Out of the Scientists Garden: A Story of Water and Food

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Subsequent to this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants. A properly designed NFT system is based on using the right channel slope, the right flow rate, and the right channel length. The main advantage of the NFT system over other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen, and nutrients.

In all other forms of production, there is a conflict between the supply of these requirements, since excessive or deficient amounts of one results in an imbalance of one or both of the others. NFT, because of its design, provides a system where all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time, provided that the simple concept of NFT is always remembered and practised.

The result of these advantages is that higher yields of high-quality produce are obtained over an extended period of cropping.

A downside of NFT is that it has very little buffering against interruptions in the flow e. But, overall, it is probably one of the more productive techniques. The same design characteristics apply to all conventional NFT systems. While slopes along channels of have been recommended, in practice it is difficult to build a base for channels that is sufficiently true to enable nutrient films to flow without ponding in locally depressed areas.

As a consequence, it is recommended that slopes of to are used. The slope may be provided by the floor, benches or racks may hold the channels and provide the required slope. Both methods are used and depend on local requirements, often determined by the site and crop requirements. As a general guide, flow rates for each gully should be one liter per minute.

Flow rates beyond these extremes are often associated with nutritional problems. Depressed growth rates of many crops have been observed when channels exceed 12 meters in length. On rapidly growing crops, tests have indicated that, while oxygen levels remain adequate, nitrogen may be depleted over the length of the gully. As a consequence, channel length should not exceed 10—15 meters.

In situations where this is not possible, the reductions in growth can be eliminated by placing another nutrient feed halfway along the gully and halving the flow rates through each outlet. Aeroponics is a system wherein roots are continuously or discontinuously kept in an environment saturated with fine drops a mist or aerosol of nutrient solution. The method requires no substrate and entails growing plants with their roots suspended in a deep air or growth chamber with the roots periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomized nutrients.

Excellent aeration is the main advantage of aeroponics. Aeroponic techniques have proven to be commercially successful for propagation, seed germination, seed potato production, tomato production, leaf crops, and micro-greens. Another distinct advantage of aeroponics over hydroponics is that any species of plants can be grown in a true aeroponic system because the microenvironment of an aeroponic can be finely controlled.

The limitation of hydroponics is that certain species of plants can only survive for so long in water before they become waterlogged. Aeroponics is also widely used in laboratory studies of plant physiology and plant pathology. Aeroponic techniques have been given special attention from NASA since a mist is easier to handle than a liquid in a zero-gravity environment.

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Fogponics is a derivation of aeroponics wherein the nutrient solution is aerosolized by a diaphragm vibrating at ultrasonic frequencies. The smaller size of the droplets allows them to diffuse through the air more easily, and deliver nutrients to the roots without limiting their access to oxygen. Passive sub-irrigation, also known as passive hydroponics, semi-hydroponics, or hydroculture , [27] is a method wherein plants are grown in an inert porous medium that transports water and fertilizer to the roots by capillary action from a separate reservoir as necessary, reducing labor and providing a constant supply of water to the roots.

In the simplest method, the pot sits in a shallow solution of fertilizer and water or on a capillary mat saturated with nutrient solution. The various hydroponic media available, such as expanded clay and coconut husk, contain more air space than more traditional potting mixes, delivering increased oxygen to the roots, which is important in epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads , whose roots are exposed to the air in nature. Additional advantages of passive hydroponics are the reduction of root rot and the additional ambient humidity provided through evaporations.

Hydroculture compared to traditional farming in terms of crops yield per area in a controlled environment was roughly 10 times more efficient than traditional farming, uses 13 times less water in one crop cycle than traditional farming, but on average uses times more kilojoules per kilogram of energy than traditional farming.

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Water plant -cultivated crocus. Expanded clay pellets. In its simplest form, there is a tray above a reservoir of nutrient solution. Either the tray is filled with growing medium clay granules being the most common and then plant directly or place the pot over medium, stand in the tray. At regular intervals, a simple timer causes a pump to fill the upper tray with nutrient solution, after which the solution drains back down into the reservoir. This keeps the medium regularly flushed with nutrients and air.

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Once the upper tray fills past the drain stop, it begins recirculating the water until the timer turns the pump off, and the water in the upper tray drains back into the reservoirs. In a run-to-waste system, nutrient and water solution is periodically applied to the medium surface. The method was invented in Bengal in ; for this reason it is sometimes referred to as "The Bengal System".

This method can be set up in various configurations. In its simplest form, a nutrient-and-water solution is manually applied one or more times per day to a container of inert growing media, such as rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coco fibre, or sand. In a slightly more complex system, it is automated with a delivery pump, a timer and irrigation tubing to deliver nutrient solution with a delivery frequency that is governed by the key parameters of plant size, plant growing stage, climate, substrate, and substrate conductivity, pH, and water content.

In a commercial setting, watering frequency is multi-factorial and governed by computers or PLCs. Commercial hydroponics production of large plants like tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers uses one form or another of run-to-waste hydroponics. In environmentally responsible uses, the nutrient-rich waste is collected and processed through an on-site filtration system to be used many times, making the system very productive.

Some bonsai are also grown in soil-free substrates typically consisting of akadama , grit, diatomaceous earth and other inorganic components and have their water and nutrients provided in a run-to-waste form. The hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. Traditional methods favor the use of plastic buckets and large containers with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from the centre of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution.

The solution is oxygen saturated by an air pump combined with porous stones. With this method, the plants grow much faster because of the high amount of oxygen that the roots receive.

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Top-fed deep water culture is a technique involving delivering highly oxygenated nutrient solution direct to the root zone of plants. While deep water culture involves the plant roots hanging down into a reservoir of nutrient solution, in top-fed deep water culture the solution is pumped from the reservoir up to the roots top feeding. The water is released over the plant's roots and then runs back into the reservoir below in a constantly recirculating system.

As with deep water culture, there is an airstone in the reservoir that pumps air into the water via a hose from outside the reservoir. The airstone helps add oxygen to the water. Both the airstone and the water pump run 24 hours a day.

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The biggest advantage of top-fed deep water culture over standard deep water culture is increased growth during the first few weeks. With top-fed deep water culture, the roots get easy access to water from the beginning and will grow to the reservoir below much more quickly than with a deep water culture system. Once the roots have reached the reservoir below, there is not a huge advantage with top-fed deep water culture over standard deep water culture.

However, due to the quicker growth in the beginning, grow time can be reduced by a few weeks. A rotary hydroponic garden is a style of commercial hydroponics created within a circular frame which rotates continuously during the entire growth cycle of whatever plant is being grown.

While system specifics vary, systems typically rotate once per hour, giving a plant 24 full turns within the circle each hour period. Within the center of each rotary hydroponic garden can be a high intensity grow light, designed to simulate sunlight, often with the assistance of a mechanized timer. Each day, as the plants rotate, they are periodically watered with a hydroponic growth solution to provide all nutrients necessary for robust growth.

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Due to the plants continuous fight against gravity, plants typically mature much more quickly than when grown in soil or other traditional hydroponic growing systems. One of the most obvious decisions hydroponic farmers have to make is which medium they should use. Different media are appropriate for different growing techniques. Baked clay pellets are suitable for hydroponic systems in which all nutrients are carefully controlled in water solution. The clay pellets are inert, pH -neutral, and do not contain any nutrient value.

This causes the clay to expand, like popcorn, and become porous. It is light in weight, and does not compact over time.

soilstones.com/wp-content/2020-03-14/3710.php The shape of an individual pellet can be irregular or uniform depending on brand and manufacturing process.