better nutrient absorption. Mostly this technique is used in combination with other hydroponic techniques as an additional nourishing method. Since this technique may cause nutrient clogging, combining it with ebb and flow method will solve the problem.
Top feed system is also used as an additional watering method by which the nutrient water is dripped from the top of the root system. The advantage of this technique is that it supplies the nutrients constantly and the roots will not get dried. The water is dripped through small pipes attached to the base of the aerial part of the plant. When the plants are fed from both top and bottom it shows improved growth rate.
Superponics – The latest Hydroponic Technology
The hydroponic technology is of many types and they are used as a single method or in combination. The use of more than one hydroponic technology to water the plants is known as Superponics which is considered the most effective method for greater yield and faster growth. Superponics is most effective because, by chance, the failure in any one hydroponic technology will have the least effect on the growth of the plants as the other technique will help continue the growth without hindrance. Superponics has brought the indoor gardening to a new level where the grower will have faster growth that allows more plant cycles than usual, which results in more yield in a year.
Advantages of Hydroponic technology
- The main advantage of hydroponic technology is the lesser use of water and the same water can be used many times before changing it. When the nutrients in the water are reduced, simply add enough nutrients into the water than changing the whole gallons of water. It saves more water and less water is needed to deliver the nutrients to the plants.
- Hydroponics technology makes way to a more controlled grow system. The watering frequency can be timed and less manual labor is required. This helps to have better yield with lesser efforts.
- The nutrients are dissolved in the water making it to be in a more convenient form for the plants to absorb them. By adjusting the water pH, the nutrient absorbency by the plants can be increased.
- In most cases the nutrients are delivered to the plants and the plants do not have to compete with each other for nutrients or spend energy in looking for the nutrients. The nutrient availability helps the plants to spend all the energy for growth.