Hydroponics 101

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hydroponics

Two types of hydroponics exist. In the first, plants grow in a non-soil medium, such as sand, clay, vermiculite or rock wool, which stabilizes plants and wicks up nutrient solutions. However, what’s known as “true hydroponics” uses no medium, only a water-based solution of plant nutrients.

Hydroponically grown plants get their nutrients from one of six different types of delivery systems that range from straightforward to complex.

  1. Drip System (most commonly used): timer-controlled pump drips growing solution onto the base of each plant
  2. Wick System (simplest system): nutrient solution is drawn up from a reservoir by means of material such as vermiculite or coconut fiber
  3. Ebb and Flow System: growing medium is flooded with nutrient solution via a timer-controlled pump; excess solution flows back into reservoir for reuse
  4. Water Culture System (effective for lettuce production): active system wherein plants float atop nutrient solution while oxygen is pumped into solution to aerate plant roots
  5. Nutrient-Film Technique System (used by commercial farmers): high-tech system in which a constant flow of nutrient solution is pumped over plant roots; with no growing medium, plants are supported in plastic or mesh baskets
  6. Aeroponics System (most sophisticated): plants are suspended in a rack; exposed roots are misted frequently with nutrient solution

There are nine basic elements necessary for plant growth and production. They are:

  1. Nitrogen (N)
  2. Phosphorous (P)
  3. Sulfur (S)
  4. Potassium (K)
  5. Calcium (Ca)
  6. Magnesium (Mg)
  7. Hydrogen (H)
  8. Oxygen (O)
  9. Carbon (C)

There are seven trace elements that are also needed. They are:

  1. Iron (Fe)
  2. Chlorine (Cl)
  3. Manganese (Mn)
  4. Boron (B)
  5. Zinc (Zn)
  6. Copper (Cu)
  7. Molybdenum (Mo)

Learn more about hydroponics and the North Carolina hydroponic farms here.

2 Comments

  1. nativ

    April 3, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Hi, could you please suggest some more sources where I could get reliable information about Blue Planet Nutrients 3-Part High Yield System? Thanks.

  2. Helena

    August 23, 2017 at 5:07 am

    I AM LOOKING FOR A SMALL working HYDROPONIC OR AQUAPONIC FARM TO PURCHASE IN SOUTHEASTERN STAtes thanks 7047858077 trees@carolina.rr.com

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