Hydroponic indoor farming systems are extremely popular and are likely to become more and more popular. Hydroponic systems are suitable for both recreational and professional use. Direct control options mean higher yields, especially where the right nutrients are used. With the current sophistication of measuring equipment and technological advances in the industry as a whole, the future of hydroponics seems to be quite bright. Hydroponic systems have even been developed to provide astronauts with fresh food for expeditions to Mars.
History of cultivation with hydroponics
The word hydroponics comes from the Greek words hydro (water) and pride (for work) and literally means “water work”. The first hydroponic systems actually come from antiquity. Basically, the first hydroponic systems were the hanging gardens in Babylon and the floating gardens of the Aztecs in Mexico. Continuous watering made it possible to produce food all year long.
The foundation of modern hydroponic systems came from experiments conducted from 1895 to 1865 by German scientists Von Sachs and Knop. They found that the plants needed certain nutritional elements.
The first successful hydroponic systems were developed in the 1930s by dr. Gericke in the US state of California. During World War II, these systems were adapted to American soldiers and supplied with fresh vegetables. The first hydroponic systems were adapted in the 1970s and 1980s for commercial purposes for the production of vegetables and flowers.
Hydroponics, cultivation without soil
A method of growing plants without soil, in which all nutrients are supplied by water. A distinction can be made between “true” hydroponic systems that cultivate plants without the use of substrate (NFT, aeroponics) and hydroponic systems that use substrate (stone wool, perlite, coconut, clay pebble, and peat). The type of nutrient to be used depends on the type of system. An important difference can be made between open and closed systems.
In open treatment systems (where contents are discharged), the substrate supplies fresh nutrients continuously while the old one is removed from the substrate by the drainage system. In a closed or re-circulating system, nutrients are not removed from the drainage system, collected and transferred back again. This is especially useful if no substrate is used in the cultivation or if the substrate retains relatively little moisture (baked clay and perlite).
In hydroponic cultivation systems, it is very important that the nutrient solution contains all the necessary elements that the plant needs in the correct proportions. The most appropriate type of system depends on the grower’s preference and experience.