Hydroponics vs Aquaponics vs Aeroponics
All three are techniques of growing different species of plants without making the use of ground soil. The roots of plants are semi dipped in water containing the plant nutrients or just exposed to the atmosphere or air and watered using sprays of mist. All three techniques of growing plants require containers or horizontal or vertical channels to hold the plants and also to feed the plant nutrients. In most cases plastic cups called netpots filled with some inert medium are used to hold the plants in a steady position.
Each technique has its advantages and drawbacks and it is up to the discretion of the grower to choose the method that suits his purpose the best. A researched and practical comparison is made here and all the major factors have been covered to help you make an informed decision.
This is the basic technique of this type of plant cultivation and involves a simple process of growing plants by keeping their roots semi dipped in a water solution that contains all the nutrients required by the plants. A basic hydroponics DIY project can be carried out on an experimental basis by just using some plastic bottles and cups filled with coco peat. This may not give high yield but is a good learning experience and it can be done without spending any money.
A better hydroponics system can be built using some containers. A still better system includes the use of plastic channels or pipes. Other materials that are required are a reservoir tank, some flexible pipes, cups or netpots, some kind of inert grow medium like coconut choir or pebbles or coco peat etc., a submersible water pump, a simple timer and optionally a small air pump. If you love the activity you can always proceed by investing some more money and buy a ready made system.
The most widely used systems and materials recommended by satisfactory users are displayed on this page which you can buy from the online store. There are number of hydroponic systems which are discussed in complete detail in the post types of hydroponic systems and you are advised to read the same.
In this method of hydroponics technique the plants are grown using vertical channels. The vertical channels called towers are designed to hold the plastic cups or netpots filled with the inert medium and which will keep the plants steady. The roots of the plants are not dipped in any water solution but are completely exposed to the atmosphere or air inside the towers or vertical channels.
The nutrient solution reservoir forms the base and holds the tower in a steady position. Water is pumped from the water solution tank periodically using a submersible pump and sprayed on the roots from the top of the tower in the form of fine mist. The intervals of spraying the rich nutrient solution are controlled by using a simple timer.
This technique felicitates growing around ten times more plants in a given area and thus space saving reduces the cost of food production. The requirement of uninterrupted electricity supply makes it necessary to invest in power backup equipment. However depending on the needs and restrictions faced by the grower and the space saving factor this type of plant growing is still sustainable.
To make the hydroponics grow system more economical it can be amalgamated with the activity of fish farming or in some rare cases with other animals farming. This combined activity or method is called aquaponics. The waste generated by the fish is good fertilizer for the plants. However this fish waste is in the form of chemical compounds that cannot be absorbed by the plants. Therefore the chemical compounds have to be broken down into mineral forms that plants can absorb. This is done by using special equipment and the process is called nitrification.
The processed water forming the rich nutrient solution is fed to the roots of plants and the high energy on the plant roots gives faster growth and higher yields. As the nutrients in the water solution are absorbed by the plant roots the water gets purified which in turn is fed back to the fish tank. So the waste of the first system becomes the energy of the second system and the dilution of the latter system becomes a clean solution for the former.
This is a very environmentally friendly way of farming that reduces costs and increases sustainability.
Benefits Of Quality Materials
The use of quality materials and instruments goes a long way in making hydroponic cultivation of plants a pleasurable experience. Beginning with bad materials and poor quality instruments has been the bane of majority of the enthusiastic growers. Poor plant growth or stunted growth or pest infection due to lack of correct monitoring of the parameters has been the most common reason. And all this started with the use of poor quality materials and instruments that misled by giving inaccurate readings.
The life of cheaper materials is short and the cheaper instruments do not last long. Experimenting with cheaper things in the beginning always ends up spending more than the cost of the costlier but quality equipments. This page provides information on the best and most affordable items required to start a hydroponic garden and the selection is based on price as well as recommendations from satisfied users.
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