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Holistic Hydroponics This tutorial is intended to empower you to cultivate nutritious fruits, vegetables, and flowers for personal use or to generate revenue. You will develop an understanding and appreciation for self and life through the acquisition of knowledge of hydroponics and life cycle stages.
What is hydroponics? Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil. An inert growing medium is used to anchor the roots and water with specifically formulated hydroponics nutrients is dripped, cascaded, or misted over the plant roots. Please click on the sound icon to listen to a short audio clip about hydroponics.
Hydroponics History The word hydroponics derives from the Latin words "hydro" (water) and "ponos” (labor)
Hydroponics Considerations Do I really want to do this?
ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS Click on the words air , water , light , and nutrients or click the next button below to gain a better understanding of the key components in the hydroponics process.
air Air is one of the most important factors in the hydroponics process that is overlooked. Excess heat causes moisture to evaporate quickly. To compensate for high temperatures, the air must be moisturized by placing containers with water in the grow area or wetting the grow medium. It is acceptable to spray the plant leaves with water, but not excessively because the plants may contract diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. A temperature of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for most crops. High temperatures will force plants to transpire a disproportionate amount of water to nutrient, resulting in increased nutrient concentrations. This could lead to pH imbalances and nutrient lock-out. Low temperatures will substantially impede plant development.
nutrients All essential nutrients are supplied to hydroponics plants in the form of nutrient solution, which consists of fertilizers salts dissolved in water. The hydroponic grower must have a good knowledge of the plant nutrients because this is the key to success in hydroponic gardening. Hydroponic techniques enable growers to control the availability of essential elements by modifying the nutrient solution to align with the plant growth cycle. and to provide them in balanced amounts. Nutrients are present in ionic forms in the nutrient solution so plants do not need to exert energy to seek nutrients as they do in soil. This leads to faster maturity of hydroponic plants. Two and three part nutrient liquids are ideal because you can mix various concentrations to target the specific growth requirements of your crops at each stage of development.
water Hydroponics is about enriching water with nutrient salts as found naturally in the environment. It is about creating and maintaining a balanced nutrient solution for plants. Hydroponic systems protect the nutrient solution from evaporating and excreting into our environment unlike the runoff from unshielded soil. This approach to water conservation is makes hydroponics ideal for drought stricken regions of the world. Hydroponics is quickly becoming recognized as eco-friendly farming.
light Plant growth is directly affected by the quantity and quality of light received. Light is transmuted to energy that provides fuel for development via a process known as photosynthesis. Chlorophyll gives plants their green hue and is the catalyst that receives energy from light, which activates the process of photosynthesis in which the light energy merges with carbon dioxide and water within the chlorophyll. This creates sugar and oxygen. A metabolic process known as respiration occurs when the plant “inhales” and the sugar becomes oxidized which creates more carbon dioxide, water, and energy for development. The excess oxygen and water are evaporated from the leaves into the air. The quality of light refers to the intensity and spectrum of colors contained within the light. Various shades of light influence plants differently. Depending upon the plant, varied lengths of daylight hours are needed. The interval of daylight required by plants is called the photoperiod. The photoperiod affects reproduction and must be precise to induce the flowering of most species. Different plant types require different The light intensity will vary between plant species. Research the natural environments of the plants you intend to grow in order to reproduce a natural climate.
Practice Exercise PLANT HUMAN death pollination vegetative state transition growth youth infant expansion flowering stage conception harvest maturity adult insemination seedling Drag and drop the word labels into the diagrams below in the correct sequence. Click here for hints.
Team A Team B Team C Team D Team E Each learning team has been assigned a topic to research. Learning teams will collaborate to create a 10 slide PowerPoint presentation that explains each vital component and how it interrelates with the other “ingredients” in the hydroponics process. Include an explanation of the impact of inadequate and excessive amounts of the essential element on vegetation.
There are many variations of hydroponics systems that can efficiently and effectively produce abundant, healthy crops. Aeroponics and bubbleponics are similar methods of soil-free gardening.
opaque plastic storage container airline tubing mesh pots hydroponics nutrients drill inert growing medium PVC pipe air stones water pump Here’s a basic list of items you will need to build a functional hydroponic system. The container size will determine the size of the water pump, air pump, number and size of air stones, PVC pipe size, and the quantity of grow areas within the system. Parts List micro sprayers water pump
References Aztec Farming. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.aztec-indians.com/aztec-farming.html High Point Regional High School. (2011). Hydroponics. Retrieved from www.ciese.org/curriculum/aquaponics/Docs/hydroponicshighpoint.ppt Perez Echeverria, L. (2008). Hydroponics for the home. San Jose: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. Roberto, K. (2003). How-to hydroponics (4th ed.). North Lindenhurst, NY: Futuregarden.