Hydroponic Farming

Market research undertaken by IBIS World’s Hydroponic Crop- Farming revealed that the current annual revenue in this sector would be around $555 million dollars. This sector is dominated by three main companies like Village Farms, Houweling’s-Tomatoes and NatureSweet. These three companies have their own distribution management and agreements with various vendors. Forecasters observe that they would expand further after 2015. Most people would ask what is Hydroponic Farming. Below we have defined it and also explained a few of its basic concepts.

Hydroponic FarmingWhat is this type of farming?

Hydroponics is a branch of hydro-culture and here you grow plants without any soil. Here instead of soil, water and natural minerals are used. Sometimes the roots of few terrestrial plants are developed using gravel or perlite, along with the mineral solution?

Few facts regarding its history

•    The beginning of this type of farming was first explained by Francis Bacon in 1627 when he wrote a book named – Sylva Sylvarum. The book explained the procedure of creating terrestrial plants without the presence of oil.

•    John Woodward researched on this topic and published an article in 1699, which revealed that plants grown in water which enjoyed lesser levels of impurity were healthier than plants which grew in distilled-water.

•    Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop were botanists in Germany, who listed the eight elements needed for a plant to grow, when it was cultivated without using soil base. This then leads to the development of solution-culture and here terrestrial plants were grown in the solution which was rich in eight important nutrients.

•    William Gericke from University of California started promoting the usage of solution culture techniques for production of agricultural products in 1929. He in fact grew big tomato vines which were nearly 25 feet high. Later in 1937 the word hypodermics was first coined.

How is soilless culture defined?

Gericke defined hypodermics as a technique where plants are grown using solutions which are rich in mineral nutrients. This is a subdivision of soilless culture. Experts in the area of agricultural farming are of the opinion that by using hypodermics techniques of farming you can harvest plants which cannot be normally grown due to the present climatic conditions.

What are the different techniques used?

When discussing Hydroponic Farming, you have to understand that two techniques are used here-sub irrigation and top irrigation. Plastic is the most popular material used to create the hydroponic crop farming environment.

•    Sub-irrigation: In this technique the nature of sub-irrigation would be passive and here plants are developed using a porous material. The porosity of the material helps water and important nutrients to travel into the plant roots. This would save you from undertaking excessive labor which you would need, when transporting water constantly to the farming area. The simplest structure would be to place the plant in a solution which is rich in fertilizers.  The root can be placed over a coconut-husk or clay. This simple method would reduce root rot.

•    Top-fed water culture in deep water- This technique is a good example of the latter technique. Solutions rich in nutrients which have been oxygenated are placed in the root area of the plant. Deep water technique would normally have the root of the plants hanging downwards into the solution containing the valuable nutrition’s. The addition of top-feed feature would pump up the solution towards the root area of the plant. Air is constantly pumped into the water and the entire process is re-circulated many times.

What is understood by static-solution culture?

When a plant is grown in plastic buckets, mason jars or tubs and the jars are filled up with nutrient solution, and then the technique is known as static-solution culture. The solution might or might contain air. When the solution does not have any air in it, the roots of the plants would be lowly positioned and this would help them to enjoy good levels of oxygen. You can also cut a small hole into the container and this would help the plants to receive air easily. It is important to understand here that when the plants grow, the reservoir should be changed. You would also need to check the nutrient level in the solution and keep the required level needed.