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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro (water) and ponos (labour)) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil.
  • The two main types of hydroponics are solution culture and medium culture.
  • Gericke originally defined hydroponics as crop growth in mineral nutrient solutions, with no solid medium for the roots.
  • Most hydroponic reservoirs are now built of plastic but other materials have been used including concrete, glass, metal, vegetable solids and wood.

Methods & Cultivation

  • Nutrient Solution Method of hydroponics allows the plant roots to grow in solution containing nutrients.  
  • Gravel Method of hydroponics involves the use of clean sand or washed gravel, free of sand or silt.
  • Hydroponics is highly productive and suitable for automation.
  • The water culture method of hydroponics is a system of immersing plants root totally in a nutrient solution, which is simplest to set up on a small scale.

Application & Technology

  • Aeroponics is an application of hydroponics without a growing medium, although a small amount may be used to germinate the seed or root a cutting.
  • One of the potential applications of hydroponics was growing fresh produce in nonarable areas of the world.
  • The hydroponic application enables powerful accurate and fully automated disease control, environmentally clean water recycling capabilities, potentially enhanced plant health, and substantial reduction in equipment corrosion.
  • In hydroponic application, pumps, lights and ambient heat can warm the reservoir temperatures, leading to plant root and health problems.
  • NFT or Nutrient Film Technique is the pioneering hydroponics system. This technique is quite old, however, it remains quite popular among indoor horticulturist because it's fairly inexpensive to setup and easy to use.

Market

  • In Arizona, there are more than 25 acres of hydroponic greenhouses.
  • The most successful hydroponic market crops are tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • The commercial hydroponics industry has grown four to five fold in the last 10 years and is currently estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000 ha with a farm gate value of $US6 to $US8 billion.
  • Australia is ranked in the top 10 of world commercial hydroponic producers.
  • Reluctance of gowers and retailers to market product under a hydroponic label is one reason why the industry is perceived as being smaller than it actually is.

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