Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil. It generally uses less water as compared to traditional soil system. It allows faster growth and higher yield.
William Frederick Gericke is known as father of hydroponics. He grew tomato vines in his backyard in nutrient solution.
The nutrients used in hydroponics include fish and poultry excreta , duck manure, chemical fertilizers, artificial nutrient solution etc.
Plants are commonly grown hydroponically in a greenhouse, on inert media, include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuces, and cannabis, usually for commercial use, and Arabidopsis thaliana, which serves as a model organism in plant science and genetics.
- Does not require soil for cultivation.
- Promotes faster and efficient plant growth.
- It uses less water as compared to conventionally grown plants. Hence, helps to save water.
- It does not depend on climate for favourable growing conditions.
- Saves labour due to automatic watering and fertilizing capability.
- Have fewer pest can can be grown closely.
- The plant has less root and nutrient competition than grown in soil.
There are six main types of hydroponic system for garden: wicking, deep water culture (DWC), nutrient film technique (NFT), ebb and flow, aeroponics, and drip systems.
- Involves high installation cost.
- Need to test the solution frequently to avoid infection and damage.
- System are prone to equipment failure and power outage.
- Prone to water borne infection.
- Requires constant monitoring and assistance.
Some systems, known as aquaponics involves use of nutrient-rich wastewater from aquaculture to fertilize hydroponic plants. Freshwater fish, such as tilapia, and crayfish are common aquatic animals utilized for these hybrid systems.
Nowadays, hydroponics is being implemented in large scale as a start up to meet the demand of fresh leafy vegetables as is a part of urban farming.