How Does Hydroponics Work?
We have mentioned hydroponics many times on this site but we have never really explained what hydroponics is about. In short, we could call it a cultivation technique that takes place above ground. Hydroponic systems are becoming more and more popular and used thanks to their remarkable ability to adapt to the different situations and needs of the grower.
It seems incredible to think, but thanks to this technique it is now possible to grow vegetables and fruits without the use of soil. Fantastic, isn’t it? Let’s find out together, then, what it is, how it works and what the advantages of hydroponic cultivation are.
What Is Hydroponic Cultivation?
The term “hydroponic” comes from the ancient Greek hýdor (water) and pónos (work) precisely because it is a cultivation without the use of land but in which water plays a fundamental role. For the development of the plant, in fact, a solid inert substrate is used and a nutritive solution rich in mineral salts composed of water – always indispensable – and nutrients, from which the plant obtains everything necessary to grow strong and luxuriant.
This type of cultivation, already used in ancient times, was rediscovered in the 1930s by William Frederick Gericke of the University of California at Berkeley, who promoted it as a solution in agricultural production. In the following decades the hydroponic system was then reworked in a modern way until the crop that we know today and that we are discovering better in this article.
How To Start With Hydroponic Cultivation?
Let’s see together what it takes to start hydroponic cultivation from the comfort of your own home, without the need for specific knowledge in the field. As for the type of fruit or vegetable that you can grow, there are no particular restrictions. In general all plants can be grown with the hydroponic system from tomatoes to herbs to light cannabis. In this case we will take hemp as an example.
DIY Hydroponic Cultivation – What you Need
To start a DIY hydroponic cultivation you first need a dark pot or container (so that they don’t filter the sun’s rays) with an anchor substrate inside (which can consist of expanded clay, rock wool, perlite or vermiculite). The whole must then be placed inside a tank containing the water-based solution for the sustenance of the plant.
As in all things, also in hydroponics it takes patience: the crops follow three different phases of development that correspond to the biological rhythms of the plants. Germination takes between 2 and 14 days, growth lasts about 3 weeks and flowering 6.
Then you need a greenhouse or grow room of the most suitable size for your individual needs, where you can develop the plant that you can also build manually or buy ready.
The Aspects To Be Kept Under Control In A Hydroponic Cultivation
During the hydroponic growing process, four elements must be kept under control in the grow room: light, temperature, humidity and ventilation.
As with traditional cultivation, light plays a fundamental role in hydroponic systems too: plants must receive the right lighting to recreate the light naturally provided by the sun. To do this, it is possible to use special LED lamps, which also allow significant energy savings.
In order to harvest an excellent crop, it is important to regulate the temperature inside the grow room. A parameter that should often be monitored: in the case of hemp cultivation the temperature must be between 21° and 28°C. This can be controlled with a simple thermometer. An extractor fan or air extractor also allows the temperature to rise or fall when necessary.
In a hydroponic growing area the humidity must also be kept under control so that it is neither too high nor too low. For hemp, the ideal percentage would be between 50 and 60% to prevent the growth of mould.
Finally, the fourth and last fundamental aspect to take into account when starting a hydroponic farming is oxygen. Like most plants, in fact, hemp also needs large quantities of oxygen so it is really important to make sure that it receives the right amount of air.
If you are ready to start your hydroponic cultivation today, discover the different models of grow rooms that Growledlamp offers.
What Are The Advantages Of Hydroponic Growing?
Compared to traditional soil and outdoor growing, hydroponics has many advantages. Let’s see them now one by one:
- Possibility to start a cultivation throughout the year
The possibility of growing a plant without having to follow the course of the seasons allows for more harvests during the year, without having to wait for nature’s time.
- Ability to produce large quantities of product
Having more harvests during the year means that the grower can produce a much higher quantity of product.
- Possibility to grow practically everywhere
In fact, hydroponic cultivation can be practised where there is neither suitable soil nor the ideal climate for a traditional crop. It is possible to start a cultivation both in hot and cold places, outdoors or indoors, horizontally or vertically, thus making the most of all spaces.
- More control over resource management and less environmental impact
This type of crop gives you greater control over the water and nutritional resources the plant needs to grow. And this also allows you to save water (up to 80-90% compared to classical techniques) since there is no need to water but it is the system that manages the recirculation of water for several irrigation cycles. An advantage also for the environment since the crop is thus more sustainable than the traditional one.
- Almost total absence of pests
Since there is no soil, in hydroponic cultivation it is possible to have control over the possibility that pests and weeds can affect the plant, limiting the incidence of diseases that could, instead, arise in a classic crop.
- Lower pollution levels
Although hydroponic crops involve the use of electricity and various equipment, the level of pollution produced is still lower than that produced by land crops. Have we convinced you to start your small oasis at hand?