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Hydroponics is a method of cultivating plants without using soil. This is its difference from the classical method of plant growing, where the soil acts both as a support for the plant and as a source of nutrients.
In specialized stores you can buy hydroponic solutions. There are several types of them, since different plants require their own sets of minerals for a full life. Although, with some experience, the nutrient solution can be prepared independently.
Hydroponics can be practiced not only on an industrial scale, but also at home. Ready-made hydroponic installations are available for sale, but you can assemble the hydroponic system yourself if you wish.
Home-made hydroponic installation
For this purpose, you can take a regular plastic basin, which is sold in any hardware supermarket. It will serve as a container for the nutrient solution.
In the pelvic floor, a hole must be made through which will occur discharge of spent nutrient solution. To simplify this procedure, a tap is inserted into the resulting hole. It can be purchased at the plumbing store. The crane installation location must be sealed. For this purpose, water-repellent sealant, which is sold in building materials stores, is suitable. Otherwise, the nutrient solution will leak out of the pelvis.
Next, you need to do pot holder. To do this, foam polystyrene with a thickness of five centimeters is suitable. From it it is necessary to cut a circle along the diameter of the pelvis. The diameter of the foam circle should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the pelvis, otherwise problems may arise when trying to place it in the pelvis.
After that, it is necessary to make holes in the resulting foam plastic retainer into which the hydroponic pots will subsequently be installed. For this purpose, disposable plastic glasses may fit.
The next step is the selection of the substrate on which cultivated plants will grow. Pebbles, vermiculite, or perlite are well suited for this purpose. Pebbles can be independently collected on the shore of a reservoir or purchased at a pet store. It is used to form the bottom in the aquarium, but also suitable for hydroponic installation. Vermiculite and perlite can be purchased at gardener stores.
Pebbles are placed in glasses so that they fill the glass by two-thirds. Sphagnum is placed in the remaining free space. It is good because, being a natural material, it perfectly passes water and oxygen. In addition, it also does not rot.
Pots are installed in advance holes in the foam circle. They must be installed so that the nutrient mixture is in contact with the moss and it remains moistened all the time. In order to verify the correct installation of the pots, you can fill the installation with plain water.
The final step will be the sterilization of the hydroponic unit. For this purpose, the already assembled installation is soaked in a solution of potassium permanganate for a day. Then the potassium permanganate merges, and all parts of the installation are washed with clean water. After these procedures, the installation is ready for use.
It is also worth recalling that for normal operation hydroponic compressor, hose and air spray needed. The compressor will supply air to the nutrient solution. Without aeration, plant roots will suffer from oxygen starvation and may die.
Next, take care of the planting material. To do this, you can use either seeds that will germinate in the pots of the plant, or ready-made seedlings grown in ordinary soil.
Preparation for landing
In the case of seeds, no preliminary preparation is required. With plants grown in the soil, have to carry out preparatory work.
It will be necessary to free their roots from the soil. Their roots, together with the soil, are soaked in water. After the roots are free of soil, they should be washed under mild pressure. Only after these procedures can plants be planted in pots. And this also needs to be done correctly. It will be necessary to plant the plants so that the roots are located in the lower part of the moss and they have contact with the nutrient solution.
Can do a smaller version of the installation - such that it fits on the windowsill. It will be possible to grow herbs in the winter season. An additional light source in this case will not be needed. It will be enough sunlight entering through the window.
In the country, the hydroponic unit can be installed in the greenhouse. This will protect plants from overly aggressive exposure to sunlight.
Advantages of the method
The advantages of hydroponics can also be attributed to the fact that using groundless method of crop production, you can grow plants in areas deprived of a suitable soil layer for agriculture and suffering from water scarcity. As a rule, this is a state with a predominant desert landscape. For example, about 70% of fruits and vegetables sold in Israeli markets are grown without the use of soil.
With hydroponics, you can grow not only fruitful plants, but also flower crops. For example, roses and tulips are grown on mineral wool. Plants are not inferior in color saturation to their "soil" counterparts.
Hydroponics successfully functions even in space station conditions. The experiments of American scientists on growing plants on the ISS were successful.
Hydroponically grown vegetables and fruits are environmentally friendly. The plants on which they grew were not chemically treated.
- exact amount of nutrients;
- the absence of pests;
- lack of rot, fungal diseases;
- easy plant transplantation;
- no soil required.
The disadvantages of hydroponics
The disadvantages include:
- the need to acquire nutrient solutions;
- a hydroponic compressor is needed;
- the need for artificial light sources;
- requires more highly qualified personnel.
As a result, the advantages of soilless crop production turned out to be more than disadvantages. From this we can conclude that in the future hydroponics will be widely used.