Top 7 Benefits of HYDROPONICS SYSTEM

According to my own experience and real practice from day to day, I would like to claim that this system provides a lot of advantages to both growers and eaters as the followings:

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1. The Hydroponics can be used to grow your vegetables in both dry and rainy seasons in a year, in short every time or season. After we harvest already, we can start to grow the next round immediately because we do not need to do soil breaking or nursery drying at all or soil exposure, cleansing of weed, and preparing for a new planting area. If we grow the same kind of vegetable for the repeated time, it will lead to soil deterioration and so on. But with Hydroponics system, we don’t care about these kinds of problems. The reason is that the food source does not come from the soil but the nutrient solution. In contrast, the method does not depend on any season due to the fact that grower can manage the circumstances. So we can grow the plants all throughout the year non-stop.

2. Our growers can grow the plants everywhere regardless of any area-deserts, mountains, rugged lands or on the rooftop for planting. Today, city and dwellers live in the civilized area and modern lifestyle which need high price. The majority of population living in the limited area such as commercial buildings, town house, condominium, or dormitory. These places have no space for growing any plant s although they wish to plant vegetables for the use of family scale or business. Excitingly, now we can grow vegetables anywhere and whenever we want, with the Hydroponics system. And we can do in any size of the system and put it on a small space such as the side of the window, footpath, roof-deck, or a small area at the back of the house.

3. We can grow plants in the area others never imagine. In general, we carefully select the soil for our growing because we concern about shortage of land fertility, desert soil, rugged area, mountain area, salted area, acidic area, drought area, or the irrigation-less area. Yet stop worrying about these major points. These can solve. Our growers can plant whatever in these kinds of areas with Hydroponics system; fortunately, we have no need to use soil as a food source. The plants have no problems of flooded water, no water losing due to deep absorption, non-recycled flowing, grabbing water with weed, over water quantity usage.

4. The planting with Hydroponics, the vegetables or plants grow fast and instantly, and provide satisfactory yield. With the traditional method, we can’t determine or manage the amount of sufficient nutrient with the plants’ requirement that results in a leaking some nutrients from each process both in the soil and in the air, or grabbing water with the unnecessary organism. Successfully, with Hydroponics system, we can control the nutrient quantity better than planting in the soil. We can check and limit the nutrient quantity matching the plants’ requirement. The plants take the inorganic nutrients on time, so they uptake nutrient adequately. In short, there is no phenomenon of grabbing nutrient with the weed, so your plants or vegetables can grow very fast and provide maximum yield. And when we consider the annual productivity issue, Hydroponics offers more productivity than the other way. The reason is that we can crop earlier, and can grow all over the year continuously not dependently on the season.

5. The system can provide the regular productivity, clean, and good quality of product due to we can control nutrient quantity which plant require, and we can control all of environmental factors. So we get the regular shape, color, and size products. And the product will not touch the soil, so they look clean, and be appetizing. So this kind of plating system is suitable for growing plants which come with regularity and quality such as export vegetable, substituted import vegetable, and vegetable for supermarket.

6. We can save more labor and time and then the conventional method due to the fact that we not need to prepare soil, pouring water, adding nutrient solution, cleaning weed. This system consists of few insects meaning that this system is no favorable to this kind of living thing at all, so we use less labor to take action against them. We can do easier in seed cultivation, transferred planting, preparing planting plot, and also crop harvesting so we use less labor.

7. Very few chemicals are used in this system in the reality that we can control the situation completely. Our growers are much easier to eliminate pests because we do not use soil for planting background. So we have no problem of infected diseases as we grow by soil system, or weed disturbance and interfere. All in all, we are able to cut down chemical use to minimum level.

Shortly, only when we follow ‘’Hydroponics’’, we can receive the healthy and chemical free vegetables all the time. As a bonus all the customers must be satisfied with the result we acquire.

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Organic Hydroponics as a Hybrid Growing Method

Is hydroponics necessarily organic? Is there such a thing as organic hydroponics that produces strictly organic produce? Yes, there is, and it can, by using the hybrid farming method known as bioponics.

Bioponics can be defined as a “hybrid” farming method, as it combines hydroponics practices with organic methods in order to produce the highest quality food.

It might be difficult to balance between these two techniques, each seeming to be significantly unique. Hydroponics is a soilless growing method through which plants are grown in water using mineral solutions. On the contrary, organic production does not involve the use of additive chemicals or manufactured “petro-” fertilizers to feed plants, as they would rely primarily on the natural nutrients of the soil.

Bioponics, like hydroponics, is a soilless, organic production method that provides nutrients to the plants from biological sources – an organic hydroponics growing system!

The combination between these two elements (“organic hydroponics”) has been patented in 2004 by William Texier of General Hydroponics Europe. Texier did your years of research and testing to develop Bio Sevia, an efficient plant feed supplement that can be used in hydroponics and is certifiable for organics. Of course, the nutrient isn’t the only component needed to feed the plants. Indeed, a healthy, well-oxygenated, microbe-rich ecosystem is also required to activate all the biological processes needed.

Bioponics. Hydroponics meet organic Bioponics. Image via GHE.

Bioponics is clearly one of the most sustainable forms of agriculture production, as it’s quite evident that its usage creates many environmental benefits, and its products have the same (or even better) taste, quality and nutritional values as the best organic soil-grown ones.

Organic product: no use of chemical fertilizersSoilless production: less land usage and labor than is associated with soil productionWater efficiency: uses a closed-loop system and require less water than traditional or hydroponics productionHigh levels of nutrients and minerals: essential for the human body providing optimum health and performanceReduced waste: the process recycles nutrients into liquid fertilizersMicrobial population: acts as a barrier against pathogensAffordable: Bioponics requires a fraction of labor hours, water and expenses in “nutritive products” than does hydroponics

Bioponics can also be integrated with other existing food production techniques. It can be used to make aquaponics more sustainable, allowing a system to supply its own feed to raise fish in order to eliminate the dependency on manufactured feed sources.

Bioponics represents a perfect example of how it can be possible to combine the existing techniques with the biological processes in order to provide a sustainable solution to address global challenges like the water and land scarcity or the waste issue, and at the same time produce healthy organic food.

These two agricultural foundations – sustainability and organics – have to be seriously taken into account by producers as they can provide a significant additional value to their production. In fact, there’s a fast growing number of people who are becoming aware of the importance of these two aspects of food production, and who are willing to pay a premium for it. The success of organic foods and the hastening of the development of new sustainable techniques in recent years confirms this trend.

Ultimately, bioponics offers a great alternative for producers, especially for the small-scale growers,  to carve out their space in this niche market. At the same time, it’s a good way for people to reduce their ecological footprint and make a conscious choice to eat healthy.

Organic hydroponics is growing.

.Featured Image: Walt Disney Hydroponics. Image via Antony Pranata.

Adriano Pilloni Adriano, 25 years old, is a Master Graduate in Environmental Economics and Development from Rome Three University (Italy). During his education he developed a deep knowledge on Economics and a keen interest on Economic Theory with particular regard to energy markets, sustainability, environmental and agricultural issues. He has been proactive during his university time doing many projects and being elected by the students as Advisor of the Economics Dept. of his University. With two other students he developed a project on Food Sustainability which has been selected in the top 30 of the international Barilla contest “BCFN YES! 2013”. Now he works in the Extreme Blue Program, the IBM’s premier internship program for both graduate and undergraduate students.

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Top 3 different systems in Hydroponics for indoor planting

This way of planting is so traditional that uses a tray as the growing containers (wood, foam, plastic, or bamboo etc.)

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Here are the steps:

We drill holes at the lid of the container (made of above mentioned) in order to place the plant or growing cup of plant inside. We cover the base of plant with sponge. We place the lid of the container far from the water surface about 1 cm in order to let oxygen enter the water surface. This technique is used openly having both shallow and deep water. We have two ways in this technique.

Deep water technique: the level of water is around18-20 cm.Shallow water technique: the level of water is around 5-10 cm.

We provide aeration with aerator or blower. It provides in the form of dissolved oxygen in the solution. This action looks like aeration in the fish tank. For this technique, there is no water or solution circulation. The deep water has to have more oxygen than the shallow one. When the temperature of the water is rising suddenly, the deep water system can speed down longer than the shallow one.

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Another technique behind Hydroponics

Both Non-circulating and circulating systems are very similar in the way and structure but the difference is that the aeration to the water of solution is done by water or nutrient solution circulation. The technique is a closed system. The water or solution circulation was worked by water overflow the control level. The flowing amount of water is much or less up to the height of the control level and also the speed of water supplied. Both deep and shallow water techniques are useful. For deep water, it is easier in case of water shortage. When the flow rate of water is slow, it is easier to be oxygen deficiency than the fast. With the deep water technique, when the flow rate of water is slow, it seems to lack oxygen easier than the shallow one and the faster flow rate. When there is no enough oxygen, we can solve this problem by lifting the waterfall level higher from the supplying tube or tank, or increasing the flow rate of water. If the water flows too fast, it may harmful to the plants. So we fix air suction tube to this problem. Water or solution circulation is established in many forms such as Soak and Drain, Semi-Deep Nutrient Flow Technique, M-System, or Hyponika technique. The Hyponika technique was developed by Kiewwa Co., Ltd. from Japan and it was brought to demonstrate at ‘Science World Fair Expo 85’ at Tsukuba Tokyo.

If you are looking for the best method in planting according to Hydroponics, you can check and see more step by step in my blog. Beneficially, you can save time and space , and you don’t need to spend more time in preparing the nursery.

 One more technique behind Hydroponics

NFT (Nutrient Flow technique) is the most popular technique consisting of water or solution circulation. The steps for this technique are followings:

Plant’s root is soaked in the gully which the slope of 1-3%. There is water or nutrient solution flowing as thin layer periodically as determined in order to let the plant’s root humid and has sufficient oxygen. This technique was developed by Allen Cooper, the British scientist in 1976.

As the conventional technique, the grower uses the flat gully with 30 cm in width, and 5 cm in height for growing the plants which have big stems such as tomato. Tomato has much root, so it obstructs the water flowing. After that, the supporting mat was developed in order to let the root developing inside it. Including, the growing box was developed also. It was placed on the supporting mat and the root was wrapped with heat reflected plastic in order to protect the heat from the strong sun light. As a bonus, the water or solution is helped with water dropping system.

Many forms of gullies have been developed such as the PVC circular tube and the titanium tube with 608 cm in diameter were brought to be gully. This kind of gully was drilled as the distance we required in order to let the small growing cup to place inside. The grower places the tube with the slope as 1% in order to let the thick layer of solution flow, about 1/2 -1/3 of tube diameter, flowing and stopping for a period of time as required. The grower switches providing water or solutions in the sequence of wetting and drying condition periodically. In the drying stage, plant takes the maximum oxygen. The tube with 15-18 meters in length is used in order to let the plant take oxygen sufficiently. This kind of technique is suitable for small and short life plant such as lettuce, mitsuba, spinach.

Fortunately, you can see every kind of plants and vegetables on the shelves of our markets, at home and wherever we stay. Honestly, we no longer worry about lack of vegetables.

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Italian Think Tank Develops Advanced Floating Hydroponic Jellyfish Barge

It’s evident that the continuous trend of human population growth will lead to an higher global food demand in the coming years. With a projected increase in demand of 60-70% by 2050, greater food production will be required in a context where the raw inputs such as land and water, are limited.

Therefore, food sustainability, which implies a better utilization of these resources to ensure food security, will undoubtedly play a key role in meeting this target. With this said, innovation in the way we produce food is more important than ever. Take for example the advanced floating hydroponic jellyfish barge – one of the more ambitious food production projects.

Currently, many public and private institutions of all sizes, driven both by economic reasons and environmental consciousness, are pushing to implement systems to lower the use of the natural resources. The growing expansion of soil-less productions like hydroponics, as well as the constant interest in the development of water savings techniques, are good examples of how the agricultural sector is making significant efforts towards sustainability.

A game-changing innovation has been recently developed by an Italian design think tank known as PNAT (Plant Nature and Technology). The group was founded by designers and biologists in affiliation with the University of Florence with the aim of merging plants, research, science and creativity. Their most recent – and strangely interesting – project is the floating hydroponic Jellyfish Barge.

Floating hydroponic Jellyfish barge. Image via domusweb.

The barge is basically a self-sustainable floating greenhouse, able to produce food without soil while minimizing water usage. The greenhouse uses a high-efficiency hydroponic cultivation method which provides up to 70% of water savings compared to traditional hydroponics systems.

To provide the required water, the floating module is supplied with seven solar desalination units which are used to replicate natural solar distillation on a smaller scale. In doing so, the solar units are able to provide up to 150 liters of clean water from brackish, salt, or polluted water each day.

The platform of the barge is equipped with an automated system for remote control and monitoring. In addition, the Jellyfish Barge is powered entirely by renewable energy generated by on-board solar panels, miniature wind turbines, and an innovative system that produces power from tidal activity.

The barge structure is made of a wooden base about 70 square meters, which floats on recycled plastic drums and supports a glass greenhouse for crop cultivation. It is built using simple, low-cost materials, but without sacrificing the attention to design. Indeed the structure, besides being useful, is also visually appealing.

Many resorts are looking at it as an excellent way to provide net-zero energy food to their customers. In fact, the Jellyfish Barge can produce up to 800 crops per month, which is enough to supply the needs of a typical restaurant.

Jellyfish barge: how it works. Image via domusweb.

This Italian agricultural project has had great success in Europe, being selected among the finalists of the United Nations prize “UNECE Ideas for change Award.”

The Jellyfish Barge will be docked until September 2015 at San Niccolò Bridge in Florence, and will be presented by the Region of Tuscany at the Expo 2015 in Milan – the Universal exposition with theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

According to PNAT’s CEO, Camilla Pandolfi, this big, complicated raft is going to change the way we cultivate fruits and vegetables. Surely their project provides an attractive, as well as concrete, solution to the resource scarcity issue. It may very well be a central part of the transition toward more sustainable food industry.

Featured Image: Conceptualized Illustration of the Jellyfish Barge as a Hub for Cultural Activity. Image via Seeds & Chips.

Adriano Pilloni Adriano, 25 years old, is a Master Graduate in Environmental Economics and Development from Rome Three University (Italy). During his education he developed a deep knowledge on Economics and a keen interest on Economic Theory with particular regard to energy markets, sustainability, environmental and agricultural issues. He has been proactive during his university time doing many projects and being elected by the students as Advisor of the Economics Dept. of his University. With two other students he developed a project on Food Sustainability which has been selected in the top 30 of the international Barilla contest “BCFN YES! 2013”. Now he works in the Extreme Blue Program, the IBM’s premier internship program for both graduate and undergraduate students.

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What is HYDROPONICS SYSTEM?

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The interesting guideline of Hydroponics

Agricultural system without soil

All the people around the world have been aware of the importance of the agriculture thoroughly because it provides a lot to all, especially for the survival. Yet today and past methods are quite different in planting. Why? The followings are the reasons:

Yesterday, our growers depended entirely on the soil.Today, we do not need soil to plant anymore. We just need tubes or any kind of water container as the nursery and nutrient solution.

The second way of planting is called ‘Hydroponics’.

Why do we need to use Hydroponics?

We have introduced you to do so because of the area size, shortage area, improper physical area such as slope area, too hot or too cold climate, or less rain fall amount or in desert regions, or cold countries. The soil-less system of planting is a type of growing which soil is not used but nutrient in solution form directly. We only use growing tubes or any type of water containers instead of sol. It equipment has to be ideal for vegetable’s growth. Usually, the growers inert the substances and do not supplement any chemical to the plants. With this method, nutrients are provided to the plants. The nutrients, in general, contain necessary substances for each plant and in the acceptable level that plant can take immediately. Apart from this, we have to check regularly the acidic level and the basic value in the suitable level. The growers are worried about the management of all the factors connected with the plants’ growth in order to allow all the elements in the most appropriately. And all in that, the method will gain the maximum yield with the proper environment all the time and forever.

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From generation to generation, the human society has developed, and so does agriculture. But we had used ‘Soil system’; today our scientists have invented new technique for planting the plants and vegetable.

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DIY Straw Bale Gardening

Ive pretty much decided to use my experience with my spiritual healer today as a means of explaining the benefits and challenges of my DIY straw bale gardening project.

Ok, now that everyone has left, we can get on with this honest conversation. Long story short, she mentioned 2 things that can define an individual; compassion and anger. These feelings explain my experience with strawbale gardening.

Let me be clear here. I am a neophite when it comes to this so please; take what I am saying from a beginner standpoint in strawbale cultivation. I am however not a neophyte in regards to traditional and hydroponic cultivation. I feel as if the majority of gardeners have yet to implement strawbale gardens but have heard the rumble and understand the fact that if this method provided everything that it is stated to; we may have a gardening revolution on our hands.

As I mentioned earlier about the healer. I will break this down into 2 sections:

Compassion for straw bale gardeningAnger at straw bale gardening

The first section is compassion. What I mean by this is,”I see strawbale gardening as a means of producing vegitables in a permaculture environment, while at the same time, providing nutrient rich humus for teas and soil amending next year”

This statement is the reason for choosing this method of growing.

As opposed to soil gardens, the composting process continues throughout the winter, beaking down the bales into a rich mix of microbes, nutrients, mycelium and minerals that were once trapped in the strawbale. Soild gardens do well with a layer of dead leaves left to decompose during the off season.

Creating soil, rather than buying and hauling it made all the sense in the world to me as a new homesteader with a limited budget. Each bale cost about $7. The biodiverse soil created by decomposition of the bales would cost about twice that much (at LEAST) if purchased. Buying compost tea and other nutrients would add to the cost tremendously.

Nutrients came into the picture for me as well when making this decision. True permaculture requires no additional salt based NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) addition. Therefor, the fact that the decomposing bales will actually feed the plants just made me wanna go to the CoOp right away and get these bales going. (Which I did)

People often touted the benefits of the bales composition as a means of insect control; stating that the straw would make it difficult for bugs to climb the sides of the bales in search of a free meal. Wow, no bugs either! This is too good to be true! Well, it turns out that the internet is a wonderful place to get STARTED, but as a wise man once said “Experience makes the master”. I’m sure you can probably find a video in which the protagonist is harvesting bars of gold from his strawbale garden, as pixies gently fan him with peacock feathers and serve him organic pomegranate juice. Ok, now that I’m all fired up…

Anger really doesn’t express my true feeling here, but I really wanted to quote my Shamen. Skeptisism would be my ideal term, as I am just now starting the swing of the season with my bales.

I conditioned the bales starting in February using only organic fertilizer and urine. Yup, urine. This is a great time to get into conditioning the bales. There is SO much information on this topic on You Tube is wild. I suggest you watch as many as possible. If you make an amalgam of all of them, and add a few things, you will have success conditioning.

Conditioning of the bales is the process of starting the decomposition process that will eventually feed your plants. Water and nitrogen are added to the bales and soaked every day for 2 weeks. Some use urine in the first few days to kick it all off. There are lots of “recipes” for this, I suggest a google search for the exact increments and measurements .

Day 1: Soak the bales completely through and pee on each one. If you have a lot of bales, you need to have a party. Not to be sexist or anything, but invite mostly guys. I had a hard time getting even the most passionate permaculture females to pee on the bales. ( I am by no means saying that other women wont, this is simply my experience with my friends) Make sure to have a lager beer around, they create the most pee. Serve pretzels to keep everyone thirsty and run the hose after a few beers to get them “motivated”. Assign each person their own bale for consistency in application rates. Everyone seems to pee on the closest bale.

Day 2: Spread 2 cups of Blood Meal on each bale, water in. Cover with tarps to trap moisture.

Day 3:  Spread 2 cups of Blone Meal on each bale, water in. Cover with tarps to trap moisture.

Day 4: Spread 2 cups of Blood Meal on each bale, water in. Cover with tarps to trap moisture.

Day 5: Spread 2 cups of Blood Meal on each bale, water in. Cover with tarps to trap moisture.

Day 6: I started to just use water and cover for a few more days and checked temps.

Day 7: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bales. It can go as high as 120 degrees and if you’re not careful, can actually catch on fire! Yup, anyone out there on the interwebs talking about this fact? The process of decomposition produces a lot of heat, you may even see the bales steaming at night. Make SURE that they stay wet enough to extinguish tinder before they spread. We’ve all heard of hay barn fires from stacking the bales too closely without airflow. They begin to break down and combust. A great way to avoid this is to cover them and use a soaker hose.

Once the bales have calmed down, and the temps drop to 20 degrees above ambient, you’re all set for the next step in this process.

I amended my bales with Cascade Minerals and Bokashi. The minerals are for plant flavor and health. I have to assume that there are minerals trapped in the straw, but in what concentrations? There is no way to really know. I added about 2 cups to each bales and watered it in. at this time, I also inoculated with dry Bokashi.

At this point you are ready to plant. I use a knife and carve a hole in the wet bale. If you condition correctly, you will have an easy time planting. The use of peat pots or manure cups makes this process a breeze. I like to add some soil in the hole before I plant to acclimate the plant.

I had pretty good results with my DIY straw bale gardening projects this spring. Having said that I have found a much more effective method of gardening that is infinitely easier. This method is just as scalable and inexpensive compared to building raised beds; but without some of the challenges you may experience with the bales.

Until next time folks. #organarchist 

Feature image: Berries Growing in Straw, BonniePlants.com, September 19, 2013

John Brazelton My passion for growing healthy, sustainable food has brought me so much joy and knowlege. I look forward to where this adventure takes me.

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Beneficial points of Substrate Culture

What is ‘substrate culture?

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It is an interesting and wanted technique used openly around the world. Why?  Because the grower has a lot of choices to do in many forms of shape, size, and type of growing tray. The beginning cost is low, not difficult to maintain, and can plant long life plants better than water culture.

To assist the plant’s part which are above the growing material standing upright.To stand instead of the nutrient of plants or vegetables.To make water stay for plants.To shift oxygen between plant’s root with space around growing container.

This is another easier way to cultivate plants and vegetables. The environment can be controlled to eliminate both usual and unusual problems. On the other hand, we, grower, can grow by using any kind of media.

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