3 23  Hydroponics
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  • 1. Introduction to Horticulture Plant: Digitalis Term: Hydroponics
  • 2. Foxglove Digitalis
    • Plant type: Biennial, Herb,
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4a to 8a
    • Height: 2-5’
    • Exposure: partial shade to full sun
    • Bloom Color: Pink, Purple, White
    • Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer
    • Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Massing, Specimen, Woodland garden
    • All or parts of this plant are poisonous
    • Suitable for cut flowers during 2 nd year
    • Extract used for heart medicine
  • 3. Hydroponics
    • The term "hydroponics" refers to growing crops without soil.
    • Inert medium, such as gravel, water, sand, peat.
    • A nutrient solution is added containing all essential elements needed by the plant.
    • Hydroponic production is very space intensive.
  • 4. Uses
    • Grow almost any herbaceous plant.
    • High value food crops or horticultural plants.
    • Commonly grown crops include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.
    • The crop varieties grown hydroponically are bred specifically for greenhouse production.
  • 5. COMMON HYDROPONIC METHODS
    • Water culture: Crop roots are immersed or bathed in a continuous flow of nutrient solution. Often this is done in beds or troughs within a greenhouse. Tops of plants need supports.
  • 6. COMMON HYDROPONIC METHODS
    • Aggregate culture:
      • Crop plants are grown in a solid media that provides anchorage and support much like soil does.
      • Materials often used as growing media include gravel, sand, perlite, soilless mixes , and rockwool.
      • The media is enclosed in beds, bags or blocks.
      • The nutrient solution is flooded or drip irrigated past the roots.
      • Plant top support is necessary for taller crops.
  • 7. ADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS
    • Grow out of season or zone.
    • Grow at periods of lowest supply. Best prices.
    • Higher crop yields from smaller areas. Planting density is limited only by available light.
    • An example of comparative yields for tomatoes is:
      • Soil grown: 5 to 10 tons per acre;
      • Hydroponic: 60 to 300 tons per acre.
  • 8. More ADVANTAGES
    • Plants can mature faster and more evenly
    • Crops can be vine-ripened and sold immediately.
    • Soil-borne insect and disease problems are reduced
    • Crops do not need to be rotated.
    • Crops do not need to be cultivated or weeded.
    • Nutrient application timing and nutrient quantities can be custom tailored to a particular crop's specific needs.
  • 9. DISADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS
    • Costs
      • The initial investment is high
      • Specialized equipment
      • Greenhouse heating can be quite expensive in the winter months.
    • More skill is required than for traditional methods.
    • The grower/operator must be highly trained in plant nutrition and system operation and maintenance .
  • 10. Movie
    • Hydroponic lettuce
  • 11. Fertilizer levels
    • Monitored through EC readings
    • EC = electric conductivity
    • Gives a general reading of the solute content of a liquid
    • Each fertilizer is different
    • Read the label
    • Peters Excel = ?
  • 12. Fertilizer Ratios
    • Use water soluble fertilizer
    • Want ~ 50 ppm N for constant flow irrigation
    • Fertilizer is 20-10-20
    • Tub holds 50 gal, how much fertilizer should be added?
    • Conversions
      • 1 PPM = .0038g/gal
      • 28g = 1 oz
  • 13. Calculate
    • 1 PPM = .0038g/gal, 28g = 1 oz
    • 1 ppm = .0038 ÷ 28 = ? oz/gal
    • 1 ppm = .0001357oz/gal
    • 50 ppm = 50 X .0001357 = ? Oz/gal
    • .006785oz/gal x 50 gal = ? Oz N
    • Fertilizer is 20% N
    • 0 .34 oz of N ÷ 20% = ?oz total fertilizer
    • 1.7 oz fertilizer
  • 14. Our tanks
    • Flow tube
    • Ebb & Flood beds
    • 50 or 100 gal tanks
    • Weigh and add fertilizer
    • Check EC and compare