Hydroponics a quick overview

Truly a wonder of modern science - hydroponic gardens produce bountiful harvests of fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers in places never before able to sustain growth. Hydroponic gardens produce the healthiest crops with the highest yields and vitamin content thanks to their perfectly balanced nutrient solutions. Modern hydroponic methods provide food for millions of people worldwide and supply you, me and the food service industry with superior produce. In fact, hydroponic cultivation...

Product quality considerations

Quality is by far the most important consideration that will determine your success. If you are growing hydroponi-cally, you are already ahead of the game. However, you will certainly want to perfect your method before considering commercial success. If you are totally new to hydroponics and gardening, take a few months getting your green thumb cause once you go commercial, you will be counted upon to deliver quality produce on time. Another important factor in your success is product...

The nutrient solution

Compare the measure of a plants health to the strength of a chain, it too is only as strong as its weakest link. To insure that your 'chain' is strong, it is very important to make sure all the links are in place, and in good supply. Proper concentration of nutrients within the solution is critical, as hydroponically grown plants are completely dependant upon it for food and different plants have varying nutrient requirements. Most commercially available hydroponic nutrients now come with...

Its all about the roots

Root systems vary in size from those of a seedling, perhaps a few inches long, to those of a 300' redwood (pictured at right holding up the author) which can grow larger in size than the visible tree itself Regardless of physical size, roots serve the plant three essential functions the uptake of water and nutrients, storage for manufactured materials and providing physical support for the plant above ground. Hydroponics is all about the roots - healthy roots The absorption of water and...

Soilfree hydroponic mediums

In most hydroponic gardens, soilfree mediums are used primarily for starting seeds and when rooting cuttings. The less medium a system requires, the easier and less expensive it is to operate. This is a major consideration for those who wish to make a profit from their hydroponic gardens. Modern day soilfree mediums have come a long way since the use of river gravel and sand. A perfect medium is one that is able to hold a nearly equal concentration of air and water. As you have leaned, your...

CO and you

CO2 is known as the greenhouse gas which traps the sun's heat in Earth's atmosphere. It is responsible for global warming and a host of environmental changes that include altered weather patterns and rising tides. CO2 causes these problems by insulating the Earth from heat loss and reflecting some of the suns heating rays back onto the earth. Many of you already know that plants require CO2 to manufacture food within their leaves. Many of you have also heard that adding CO2 to the growing...

Foreword

How To Hydroponics was written to provide you with a basic education in the science of hydroponics while giving you the hands on experience that makes learning fun and effective. It covers all the information you should need to gain a basic understanding of the science and develop a working knowledge of the technology. You will learn, step-by-step, to build the hydroponic system of your choice from the plans included within. Whether you grow for food, fun or profit, we'll show you how to start...

Manifold construction

Manifold Design For Pvc Hydroponics

The final step in completing your system is to assemble the manifold. The 4 and 6 systems differ here as the injection manifold for the larger system is located at the same end as the drains whereby the smaller manifold is located at the opposite end. Shown at right is the 4 system's manifold which is assembled from the parts on page 19. It is a good idea to dry fit these parts together before you cement them with PVC glue. Many people opt to modify these parts slightly to accommodate differing...

Theory of operation

Hydroponic Gardening With Pvc Pipe

The rapid cropping systems that have evolved from simple PVC piping are truly unique and exceptional hydroponic gardens. Extremely cost effective and durable, they are the leading means of high yield rapid cropping using hydroponics. The systems operate by circulating a deep flow of nutrient solution within the PVC pipes whereby the plants are suspended in baskets which protrude into the PVC pipes at specific spacing depending upon crop type and the roots grow down into the circulating nutrient...

Making clones of your favorite plant

A second method of starting and restocking your garden is cloning. In this procedure, a small growing tip is taken from a mature healthy plant and made to grow its own roots. This method is independent of the plants reproductive system and thus eliminates the possibility that future generations will continue to evolve, as cloning results in plants which are exactly alike in all aspects. Cloning is very popular with indoor growers - and sheep gt - that wish to preserve the characteristics of a...

Stocking your hydroponic garden

Soilfree Basil

Once your seedlings or clones have established a root system and hardened off, they can be transplanted into your system. If you used rockwool as a starting medium, this process involves nothing more than placing them into your system and turning it on. If you used a loose starting medium like perlite or cocopeat, you will need to gently remove the medium from the young roots by either rinsing or soaking them in a pail of warm water OR use a porous open-weave mesh to keep the cocopeat from...

Gro Dan Rockwool

Rockwool is made from molten rock which is spun into long, glass-like fibers. These fibers are available compressed into bricks and cubes or as loose material called flock. Rockwool has a good water to air capacity and is widely used as a starting medium for seeds and a rooting medium for cuttings. Some of the world's largest hydroponic greenhouses use rockwool slabs to raise all sorts of fully mature plants. The mixed green seedlings at right were planted in cocopeat in easy to handle flats....

Planning your PVC pipe system

The beauty of a system based upon PVC pipe is that it can easily be customized for your particular application. You may choose to utilize either four or six inch diameter PVC pipe for the growth chambers. If you are planning to grow indoors, four inch PVC is generally the way to go as most of the plants grown indoors are of the smaller variety and do not form large root systems. Outdoors is another story since you can grow just about anything - including tomatoes and peppers that can eventually...

Color Photosynthetic spectrum

Photosynthesis is most pronounced in the red 600-680nm and blue 380-480nm wavelengths of light. Horticultural lighting, also know as High Intensity Discharge HID lighting is designed to cover these specific wavelengths. There are two types of HID lamps which emit different color spectrums. Metal Halide lamps emit a white blue spectrum. MH lamps are best used as a primary light source if no or little natural sunlight is available . This type of lamp promotes compact vegetative growth. There are...

Environmental control and automation

When gardening indoors or in a greenhouse, you will certainly want to take advantage of the benefits a controlled environment can deliver. By maintaining your crops favorite growing conditions, you will realize larger harvests, faster growth and ultimately, better quality produce whether it be tomatoes, flowers or herbs and spices. Assuming that you have either natural sunlight in a greenhouse or HID light available indoors, the remaining considerations are temperature, humidity and air...

If you plan to grow indoors

Invest in an HID light Metal Halide for leafy plants - HPS for flowering amp fruiting plants . I use a 400 watt metal halide lamp with reflective hood to light nearly four gardens simultaneously and with excellent results. Since HID lights aren't exactly cheap, you may choose to substitute high output fluorescents instead, but in the long run, you'll get more light output and certainly more yield with an HID lamp. Either way you grow, try to get at least 20 watts per square foot of garden for...

The nutrient film technique

Work on the Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT for short, was pioneered by Allen Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in Littlehampton, England. Plants are placed atop an inverted 'V' shaped channel, sealed on all sides, through which a thin film of nutrient solution passes along the bottom. Roots grow down along the channel, receiving oxygen directly from the inside of the trough, while receiving water and nutrients from the thin film of nutrient below. The enclosed chamber maintains...

Perfect Startstm soil free starting sponges

The latest breakthrough in hydroponic mediums are these molded starter sponges made from organic compost and a flexible, biodegradable binder. Available in many shapes and sizes, they solve the problem growers face when wanting to use an organic medium in a hydroponic system. Namely, they do not fall apart as does rockwool and vermiculite when used to start seeds. The starting sponges exhibit perfect air to water holding capacity and when used in conjunction with their high density foam...

Getting started with seeds

Most plants primary means for reproduction is the seed. The seed is formed inside the female flower after pollination by the male plant. All seeds begin as an egg within the carpel of a female flower. After male pollen is introduced to the female flower by wind or insect, the egg becomes an embryo and forms a hard coating around itself. When development finally stops, the seed is released and carried by wind, rain, bird or bug to its final resting place and if all conditions are right, it will...

Measuring nutrient concentration and pH

In order to measure the amount of nutrients in solution, a measurement of PPM or TDS Parts Per Million and Total Dissolved Solids is performed. This measurement is also commonly referred to as the EC or 'Electrical Conductivity' of a solution as that is actually what you are measuring. There are a number of methods of measuring PPM, my favorite is the digital PPM gauge which is simply submerged in the nutrient solution for a reading to be taken. Digital PPM meters are calibrated with a solution...

Vertical Gardening

This is another interesting application of aeroponics. It is manufactured by Vertigro and represents a great way of saving greenhouse space. The system functions much in the same fashion as the system above except it shares a drain pipe with as many units as required. See the black hoses below growing cylinders. Vertigro is located in Florida near Epcot Center where these photos were taken. As you can see, hydroponic system design represents equal opportunity for a challenge and progress. If...

Hydroponic Planter Parts List

Ein Gedi Soilfree

1 Plastic deck planter with a sealed bottom. We used a Dynamic Designs 27 x 12 x 10 deck planter with a sealed bottom. You can use a round or square design too - you'll just have to improvise the plans but the theory is the same. Use a container that is free from holes and made of a rugged, opaque plastic. Connects the pump outlet to the air curtain. 1 2500cc minimum Aquarium Air Pump We used a single output air pump with a T fitting to split the air line into two feeds. You can use a dual...

Ultra Peattm aka Coco Peat Coco Coir

Our favorite loose growing medium is Coconut Fiber or Cocopeat. It represents a major step forward in organic soilfree potting mediums. It has the water retention of vermiculite and the air retention of perlite, however, it is a completely organic medium made from ground up coconut husks Why coconut husks The coconut husk serves its seed two purposes 1. Protection from the sun and salt while floating around the oceans and 2. A hormone rich, fungus free medium to solicit germination and rooting...

Indoor lighting for horticulture

Autopot Yield Growing Cannabis Plants

Nothing beats the Sun when it comes to growing, however, new types of High Intensity Discharge lighting have made growing indoors a viable alternative. Many of you are familiar with fluorescent grow lights designed to grow plants indoors. These products are fine for low-light plants where limited results are expected. But what if you want to achieve the ultimate growth potential of your favorite plants indoors or supplement sunlight in your greenhouse Your answer is to use Horticultural High...

Types of hydroponic systems

A hydroponic system should be designed to fulfill the specific requirements of plants with the most reliable and efficient method s of nutrient delivery. The three major plant-requirements that a hydroponic system must satisfy are 1 Provide roots with a fresh supply of water and nutrients while avoiding stagnation. 2 Maintain aeration to the root zone to refresh the supply of oxygen and remove built-up CO2. 3 Prevent dehydration of the roots by maintaining close to 100 relative humidity....

The PVC Pipe Gardens

Pipe Gardens

These designs were inspired by the many commercially available hydroponic gardens that utilize PVC pipe as a main design component. PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and extremely durable. These designs allow easy expansion owing to their popularity among commercial growers and family farmers. Perfect for producing large harvests of rapidly growing crops such as salad greens, culinary and medicinal herbs and decorative flowers. This garden requires a bit more skill and some...

Hydroponic nutrient recipes

1.00 gallon s of VEGETATIVE NUTRIENT Use 6.00 grams of Calcium NitrateCa NO3 2 2.09 grams of Potassium Nitrate KNO3 0.46 grams of Sulfate of Potash K2SO4 1.39 grams of Monopotassium Phosphate KH2PO4 2.42 grams of Magnesium Sulfate MgSO4 7H2O 0.40 grams of 7 Fe Chelated Trace Elements See Trace Box 1.00 gallon s of FRUITING NUTRIENT8.2 - 5.9 - 13.6 Use 8.00 grams of Calcium NitrateCa NO3 2 2.80 grams of Potassium Nitrate KNO3 1.70 grams of Sulfate of Potash K2SO4 1.39 grams of Monopotassium...

Aeroponics

Vertical Hydroponics

The most recent technology to be developed in agriculture is Aeroponics, a method in which a plant's roots are grown suspended mid-air. The plants are generally suspended from baskets similar to those in which strawberries are packaged at the top of a closed trough or cylinder. With the plants suspended in this manner, all essential nourishment can be provided to the roots by spraying them with a nutrient solution. Since the roots are suspended in mid-air, they receive the maximum amount of...

Ein Gedi system

Ein Gedi System

First developed in Ein Gedi Israel, hence the name, the Ein Gedi System EGS introduced a revolutionary new method to hydroponics. The system is comprised of fully enclosed rectangular growth chambers, inside of which, nutrient solution is circulated 1-6 inches below evenly spaced mesh baskets that contain the plants. The air gap between the baskets and solution is misted by sprayers residing along the upper inside of the chamber. Roots growing into the mist zone are subjected to intense...

Investigate your local market

The most important thing you can do before planting any herbs to sell is to visit your local markets and determine what they sell and where the opportunity exists. Take a look at the fresh herb fridge and see what they have and how fresh it is. Nine times out of ten you will be amazed at how ragged their fresh herbs really are Have a look at the prices and jot them down. Also, take notes of the quantities being sold in each package. Usually fresh herbs are sold by the bunch which in most cases...