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Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.

NASA researcher checking hydroponic onions with Bibb lettuce to his left and radishes to the rightResearchers discovered in the 18th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as Inorganic Ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plants will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.

Sunday
Feb192012

Advantages

There are two chief merits of the soil-less cultivation of plants: First, hydroponics may potentially produce much higher crop yields. Second, hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening are not possible.

Following are some of the many other reasons why hydroponics is being adapted around the world (and by De Luz Farms & Nursery) for food production:

  • No soil is needed
  • The water stays in the system and can be reused - thus, lower water costs
  • It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety - thus, lower nutrition costs
  • No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system
  • Stable and high yields
  • Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container's mobility
  • It is easier to harvest
  • No pesticide damage

Today, hydroponics is an established branch of agronomy. Progress has been rapid, and results obtained in various countries have proved it to be thoroughly practical and to have very definite advantages over conventional methods of horticulture.

Sunday
Feb192012

Techniques

The two main types of hydroponics are Solution Culture and Medium Culture. Solution culture does not use a solid medium for the roots, just the nutrient solution.

De Luz Farms & Nursery uses the solution culture technique. There are two main types of hydrodponics using the Solution Culture technique: Static Solution Culture and Continuous-Flow Solution Culture.

In the Static Solution Culture, plants are grown in containers of a nutrient solution. In the Continuous-Flow Solution Culture, the nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots.

De Luz Farms & Nursery uses the Continuous-Flow Solution Culture technique in its state-of-the-art Greenhouse.

Sunday
Feb192012

Continuous-flow

In continuous-flow solution culture, the nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots. It is much easier to automate than the static solution culture because sampling and adjustments to the temperature and nutrient concentrations can be made in a large storage tank that has potential to serve thousands of plants. A popular variation is the nutrient film technique (or NFT).

We use a propriatory hybrid system, which is a combination of Continuous-flow Solution Culture and NFT.