The hydroponic farming cost and its sustainability depends on the efficient application and monitoring of the plant nutrients. Details about all hydroponic plant nutrients and how their quantity in the nutrient solution affects the growth of a plant and its output. Learn how pH affects the absorption of optimum nutrients in hydroponics.
The hydroponics chemicals can be either organic or inorganic but both are dissolved in water to get a nutrient rich water solution. The hydroponics chemicals are available in solid or liquid form. The solid form is easier for transportation but the liquid form is easier for the plants grower. All types of hydroponics chemicals are available freely and at reasonably affordable costs.
Various types of inorganic hydroponics chemicals are mixed in a calculated proportion to make the ideal hydroponic system nutrient solution. Hydroponic grow is a method of supplying mineral nutrients to plant roots by holding them upright using an inert medium and unlike traditional farming there is no use of soil. Coconut coir is the cheapest of all the inert mediums and it does not interfere in the composition of the liquid nutrients.
As more and more people get interested in the idea of hydroponic food production the hydroponic farming cost will become lesser and lesser due to availability of cheaper hydroponics chemicals. The hydroponic system usually consists of an inert medium, a planting cup, plastic tubes, a reservoir tank, a submersible pump and a simple timer. An air pump is sometimes used to create air bubbles in the nutrient tank. The oxygenated nutrient solution helps in better plant roots growth.
As the number of enterprises manufacturing hydroponic system nutrient solution increases the hydroponic farming sustainability also increases. The grow cycle is managed either using organic fertilizers or chemical fertilizers which are called liquid nutrients. Advanced nutrients are used in the hydroponic system when food production is done on commercial scale.
The hydroponics chemicals can be either organic or inorganic and it depends on the choice of the grower. There are many types of hydroponics used to get optimum hydroponic grow cycle but the liquid nutrients used for root growth and plant growth are the same for all methods.
A good hydroponic system nutrient solution normally comes in two portions and is usable for all the stages of plant growth although the proportions may vary. Traditional farming works better with organic fertilizers but the hydroponic grow methods have yet to come to terms with the best use of them. The technique of getting enough energy on root of hydroponic plants is still nascent in regards to these fertilizers.
The hydroponic farming cost can be greatly reduced if growers start making their own mixtures. A hydroponic garden using mineral nutrient solutions can produce economical commercial products. In passive hydroponics there is no flow of water solution and therefore it is also known as static solution culture.
The hydroponic food production idea is here to stay as its benefits are manifold and growing nutrient rich crops in your own garden is a reality. The advantage of aeroponics is growing plants without soil and this method is also called as vertical hydroponics. Space saving is a huge advantage in vertical hydroponics and even the reservoir of nutrient is compact in size.
Due to ease of availability of materials and at affordable prices the hydroponic farming sustainability has been greatly enhanced in recent times. Organic materials can be tried for plant production right from the vegetative growth stage no matter what kind of terrestrial plants are grown.
Using hydroponics chemicals does not harm the environment in any way as no chemicals fall on the ground. Supply of water has to be constant and the nutrients level has to be monitored in all types of systems. If the nutrient levels drops too low in the nutrient tank it may cause damage to the submersible pump.
Care has to be taken while preparing the hydroponic system nutrient solution as the whole development of the plant depends on the proportions and concentration. Soilless environment to grow terrestrial plants in water with the added benefit of shorter life cycle is turning this technique popular among the masses. Plants from hydroponics where the plants roots are supplied with nutrient rich water solution deliver better nutritive value.
Making your own system at home using commercially available materials will reduce the hydroponic farming cost and make your hobby or business more efficient. If you are a beginner just take a container with water and fill it with a nutrient rich water solution and start growing using a planting cup filled with an inert medium like wood fibre or clay pebbles and you don't even require plenty of light. This makes the simplest type of hydroponics.
Everyone can start their own small garden and hydroponic food production will go a long way in dealing with the food shortages especially in the third world countries. Growers are cautioned against the use of metal containers as it requires maintenance but a grow tub is non corrosive and a better choice. Select the hydroponic system that is most convenient and start with liquid nutrients that are readily available.
Getting the best grow cycle in any hydroponic grow endeavor is of prime importance. If you have the hydroponic system with the seed pantry then the hydroponic grow will be maximized and desired grow cycle will be achieved. Root growth has to be the prime focus as the energy on root is the beginning of a boost and there will not be any nutrient deficiency syndromes problem.
You do not require large spaces to achieve hydroponic farming sustainability but just do all the things in an informed manner. The types of the hydroponic grow are the nutrient film technique and top fed deep water culture. In one the flow rates are important and in the other nutrient levels.
The main types of systems are freely available ready made and made to design systems can also be ordered. The small static solution culture hydroponics kit is available at an affordable cost on all online stores.
All types of hydroponic grow commercial products are easy to acquire but you should be able to bear some initial expenses. Vegetative growth in a soilless environment depends on types of plants and the nutrient solution as different species of plants respond in a different manner.
So choose a sunny spot, monitor the water levels, maintain the pH at the sweet spot during the growth stages of the plants and you will get faster growth and high yield even with the simplest form of hydroponic grow method.
And if you are thinking of commercial products go in for advanced nutrients bearing the additional cost and you will not be bothered with pest infection nor stunted growth.
Plants require 14 types of chemicals for healthy growth besides other elements. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulfur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Chlorine (Cl). Together these are called plant nutrients. Normally these are available in the soil. In hydroponics these are dissolved in the water.
Besides these nutrients plants also require other elements like oxygen (O), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen (H) and sunlight. Small amounts of oxygen and hydrogen are absorbed from water or from air by the roots. Carbon dioxide is taken in by leaves from the air.
The plant nutrients are further classified into three categories depending on the proportion of requirement. Macro nutrients (N, P, K) are required in the highest proportion.
Secondary nutrients (Ca, Mg, S) are required proportionately in a lesser quantity.
Micro nutrients (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, Mo, Ni, Cl) are required in a very less or miniscule quantity.
However irrespective of the proportion all are equally essential for the plant health. Certain plant species may require other micro nutrients like Sodium (Na), Selenium (Se), etc. but these are not known in hydroponics.
Plants can uptake only 13 types of nutrients (these are N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, B, Mo, Ni, Cl) from the nutrient solution.
However plants cannot choose the quantity of each individual nutrient from a hydroponic nutrient solution in exact proportion. Plants just taken in required quantity of water and along with it nutrients in supplied concentration.
However some plants may draw a particular nutrient in more quantity than the others. For example leafy greens may draw more nitrogen (N) compared to other nutrients while fruiting plants my draw more of potassium (K) compared to other nutrients.
The proportion of nutrients required varies from plant to plant. Therefore the nutrient solution mix has to be prepared as per the plant requirement.
One type of plant may require more potassium (K) whereas another type may require more phosphorus (P).
However a master mix with the addition of an individual element at the particular plant life stage will work for most hydroponic home growers.
Leafy greens have only one life stage. Flowering plants have two life stages. Fruiting plants have three life stages.
These are commonly referred to as the vegetative stage, flowering stage, and fruiting stage.
Ideally a separate nutrient mix has to be prepared for each stage. The vegetative stage requires higher proportion of Nitrogen (N). The flowering stage requires higher proportion of Phosphorus (P). The fruiting stage requires higher proportion of Potassium (K).
Preparing a master mix and then increasing the proportion of required nutrient at the particular stage is the best method to follow.
The quantity of nutrients a plant draws is proportional to the amount of water it consumes and also depends on the pH of the nutrient solution.
The plants uplift water depending on the weather. Plants draw more water in hot weather and less water in cold weather.
If the concentration of nutrients in the hydroponic solution is too high then the plants will become toxic. This may be visible in drooping or drowsy leaves or the plant will gradually burn turning leaves slowly to yellow.
If the concentration of nutrient solution is too low then plants will start showing nutrient deficiency symptoms.
Initially burning may appear like a deficiency tempting one to increase nutrient concentration which may be drastic. Therefore it is essential to vary the concentration of plant nutrient in hydroponics depending on the season of the year and also depending on the location of the site.
At a pH of around 6.5 most plants are able to draw all nutrients in required proportion. However for optimum performance a pH that best suits a particular type of plant has to be maintained.
Get more details on the importance of pH and how it affects plant performance in the post on hydroponic nutrient parameters (what is TDS EC CF PPM and pH?) from the hydroponics guide.
The efficient use and monitoring of plant nutrients goes a long way towards producing healthy and productive crops. This is the best way of reducing hydroponic farming cost and increasing hydroponic farming sustainability. Better management of the various parameters not only reduces the chances of pest infection but also prevents stunted growth. Both instances can drastically effect hydroponic farming cost and lower the chances of hydroponic farming sustainability.
To monitor the parameters effectively the use of good instruments is necessary. The best quality and most affordable instruments are researched by us and displayed for your convenience. A compromise here of a few dollars can make hydroponic farming very discouraging as the growth of plants can turn out to be disappointing. So don't worry about the few extra dollars you spend as it will payback in the reduced number of headaches. The life span of the cheaper instruments is not only unpredictable but the inaccuracies can swing so much that your garden will be a total mess before the realization hits you.
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