Hydroponics greenhouse gardening is the latest craze in agriculture with all signs of becoming a staple sector in the industry and for good reasons, too.
- For one thing, it provides for organic produce sans the presence of soil and almost everything associated with soil agriculture like erosion, runoffs and pollution.
- For another thing, everybody with two hands and a brain can engage in hydroponics even in their own basements.
Your first step in hydroponics is to acquire relevant information even before starting on the project, no matter its scale.
- One of the first things to learn is the composition of the nutrient solution upon which the plants are grown.
- Don't worry about technically complicated concepts as the nutrient solution is an easy one to understand.
Nutrient Solution Composition in General
Just like soil-based agriculture, hydroponic greenhouse gardening also relies on nutrients to be absorbed by the plants for proper growth. The main difference between the two methods is the source of these nutrients - while conventional gardening relies on soil, sun and water for the nutrients, hydroponic gardening depends on water enriched with specific nutrients in addition to the grow lights. Obviously, the plants grown in hydroponics greenhouse gardening live in controlled conditions instead of being subject to the whims of Mother Nature.
The nutrient solution contains primary (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium), secondary (calcium, magnesium and sulfur), and essential macronutrients (iron, molybdenum, manganese, boron, copper, zinc and chlorine). These macronutrients are blended in different combinations depending on the stage of plant development as well as the type of plant being grown.
- Such ability to customize the nutrient solution instead of relying on fertilizers mixed in with the soil, which may not even be absorbed efficiently, makes hydroponics greenhouse gardening more efficient at the job.
Nutrient Roles in Particular
The next issue that must be dealt with touches on the subject of the roles that the nutrients play in plant development. Such information is necessary as the right balance between all nutrients in the solution can be achieved. Here then are brief descriptions of a few of the nutrients and their roles.
• Nitrogen is required for overall growth. It must be provided in balanced quantities as too much and too little mean weak growth. It is also provided for in three forms, namely, ammonium phosphate, calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate.
• Phosphorus is an important nutrient for photosynthesis and, hence, for the growth of the flowers, seeds and roots of the plant. It is supplied in two forms, namely, ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate.
• Potassium plays an important role in fruit development while also exerting significant impact on the synthesis of starch, sugar and chlorophyll, among other secondary functions.
• Calcium facilitates potassium absorption as well as plays a significant role in plant cell development. It most common form for hydroponic gardening purposes is calcium nitrate.
• Magnesium facilitates light absorption in the plants from the grow lights and it comes in the form of magnesium sulfate in hydroponics.
At first, hydroponics growing systems can present challenges that may break a lesser mortal. But since you are a person determined to succeed in this endeavor, learning and applying the concepts should be fairly easy.