Agriculture has been most countries’ backbone for centuries upon centuries. When one gets to thinking about raising crops, soil is always a major factor. The idea of growing crops without soil has always mesmerized many people.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is what many savvy growers are electing to use. Unlike traditional gardening, plants grow solely in water but have access to all the nutrients they need. With new players in the market like Agron.io, you are sure to find it easier if you are looking to grow plants indoors with hydroponics.
It is estimated that the market value of hydroponic fruits and vegetables will grow up to USD 27.29 billion by 2022. This can be attributed to the fact that investors have been attracted to this market due to its obvious advantages. Some of them include: increased yields, higher returns on investment and protection of the environment.
Technological advancements have increased productivity and efficiency. This has led to trends in which gardeners have improvised in their soilless gardens. Here is a look at some of the trends which have emerged in 2018.
- Hydroponic Lighting
The sun is an important element when it comes to growing plants. Electrical illumination is chosen by gardeners using indoor lighting to grow crops. There are a lot of choices out there in the type of hydroponic light which gardeners can use.
There are three types of lights which farmers can use in their hydroponic gardens. They include:
– Compact Fluorescent Lighting
– High-Intensity Discharge
– High-Pressure Sodiums
Each of these lighting systems has their own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to each farmer to determine what kind of lighting system best suits their own garden.
Over the next few years, double ended lighting systems will continue to be popular. This is because they increase efficiency and durability.
- Hydroponic Nutrients
Hydroponic nutrients are designed to replace all the macro and micronutrients which are found in the soil. Some of these macro and micronutrients include: potassium, nitrogen-hydrogen, magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.
There are two varieties of hydroponic nutrients: liquid and powdered. The liquid form is the most frequently used because they are easier to use and are highly concentrated. One of the most emergent trends this year is the rise of chemical nutrients which self-buffer to the desired pH levels. Plants need a certain pH range which will make them grow. However, constantly adding acids and bases is not doing any justice to the plants.
Organic self-buffering nutrients such as MES helps plants to maintain a balanced pH. Manufacturers are getting better at combining elements to produce the best results.
- Vertical Hydroponic System
A vertical hydroponic system simply means the growth of plants in a vertical layer. There are stack levels in which plants are grown on each level. This is mostly practiced in urban areas where there is limited space for farming.
The vertical hydroponic system generally reduces the weight which soil adds. It reduces this by at least 30%. If you walked around an urban area you would realize how frequently these gardens are being built on the sides of buildings.
Using this vertical hydroponic tower reduces the amount of water being used. Water circulates meaning there is no runoff.
However, one challenge gardeners face is water flow. Delivering water equally to all levels has proven to be a hassle. There are times when the lower level plants are drowned.
- Hybrid Hydroponic Systems
Hybrid systems have also grown in terms of popularity. Most gardeners are adapting to systems which maximize oxygen utilization and nutrient supply to the roots.
Gardeners are looking forward to the introduction of kits which include everything you need to run a hydroponic system. This includes proper lighting and nutrients for maximum production.
- Micro-Growing for Microgreens
Growing microgreens can actually be a fun thing. They are inexpensive to grow and contain a lot of nutritional value.
Microgreens can be grown inside all year as long as you provide the proper elements for growth. Hydroponic growing is the cleanest form of growing microgreens. You can begin by designing a self- contained hydroponic system in your own kitchen.
Sprouts can be very easy to grow since they require no medium at all. However, this does not mean that microgreens cannot be produced on a large scale. Farmers are using hydroponic systems to grow fodder for their livestock. The fodder grown is cost effective and it offers a nutritious supply to the animals.
- Sustainable Systems (Aquaponics)
The combination of hydroponic gardening and raising fish in the same ecosystem has proven to be beneficial to both. The fish provide organic waste for plants to grow while the plants naturally filter the water for the fish to thrive in.
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