9 Ingenious Tips to Grow High-Quality Hydroponic Lettuce

9 Ingenious Tips to Grow High-Quality Hydroponic Lettuce

It is no surprise to see people using hydroponics to grow lettuce.

The best part? If done in a correct manner it can result in growing the lettuce within a short period of time. Not to forget that it is extremely easy, productive and fun way to cultivate a crop in your household.

You may not want me to read this, but here we go…

Hydroponic is not free from problems. The dangerous combination of electricity and water makes hydroponic lettuce germination quite difficult since all the power that is being used is in relation to the water supply. This makes it extremely critical to be careful while performing any electrical maintenance since an electric shock can intensify by wet skin.

The other problem is water leaks which can create a major problem while growing hydroponic lettuce successfully.

Also, the use of non-food-grade plastics as a way to save money can backfire in a great way as it can contaminate the lettuce since it contains dangerous chemicals that can harm the crop adversely.

Plant pests like spider mites can drain the sap from the leaves hence, always ensure that you use specific insecticides against them instead of a broad-based insecticide.

Power outages are another problem that can have a drastic effect on the growth of your hydroponic lettuce.

Here’s the deal: If you have already faced these problems while growing high-quality hydroponic lettuce then the tips that we have mentioned in this write-up will work as your saviour and help you to grow high-quality hydroponic lettuce through the plastic bottle hydroponic lettuce cultivation process within 45 days.

So, without much ado let us get started with the tips.

 Lettuce Cultivation Process

Plastic Bottle Hydroponic Lettuce Cultivation Process: A Secret that will Help you to Grow High-Quality Hydroponic Lettuce

Here is what you need to know…

If you do not have a land to grow a hydroponic garden but have plenty of sunlight coming from windows you can use a compact and low maintenance trick to grow lettuce in your house.

The ultimate purpose of this exercise is to ensure that you do not have to spend a lot of money. The few things that you need to buy will cost around $ 10 which will provide enough material for many of the bottles.

It is extremely low maintenance without any need for electricity so there is no threat of electricity harming your hydroponic lettuce growth.

The materials needed are extremely easy to find.

Here’s the deal: The great part is that it actually works and we have seen that from our own eyes.

The roots that emerged were healthy and there was no sign of lack of oxygen which is a great news.

The small bottles need a compact space of about 3 inches and larger ones about 5 inches which can fit in your window easily.

It is even possible for you to hang the bottle in the vertical space of the window.

Keep reading:

Let us now look at the materials that you will need to implement this process:

    1. A plastic bottle larger than 2 Litres.

 

    1. A shower scrunchies

 

    1. Scissors

 

    1. A knife

 

    1. Aluminium foil

 

    1. Tape

 

    1. Seeds

 

  1. Hydroponic growth media

high-quality hydroponic lettuce

Step 1 Start the process by transplanting the seeds in the plastic bottles to reap the benefits of high-quality hydroponic lettuce

Here’s the truth,

Directly transplant the soilless seed in the plastic bottles. If you do not want to spend money on seed starter mix get a shovel, trowel or your hands and get your hands dirty by getting soil.

Although if you are a real hydroponic purist you may not like this idea since technically hydroponics does not use soil, even if you use it we won’t tell anyone!

Then make an egg carton seed starter by getting some eggs. Use the eggshells in your growth media. The plastic carton will have three sections: two “egg cup” sections that cradle the eggs, and the one flat lid.

Cut the lid and use it as a tray to hold water.

Then poke holes in the different egg cups in such a way that the entire water drains out.

Use the other section of egg cups as lids, to form dozens of greenhouses.

Water it once and leave them alone for seven days.

 Cut the bottle

Step 2 Cut the bottle in such a way that there is enough space to add or remove water through the hole

Cut the top of the bottle roughly half an inch below the “shoulder” of the bottle.

Now: Leave roughly half an inch of the straight side on the “top” part of the bottle, in such a way that the sides of the “bottom” get the desired grip when it is flipped over.

Puncture the blade meticulously with the blade and cut along the line.

Cut a small hole below the top. This will enable air to flow to the bottom root chamber.

You will then be able to easily add or remove water through the hole.

If you are taking it from one to another do not forget to cover it to prevent any spills.

Cut the cap carefully

Step 3 Cut the cap carefully in such a way that there is no damage to your hand

Here’s the truth.

Cut the caps in such a way that the threads are left untouched.

Use a sharp knife and be extra careful.

Place the cap upside down on a smooth surface in such a way that one edge is just over the other.

Hold it tightly and ensure that no part of your hand is under the cap.

Use the knife through the inside of the cap, at the edge.

The blade will cut in a single direction.

What’s the bottom line here? Keep using the blade through, approximately a blade width away from the previous cut in such a way that the blade cuts back towards the last slit.

Add mesh to the cap

Step 4 Add mesh to the cap so that the plant and support media do not fall into the water

Take out the mesh scrunchies and cut the string in such a way that it holds together and the whole thing can be unwound.

Keep reading: Cut a bit of the mesh approximately a few inches and stretch it over the bottle’s mouth.

Then tighten the cap over that.

If there is any excess cut it off.

What’s the bottom line here? The end result would be a funnel capped with mesh at the mouth.

This will ensure that the plant and support media do not fall into the water.

Give support to the roots

Step 5 Give support to the roots that will remain above water by making an aerial root support basket

Here’s the truth: It is important for you to protect the roots of lettuce especially when they will remain above water.

If you do not provide adequate support to them it will result in the aerial roots to clumb together and this way they will not be able to absorb enough oxygen.

Take a long mesh tube and tie a knot at one end, pull the knot and cut off the excess.

Approximately cut off 6 inches of mesh so that you get a mesh bag at the bottom.

water level by pouring some water

Step 6 Figure out the water level by pouring some water in the mouth of the funnel until it is just barely touching the water

Here’s the deal: Fix the whole thing and check the water level.

You can do this by placing a mesh basket around upside down the funnel in such a way that the mesh hangs loosely.

But, ensure that there is enough space between the funnel and the base.

If everything looks fine, mark the bottle side at the level of the funnel mouth.

Pour some water in the mouth of the funnel until it is just barely touching the water.

Develop hydroponic fertiliser

Step 7 Develop hydroponic fertiliser growth media to achieve success with lettuce cultivation

Here’s what you need to know: To develop hydroponic fertiliser growth media follow these steps:

Take 1 litre of water and dissolve 1/16 teaspoon Epsom salts. (Never select Epsom salts that contain mint fragrance or other additives). Get 5 drops eggshell extract.

The best part: (We have utilised this formula and have achieved great results. The plants have become large, healthier and are growing quickly)

If you have calcium and micronutrients, use eggshell dissolved in lemon juice.

This will buffer the pH since the growth media tends to get too basic (high pH).

The eggshell has the right quantity of magnesium, calcium and all the other micronutrientsrequired by the plants in the right proportions.

Let us now check out the process:

Take an eggshell, leave the membrane intact and dry it completely.

Crush it finely and then mix it in lemon juice using these measurements:

Half a teaspoon of dried powdered eggshell
The juice of half a lemon (approximately one and a half tablespoons)

Leave it overnight by keeping it in a covered jar.

This will give you about 2 litres of growth media. In case you want to make 1 litre of growth media add only 1 teaspoon.

proper growth of lettuce

Step 8 Manage the grow bottle to help proper growth of lettuce

In case you are transplanting seedlings in the bottle do it gently in such a way that they are placed just around the roots.

Keep reading: Put the root ball in the funnel, and smoothly close down the bottle cap.

If there is any excess soil that does not fit remove it off.

Always have enough media to hold the stem upright. It should be approximately an inch deep to fit the bottle cap.

Next, pour the water into the funnel and let it drain through the mouth.

This will ensure that all the particles that would have clouded the water to flush out.

It will also flush out the roots through the mesh.

In case you are starting with the seeds in the funnel, fill the cap with an inch of seed starter, sand, soil or vermiculite and plant the seed.

Yes, we know that this is not something which hydroponic purists will like. In that case, you can start the seeds in peat, rock wool or whatever you find perfectly fine with you.

Once the seeds or plants are in the funnel, fill the base with growth media as suggested in the previous step and assemble the bottle.

Here’s the deal: Put the mesh root support bag around the upside-down funnel, in such a way that mesh hangs loosely. It should be approximately an inch below the funnel’s mouth.

Always have enough space between the funnel and the root support mesh.

Press the funnel down into the base in such a way that the mesh basket is held between the funnel and the base.

Next, cover the area below the water level with foil so that there is only direct contact of sunlight. healthy growth of hydroponic lettuce

Step 9 Maintain the process and water the plants once the water level drops for healthy growth of hydroponic lettuce

What’s the bottom line here? Once you have set up the process, it will become easier to maintain it with absolutely no care.

But, you will be required to water the plants once the plant starts consuming water.

Remember, you want the plants to breathe which the air hole will enable without letting them dry out.

Also, if you live in a humid city, chances are the upper roots will never dry out.

What’s Next

Now, that you are aware of the different steps to grow high-quality hydroponic lettuce through the plastic bottle hydroponic lettuce cultivation process it is time to practically implement it.
In case, you need any help in growing high-quality hydroponic lettuce please do let us know and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

Original Source – https://comfyhomecorner.com/growing-hydroponic-lettuce/

Produce or Perish! Choice is Yours

Produce or Perish!  Water crisis: Pakistan running dry by 2025, says study

Elections, Terrorism, celebrity controversies, media, movies, football and cricket wins are what rule Pakistan’s headlines but beneath all the commotion the country is battling a severe problem – a massive water crisis in future, no water no food no life.

Water shortage is one of the main thread to Pakistan agriculture in future, our water resource decline day by day and still we fail to develop new water reservoir while food demands increased day by day because the population of the country constantly increased. The second thread to our agriculture is the expansion of urban area that shrinks the cultivated area of the country and lasts but not the least thread is soil fertility problems like water logging, salinity, erosion etc decrease cultivation area.

In the future, we need more food to feed our population but we have less water and less fertile soil available for cultivation. We have two options

  1. Import vegetables from other countries for our daily use
  2. Produce vegetables for our daily use

Import vegetables is an easy way for us, during past few years we have the example of importing from India. Importing is a good solution only for a limited time because when we totally depend on other countries for our daily vegetable requirement we have no option to spend money on importing oil, medicines, engineering etc. mean we will spend only for our survival. The second option is produced our own veggies using less amount of water and land, this is a hard job need sincere and constant working. Sorry to say, now we are as a nation not like to work hard or think about the future even we do not agree to think about the future. 

Hydroponics cultivation is the production of vegetables and herbs using water in the soilless medium. Hydroponics farming save 40 to 70 percent water as compare to soil cultivation, water saving depends on hydroponics system used for cultivation. This the only way to produce vegetables accordingly our daily requirements using less amount of water and soil even produced in deserts or barren lands or on the roof of buildings. 

In the history of Pakistan first hydroponics farm in Pakistan was established by Tahir Rana in Faisalabad, he is a nuclear physicist who gave up a job in Canada to set up a vegetable farm. He earns a good profit two years but fails to run farm longterm. The question is why he stops working while earning the premium profit. The second farm is developed in Islamabad managed by Arid Agriculture University and the third successful farm is running in Abbottabad named Abbottabad Hydroponics. Some other small hydroponics farms working in Punjab, KPK, and Sindh.

Lt Cdr (retd) CV Prakash CEO of The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics, Bangalore India he has presented in his presentaion (March 2010) that “Has government support in many developed countries. India is yet to wake up to this reality. Even neighbor Pakistan has adopted Hydroponics cultivation with major government support.” ( Download Presentation: www.petbharoproject.co.in/downloads/Commercial-Hydroponics-%20Is-It-Viable.ppt). India government and peoples wakeup and start working on hydroponics but we sleep after starting working on hydroponics.

Screenshot of Presentation

If we think this is our big achievement, sorry to say this is nothing: our neighbor country start working after Pakistan but now we are moving like a turtle but they are working like a rocket. The question is simple: We are pioneer in hydroponics technology in south Asia but why now India is far advance in hydroponics and we are practically nothing? It’s better to ask this question to yourself, your researchers, your research institutes, your universities, your media and your government?

Author: Asad Manzoor
asadku3@gmail.com +923333365660

Grow your hanging gardens of Babylon

Certain forward-thinking people square measure reinventing farming as we all know it. Indoor, organic urban farms growing food vertically victimization husbandry and aquaponic principles, square measure maturation round the country. The push for different ways of raising food follow partially, on the heels of native governments outlawing owners from growing vegetable gardens in their yards, and forcing folks to tear out existing, healthy gardens. supplying the wheels of amendment square measure the county, state and central wittingly making an attempt to destroy the organic phenomenon with chemtrails, pesticides, growth hormones and GMOs, as they alter the terribly molecular nature of our food. These actions move the guts, stimulate rage, emotion and worry, and force humans to vary to survive or die.

grow your hanging gardens of BabylonLooking for alternative routes to feed themselves and also the community, massive and little different husbandry ventures square measure shooting up all over. Smaller ventures like the Urban Hydro Project in state capital, Tennessee is that the farm-child of Jeffery Orkin; and his efforts square measure paying off. A demand community support in late 2012 raised over $3,300 in donations, enough cash for Orkin to shop for materials to increase his fledgling indoor organic garden on the highest floor of a domicile building in state capital. though the Urban Hydro Project has solely a hundred thirty five sq. feet of floor house, the space has twelve foot ceilings, and Orkin plans to plant to the ceiling. lovely organic vegetables square measure mature victimization farming, wherever no soil is employed. Orkin says this is often a additional economical methodology of production, and one that produces higher yields and higher tasting organic food year spherical.

While the Urban Hydro Project continues to expand and thrive in state capital, FarmedHere up up outside of Chicago and claims the respect of being the most important indoor vertical farm within the U.S.. based by Jolanta Hardej, it’s placed in a very Brobdingnagian ninety,000 square measure abandoned warehouse in Bedford Park, Illinois. Hardej had the vision as so much back as 2008 to grow contemporary, organic manufacture victimization aquaponic techniques, and no soil. Like Orkin, Hardej says the vegetables square measure higher tasting than once historically mature. Plants at FarmedHere square measure mature in multiple stacked levels and fed by mineral-rich water circulated throughout the system from fish tanks containing hormone-free genus Tilapia fish.

FarmedeHere is trying to provide over a million pounds of contemporary, organic foliate greens, freed from chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs.

Indoor farming provides property choices
As additional tight government rules square measure place in situ dominant individual freedoms, and larger efforts square measure created to change the essence of food by companies like Monsanto, the provision of organic, life-staining foods can diminish. because the air and land square measure poisoned chemically and different corrupting parts in a trial to marginalise life, different means that of growing food are going to be required for people who square measure willing to fight to survive the system.

· Indoor husbandry comes like these et al round the country manufacture organic food year spherical, beneath excellent temperature, wetness and lighting conditions

· because of the controlled growing atmosphere, indoor farms offer property agriculture for all — the house gardener, native tailgate markets, and huge food chains such Whole Foods, inexperienced Grocery, and different massive grocery chains tightened organic foods

· Growing manufacture with farming is feasible for individual owners by fixing a special growing station in their homes, garages or sheds. Some vertical growing instrumentality is moveable and may be captive outside in hotter weather if desired.

· Indoor vertical farming incorporates a little footprint, permitting people to grow food victimization aquaponics or farming off from curious government eyes. in addition, little or massive indoor community gardens square measure attainable in smaller-sized buildings, allowing teams to make gardens, purchase provides and share contemporary vegetables along.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
http://www.kickstarter.com
http://www.motherearthnews.com
http://www.ugrosystems.com/
http://www.hgtv.com

Grow your own pharmaceuticals

It’s very straightforward to grow powerful medicines which will lower your sterol, shield your heart, scale back your risk of upset, enhance system perform, and shield you from polygenic disease and lots of different chronic diseases. each plant could be a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant provided naturally. It’s sort of a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical laboratory that takes raw materials and converts them into healing medicines. It will this freed from charge, while not asking something back from you aside from a bit little bit of care, some water, and a few daylight.
If you’re thinking that regarding however plants operate, they are quite exceptional producing engines. They take nutrients out of the soil, greenhouse gas out of the air, water, and photons from daylight. Then, through a fancy system of metabolism and chemical change, plants manage to convert those components into healing phytonutrients, together with vitamins, enzymes, wholesome oils, fiber, proteins, and sophisticated carbohydrates. and they turn out all of those fantastic phytochemicals that we’re currently learning additional regarding in terms of preventing, and even reversing, chronic diseases like cancer.

Plants offer you an additional factor, too: the energy of life. this can be another variety of nutrition, that I decision “vibrational nutrition.” It’s one thing that you simply cannot get from synthesized pills or factory-made foods. you’ll be able to solely dig from plants, as a result of it’s to try and do with the energy of living, respiration organisms.

grow your own pharmaceuticalsFor nearly each chronic unwellness, there’s a plant which will treat it. area unit you battling cancer? Grow yourself some garlic, onions, and broccoli. area unit you battling high cholesterol? Grow and eat some blueberries. area unit you littered with macular degeneration? you’ll be able to grow a good form of berries. If you are within the right climate, you’ll be able to grow nut trees that offer wholesome oils right off the tree. In fact, despite what style of climate you are in, there area unit plants as healing drugs which will be grownup in your region, whether or not you are within the nice white north, or the jungles of Central America. whether or not you are in a very dry desert climate, the plains, forest, rainforest, swampland, the icy north, the mountain range, or the Smoky Mountains, there area unit plants you’ll be able to grow which will facilitate heal you.

This is one in every of the most areas of analysis on that i am focusing without delay. i am performing on finding new ways in which for individuals to additional simply grow plants that have a healing potential. i might wish to share with you what I’ve learned to date, so invite you to remain up-to-date, as a result of there is a ton additional sensible info coming near this subject. One goal I actually have is to make or promote some type of device which will perform as a home pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, with which individuals will plant seeds and primarily get pleasure from a inactive operation that grows these plants while not requiring a lot of effort on their half.

It’s quite silly to pay $100 per pill to a pharma once you will grow more practical and safer prescribed drugs right in your own residence, balcony, or curtilage. In fact, the word “pharmaceutical” suggests that “plant drugs.” The word “pharma” has identical root utilized in the word “farming,” after all. therefore medicines extremely do have their origins in plants. It’s solely through the atrocious politics of pharmaceutical corporations these days that folks have forgotten the plant origins of drugs. What i am hoping to try and do is assist you come back to to the plants, as a result of the plants have the healing characteristics that we want.

For widespread adoption, we want one thing that works while not soil. Soil works nice for the outside, however if you actually desire a system that works for people that do not have yards, soil is clearly not the thanks to go. There area unit currently plant growing technologies accessible that grow plants much more with efficiency with much better yields than with soil. they are not essentially new, though there area unit some new technologies rising in these fields. i am talking regarding tank farming and aeroponics. tank farming has been around for quite an whereas. it’s the growing of plants in nutrient solutions that haven’t any soil. Basically, you are exposing the plant roots to liquids containing the nutrients required to grow. this can be achieved through Associate in Nursing ebb-and-flow agriculture system, or another agriculture configuration.

You may be shocked to be told that you simply will grow plants while not soil. the fact is that the soil is simply a medium that holds nutrients for the plants. therefore if you get obviate the soil, however still offer the nutrients to the plant roots, they are going to be simply fine. In fact, you’ll be able to increase yields through this method versus growing them in soil. I’ve done this myself in several experiments, within which I’ve planted identical plants in soil vs. a agriculture system. I actually have found a lot of quicker growth and bigger yields in a very agriculture system. agriculture systems do need electricity, and that they take some effort to be told the way to operate properly. however they will be terribly profitable. they are additionally much more moveable than growing plants in soil, as a result of it’s easier to maneuver a receptacle, a timer, and a pump than it’s to maneuver four hundred lbs of soil.

If you would like to spice up yields on the far side those achieved by agriculture systems, a stronger system to use is Associate in Nursing aeroponic system. this can be what you see at the Epcot Center in American state, wherever agriculture scientists area unit victimisation this technology to grow vertical stands of plants. They basically spray the roots with a nutrient resolution on regular intervals.

Spraying the roots of a plant each quarter-hour with this nutrient resolution has benefits over the agriculture approach, as a result of you are able to make even additional expanse between the nutrients in your liquids and also the roots of the plant. In my expertise, Associate in Nursing aeroponic system produces considerably bigger yields than the agriculture system. If you’re thinking that regarding what is chargeable for that increase, you understand that it is the bigger expanse of the smaller droplets of water being sprayed on the roots.

You can purchase home-built aeroponic systems on the web. None of them area unit extremely elegant, however they work, and that they do turn out outstanding plant yields. Right now, i am growing tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, herbs, strawberries and even watermelons on aeroponic systems. Plant growth is extremely aggressive, though i’m having some challenges obtaining the tomato plants to fruit (it’s in all probability simply a nutrient oversight on my half, thanks to my relative ignorance in plant chemistry).

When i am able to retire these plants for the season, i am going to snap some photos of the foundation mass to indicate y
ou simply however effectively aeroponic growth systems are often. you will be completely astonied at however quickly and sharply these plant root networks will grow.

The bottom line here is that i feel home-grown plants area unit aiming to create an enormous comeback within the years ahead, and we’re aiming to see nutrient-rich styles of plants (like red carrots with lycopene) that treat and forestall chronic unwellness, in addition to new technologies that permit hands-free cultivation of healing plants. After all, World Health Organization has to build a $100 million drug manufacturing plant once nature will manufacture all the medication you wish for the value of one or two of seeds? I say, let nature build the medicines.

Hydroponic growing leads to tastier vegetables

Growing vegetables hydroponically leads to a more expensive, but tastier veggie, cumberlink.com reports.

Hydroponic growing leads to tastier vegetablesTomatoes are the king crop in hydroponics because of the demand for them in early spring and late fall when field tomatoes aren’t available. The challenge is to sell them at $2.99 per pound when field tomatoes are going for 99 cents, says Mark Toigo, 42, who has run hydroponic greenhouses for the last 15 years, among other duties, at the family-owned Toigo Orchards in Southampton Township, Cumberland County. Hydroponic grower Barb Rose, 52, co-owner of Beck-n-Rose of North Middleton Township, agrees with Toigo. She also developed a niche market in the last three years — a few chefs at “better restaurants who care what tomatoes look and taste like,” Rose says. She counts among her customers Fetter Brookside Market south of Carlisle, Mountain Lakes west of Carlisle, Oak Grove Farms of Mechanicsburg and the Butcher Shop in Chambersburg. For next season, all Beck-n-Rose produce is committed to current customers, says Rose, a former marketing manager for a start-up software company that sold last year for $40 million. “You do need to be a manager and a marketer” to be profitable, Toigo says, raising his voice above the half-dozen four-foot-wide fans that ventilate his 90- by 130-foot greenhouse off South Mountain Estates Road. He steps over piles of vines on the concrete greenhouse floor, the result of cropping the tops off tomato plants that have the last of the crop ripening on the vines. He will plant new tomato vines again in January for harvest beginning in April. Although growers would like to produce tomatoes through the winter, year-round tomato production isn’t feasible this far north. They say it doesn’t have the flavor of food grown in soil,” says Brubeck, who sells mostly to restaurants and to some grocery stores in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties.

Original source:
http://www.cumberlink.com/articles/2005/08/07/business/busi01.txt

Indian family makes a breakthrough in hydroponics

by Mike Adams

Hydroponics, the practice of growing plants in water instead of soil, received a giant lift from a New Delhi family that created a purely organic nutrient mix that has sustained tomatoes and Arjun.

Original source:
http://www.business-standard.com/common/storypage.php?storyflag=y&leftnm=lmnu5&leftindx=5&lselect=2&chklogin=N&autono=202585

Detailshydroponic tomatoes Indian family makes a breakthrough in hydroponics

Indian family makes a breakthrough in hydroponics Indian family makes a breakthrough in hydroponicsAn Indian hobbyist has created a purely organic nutrient mixture for growing plants in water. Although it is still an evolving science, hydroponic agriculture (growing plants in water solution rather than soil) is spreading fast the world over. The nutritional requirement of the plants in this system of soilless farming is met by the nutrient mixtures, called hydroponics fertiliser mixtures, added to the water in which the plant roots are kept submerged. These mixtures are made of chemical plant nutrients. A breakthrough has now been achieved by an Indian hydroponics hobbyist in creating a purely organic nutrient mixture for growing plants in water. This wholly chemical-free plant growth solution has been tested successfully for growing several plants, including common vegetables like tomato and arbi and some high value medicinal plants like Brahmi, Arjun and Cineraria. Indeed, a good deal of research is underway in this system of soilless farming in the US and Europe but not much headway has been made anywhere in organic hydroponics. Of course, some hydroponics enthusiasts abroad have been experimenting with various kinds of organic manures and mixtures of plants, but successful and commercially viable organic hydroponics models are still not available. His daughter, Shweta Singh, a Delhi University botany student, has been assisting him in discovering and further improving the biofertiliser mixture for growing plants in ordinary water. “I will work on it for a couple of years more before thinking of launching commercial production of this bio-fertiliser for hydroponics. However, if some government organisation, such as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), comes forward, I am willing to cooperate with it in promoting organic hydroponics in India,” he says. He believes that nearly 200 commercially important plants can be grown by hydroponics technique.

Source: Article taken from Natural News, only for information purpose

Hydroponics for Home Gardeners

By: J. Raymond Kessler Jr., Extension Specialist, Associate Professor; J. David Williams, Department Head and former Extension Specialist; and Robyn Howe, Undergraduate Student, all in Horticulture, Auburn University

Hydroponics1For centuries, civilizations throughout the world have experimented with soilless gardening, from the ancient Babylonians to the Aztec Indians. Marco Polo spoke of China’s magnificent floating gardens, and there is documentation that the Egyptians practiced primitive hydroponics. It was not until the 1930s, however, that this “new” form of gardening began to receive notice due to the notable experimentation of Dr. W.E. Gericke of the University of California. Gericke, often called the “father of modern hydroponics,” coined the term hydroponics, which literally means “working with water.” Since that time, many developments have been made, and hydroponic gardening continues to grow and thrive in popularity and usage.

Hydroponics is, simply put, growing plants without soil. The discovery was made years ago that it was not the actual soil that plants need to grow is the mineral nutrients held by soil particles or those unleashed through the action of bacteria and worms. The nutrients slowly dissolve in the surrounding soil-water solution, and the roots then absorb the nutrients from the soil-water. All plants have the same basic needs whether they are grown in soil or not. When the plant’s nutritional needs are met, soil is no longer necessary. In fact, the soil may harbor pathogens and other organisms that could harm the plant. In hydroponics, all the nutrients are supplied in a water solution that passes over the roots or floods around them at regular intervals. Plants often grow faster in a hydroponic system because nutrients are immediately available and therefore can be assimilated faster.Hydroponics2

When experimenting with hydroponics, as with all other gardening techniques, it is important that the gardener know the basic physiology of the plant that is, how the plant works. Plants use their roots to draw in water and minerals that are trans-ported upward into the leaves. They also take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide in respiration.

The leaves absorb energy during the day from sun-light and take up carbon dioxide from the air. The water from the roots, the carbon dioxide, and the light energy combine to form carbohydrates such as sugar. The plant then releases oxygen back into the atmosphere. These actions, aided by the nutrients gleaned from absorbed minerals, complete the process of photosynthesis, providing the energy and raw materials for growth. At night, the process reverses in the leaves. Carbohydrates break down, releasing the energy needed to create new leaves, stems, and roots, and carbon dioxide is released.

Hydroponics3Plants, much like human beings and animals, re-quire water, air, food, light, and warmth in order to perform these essential physiological processes and, as a result, to grow and reproduce. The basic hydroponic system should fill the needs of the plant’s roots just as the earth would by providing support, oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange (via the substrate), and water and nutrients (via the nutrient solution). Adequate light and warmth complete the minimal requirements for successful hydroponic plant growth.

Substrate

In order to serve as a suitable replacement for soil, the substrate must be capable of supporting the root system and holding moisture and nutrients. It should be inert, free of insects and diseases, and not easily broken down. Also, the substrate should allow adequate aeration of the roots and have good drainage qualities. Plants need sufficient access to oxygen in the air in order to grow and take up water and nutrients. Poor drainage can lead to de-creased growth, stunting, wilting, and discoloration of the leaves and, in the worst cases, “drowning.” Hydroponics4

Several commonly used substrates are coarse sand (ask for washed river sand), gravel, perlite, coarse vermiculite, and rock wool. Perlite and coarse vermiculite are good choices because they are sterile, uniform, and readily available in garden centers. Sand and gravel also work well but should be washed thoroughly before planting to remove lime or other impurities.

Water

Mature plants process a surprisingly large amount of water. For instance, a fully grown to mato plant may use up to 2⁄3gallon of water a day. An inadequate water supply is the most limiting factor to plant growth. Water deficiencies can cause the plant to spend all its available energy on developing an extensive root system, the result being a small, stunted shoot. For this reason, it is important that the media be flooded, and subsequently drained, one to three times daily or as often as necessary to keep the roots moist.

Light

The amount of light required varies from plant to plant. Most fruiting plants such as corn, tomatoes, and peppers need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight a day. If these plants are grown indoors, an artificial light must be used to provide high light intensity without causing the temperature to rise above acceptable levels. This situation may be difficult to achieve. On the other hand, many ornamental and foliage plants require less sunlight than fruiting plants do and therefore perform very well indoors. One common error in applying hydroponics is trying to grow plants in reduced light when full sun is required.

Temperature

Hydroponics5Warm-season plants perform best when the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees F during the day and 60 to 70 degrees F at night. Cool-season plants generally require temperatures approximately 10 degrees lower than those suitable for warm-season plants. Above or below this range, plant growth will slow dramatically. Therefore, it is important that these temperatures be maintained whenever possible.

Nutrients

The key ingredient in the recipe for successful hydroponic gardening is the nutrient solution. In traditional soil-based gardening, the plant receives fertilizer from the slow breakdown of organic materials and the release of mineral nutrients in the soil. Hydroponic systems provide readily available, water-soluble minerals directly to the roots in a complete and balanced solution, thus eliminating the need for soil.

There are sixteen elements needed for plant growth. Plants extract several of these elements, such as oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, from water and air. The rest of the elements must be supplied through the nutrient solution.

The primary macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). The secondary macro-nutrients are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). These distinctions are made based on how much of each nutrient plants need. Micronutrients, or trace elements, such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and chlorine (Cl) are used in very small amounts by plants, hence the name micronutrients. Micronutrients are sometimes present as impurities in the water and in the solid substrate.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is central to the development of new leaves and stems as well as to overall growth and performance. An overabundance of nitrogen causes soft, weak growth and possible delay of fruit and flower production. Symptoms of nitrogen deficiency are yellowing leaves and weak, spindly growth.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is used by the plant in photosynthesis and in the production of flowers and seeds. It also encourages strong root growth. When phosphorus levels are low, the older leaves begin to turn deep green and develop brown or purple dis-coloration. Other symptoms may be stunted growth and chlorosis, or yellowing, of the lower leaves.

Potassium

Potassium is necessary during all stages of growth, particularly during fruit development. It is involved in the manufacture of sugars, starches, and chlorophyll. Potassium helps the plant make good use of air and water by regulating stomatal openings in the leaves and also helps build strong roots. Deficiency symptoms are mottling and yellowing of older leaves, generally along the margins, and flower and fruit drop. Hydroponics6

Calcium

Calcium is used by the plant in the manufacture and growth of cells. It also acts as a buffer for excess nutrients in soil. Calcium deficiency is recognizable by the curling and stunting of young leaves and dieback of the shoot tip. Too much calcium can stunt the growth of a young plant.

Magnesium

Magnesium is fundamental in the absorption of light energy and is central to the structure of the chlorophyll molecule. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include curled leaf margins, yellowing of older leaves (veins remain green), and, eventually, bright green coloration of the growing tips.

Nutrient Solutions

The elements needed for successful hydroponic growth are widely available in premixed form from gardening catalogs, garden centers, fertilizer companies, and hydroponic supply companies. Most hydroponics amateurs will rely on these commercially available mixes rather than preparing their own solutions at home.

However, for those enthusiasts who are willing to mix their own, the extra time and effort may offer more precise nutrient combinations for specific plants, as well as provide an opportunity for experimentation. Many nutrient solution recipes have been developed, some for general use and others for specific plants, and no one recipe is better for all plants than another. Hydroponic nutrient solutions contain several water-soluble, nutritive salts that can be purchased at fertilizer companies, green-house supply companies, and chemical companies.

The primary and secondary macronutrient salts are usually mixed in a large volume of water at a concentration ready to use on plants. The micronutrients are mixed as separate concentrated solutions that are then added in a measured amount to the macronutrient solution.

To make your own solution, mix 10 gallons of macronutrient solution according to the recipe in either Table 1 or Table 2. Nutrient solution No. 1 is more appropriate for slow-growing plants and plants growing under low light intensity, such as foliage plants. Nutrient solution No. 2 is more appropriate for rapidly growing plants and plants under high light intensity, especially vegetables. Next, mix the following two micronutrient solutions, and add each to the macronutrient solution.

• Mix 7.6 grams (11⁄4level teaspoons) of boric acid (H3BO4) and 0.6 grams (1⁄10teaspoon) of manganese chloride (MnCl2• 4H2O) in 1 quart of water.

Use 1⁄2cup of this solution for 10 gallons of macro-nutrient solution.

• Mix 3 grams (1⁄2level teaspoon) of chelated iron (NaFe EDTA) in 1 quart of water. Use 1 3⁄5cup of this solution for 10 gallons of macronutrient solution.

After mixing the nutrient solutions together, check the pH. (Meters for measuring pH can be purchased from garden and hydroponic supply companies.) Most plants grow well in a slightly acidic solution with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. If the solution is too alkaline (pH greater than 7.0), add a few drops of white vinegar per gallon, stir, and recheck the pH. If the solution is to acidic, add a small amount of baking soda per gallon to increase the pH. Continue rechecking and making adjustments until the desired pH level is reached.

The nutrient solution can be reused for 10 to 14 days when applied one to three times a day. At the end of this period, flood the substrate with clean water and drain it several times to wash out any accumulated materials. Mix and add a new solution.

Simple Hydroponic Systems

The simplest hydroponic system for beginners is a non recycling system consisting of a well-drained container filled with an acceptable A larger-scale version of the recycling method involves using a container that has a hose and an outlet an inch or two from its base. The container must be raised off the floor and tilted so that the nutrient solution drains through the outlet into a receptacle. These simple hand-fed methods work best with small-scale systems. For larger systems, a submersible pump can be used to pump the solution back into the container from the receptacle substrate. The nutrient solution is mixed, and then it is applied one to three times daily, using a simple watering can. The excess solution drains away and is lost.

A more economical technique is the recycling method, which involves collecting and reusing excess solution. The simplest version of this technique involves placing a large dish under the plant container to catch the solution and then pouring the solution back over the plant at regular intervals.

In addition to the systems that require a substrate, there are non aggregate methods such as water culture and aeroponics. In water culture, the plant’s roots are kept submerged in the nutrient solution. The plants are supported by a grid of wire, rope, or string or by coarse screening. This method, however, introduces aeration problems and re-quires an aquarium pump to bubble oxygen into the nutrient solution.

One simple version of water culture for a single plant consists of using a pint- to quart-sized glass or plastic bottle or jar that has a stopper or lid with two holes in it. The stem of a young plant is passed through one hole so that the plant is held above the nutrient solution and the roots are in the nutrient solution. The plant’s stem is surrounded with cotton for support. The nutrient solution is aerated by an aquarium pump. The plastic tube from the pump is passed through the second hole in the lid and into the nutrient solution. The container is covered with aluminum foil to keep light off the root system.

In aeroponics, the plant’s roots are suspended in air and are regularly misted with a fine spray of nutrient solution. Misting must occur often enough to cover the roots with a constant film of nutrient solution at all times. The misting chamber must be kept dark so algae does not grow and compete with the roots. This method requires more mechanical and electrical sophistication than the previous methods do. The methods that use a substrate are generally less expensive, are easier to transplant from, and have fewer difficulties than the water or aeroponics methods do.

Getting Started

It is important that the beginner keep in mind that hydroponics is not the perfect solution to all gardening woes. There are pros and cons to both traditional soil-based gardening and hydroponics. One major disadvantage of hydroponics is the commitment of time and energy necessary for success. Soilless gardening is much more exacting than traditional gardening and may overwhelm the novice gardener if too complex a system is implemented.

Begin with a small project such as an herb garden to get a feel for hydroponics, and, as your knowledge and comfort increase, move on to a more elaborate system.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System