Posts Tagged ‘hydroponics solutions’

Hydroponic herb garden, hot earner

Kiwis’ cooking skills recipe for success
By MATT RILKOFF – Taranaki Daily News
Russell Jordan uses just .8 hectares of glass house space to make as much money as a 700 cow dairy farm.
But where dairy earnings come with the sickly tang of silage and rich manure his bank balance is perfumed by the sweet scent of basil, the tang of coriander and the richness of marjoram in a hydroponic herb garden.
In the past 16 years the Bell Block herb grower has developed his Natural Fare hydroponic operation into one of the three biggest fresh herb producers in the country.
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Vertical Hydroponics systems

How many times have you thought about growing flowers or vegetables in your garden, back yard? Only to be put off by not having enough space. With the shortage of land and the exorbitant cost of available plots in cities, gardens are fast disappearing, and in cities like London, New York and Hong Kong we are being forced to build ever higher, perhaps you live in an apartment and don’t think you have room to grow plants. Then your answer could be vertical hydroponics systems, if you have a wall in your garden or yard that is preferably south facing and is in a sound and stable condition you have the ideal spot to make a vertical hydroponic garden. These can be fairly easy to make and are suitable for growing herbs, lettuce,
strawberries or flowers, if you don’t have a wall then a free standing vertical unit could be used, I have seen these made using wooden battening, plastic guttering and piping. Remember which ever system you use you will need a pump, plant holders, reservoir for the nutrient solution, the pump will supply the nutrient solution to the top of the system so make sure you have a way of channelling the solution to all the plants, a means of filtering the run off before it is returned to the reservoir to be recycled. If you’re not good at DIY, then There are a large range of free stranding units available for both outdoor and indoor use and can be purchased from hydroponics systems stockists. Some of the indoor units are manufactured to look like furniture and can and to your decor and vertical hydroponics systems can really look effective when growing plants with colourful foliage or crops like
strawberries. Not only will these units look effective they will also make your room feel fresher and more colourful.

An active hydroponic system

With a passive hydroponics system you have to decide what quantity of nutrient solution and in what ratio you need to feed the plants, this is one thing even experienced growers can get wrong. An active hydroponic system is more effective, the nutrient solution is automatically delivered to the plants, they take what they need and the rest drains back to the reservoir to be reused, preventing over feeding or under-watering.
The Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain method) system is one of the oldest systems now modernized and brought up-to-date, with a water pump connected to a timer, the nutrient solution which floods the medium for a set period of time displaces the air which has been De-oxygenated by the roots.The flood cycle should only last a few minutes, when the timer turns the pump off the excess solution drains back to the reservoir, allowing the voids in the medium and the space around the roots to re-fill with air.
This process can be repeated many times a day depending on the water holding capacity of the medium the roots sit in. This system uses a recycling reservoir and over a period of time the pH of the nutrient solution will fluctuate, if this is not corrected it will cause problems with nutrient absorption, and can cause salts to build up. Where roots sit in water that has not drained and been trapped by the body of the roots themselves, in some cases can lead to root rot, tilting the tray is one way to achieve better drainage this can help avoid standing water.

Hydroponic Systems

Before starting your hydroponic garden consideration must be given to the type of plants/vegetables you intend to grow, as with all gardening different systems will suit different plants, i.e. if you intend to grow tall plants then you must consider how to support them. There are two main groups of hydroponic systems, the first is media-based and includes ebb-and-flow (flood-and-drain), top-feed (drip), or bottom-feed (Wick Feeding) the second group is water culture, which includes Raft Cultivation and Nutrient film technique, then you can have either an active system or a passive system. An active system re-circulates the nutrient solution by mechanical means, a passive system relies on absorption, gravity or a wick (capillary) to deliver the nutrient solution to the plants.
One of the simplest and most economical passive Hydroponics systems is the floating raft system, the start up cost of this system makes it the most affordable to begin with, young plants are transplanted into a Styrofoam or polystyrene board, this floats on top of a tank filled with nutrient solution. As the plants grow the roots hang down into the nutrient solution. Lettuce, is a good crop to grow using this method and with hydroponics your crop will mature quicker for example, the lettuce should be ready to harvest in one month.