In the advent of the 21st century, a lot has changed in terms of technological advancement especially in the field of agricultural practices. New farming practices are promoted over conventional farming practices, to make the farming sector more sustainable and increase crop yield.
This is when the invention of hydroponic farming came into existence also known as soil-less farming. In hydroponic farming, unnecessary depletion of natural resources can be eliminated as the crops are being grown in less water, no soil and lesser space.
Nowadays, Hydro farming is on a boom as it not only saves resources, it is very handy, can be done at smaller spaces like houses, rooftop, offices and any other settlements also.
You might have confusion regarding hydroponic farming like what type of crops/vegetables we can grow by using hydroponic system method? Can it be implemented at home? How much it costs? Read below to clear your doubts:
What is hydroponic farming?
The hydroponic farming system is an innovative method of growing crops in a nutrient solution medium without soil. The roots of the plants are kept suspended in a liquid nutrient medium (water + essential plant nutrients) or air or inert material like vermiculite.
The motive behind adopting hydroponic farming is that it saves more energy, resources, water, efforts, and provides great control over the crop’s yield. Hydroponic farming allows the plant to reach its full genetic potential resulting in healthier, flavourful and larger crops. Hydroponic crops can be grown for domestic use or commercial purposes both.
What can you grow with hydroponics?
One can grow various types of crops of their choice with hydroponic farming including vegetables/fruits. Leafy crops like spinach, Chard, Kale, Lettuce, arugula and herbs like chives, parsley, basil and sage can be grown efficiently with hydroponics and provides higher yield. Cucumber, pepper/bell paper, tomato can also be grown with hydroponics. Fruits like Strawberries and Watermelon can also be grown but with special attention.
Big root vegetables like corns are not recommended to grow in hydroponic vegetable farming.
The type of crop chosen to be grown in hydroponic agriculture affects the yield since some crops provide a better yield than the other.
Types of hydroponics system
There are various types of the hydroponic system depending upon the growing medium of the crop. Here is a quick review of various types of hydroponic system:
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT): in this hydroponic system various gully channels are developed flooded with continuously running stream of nutrient solution and the plants are grown in these channels. A pump is used to circulate the nutrient solution in the NFT channels. NFT is of two types that are vertical and horizontal NFT depending upon the gully channel style. It is easy to install, low-cost method.
- Aeroponic System: In this system, comparatively less amount of water is used in growing plants. The aerosol mist is sprayed on the plants from which the roots get their nutrients and water. Plants roots are suspended in the air where they get all the oxygen required. It is a challenging system to manage but it is very economical as it saves lots of water.
- Standing Aerates Nutrient solution: this system is also known as Deep Water Culture (DWC) in which the nutrient solution is static in which the plants’ roots are suspended. The nutrient solution is required to change at an interval of 5 to 10 days (vary with the number of plants and system volume). The Styrofoam sheets are floating on the nutrient solution on which plants are grown. Lettuce is one of the best plants to grow in this system.
- Dutch Bucket Grow System: This system uses bucket filled with growing media like vermiculite which supports the growth of the crops. The buckets can vary in sizes. The Dutch bucket system is the most suitable system for growing crops with larger roots like cucumber, or tomato, etc.
Hydroponic farming set-up cost
The hydroponic farming set-up cost depends upon various factors such as land cost, outer structure, growing system and temperature and irrigation controlling system. To set a farm in one-acre, it will cost around Rs. 45 lakhs to 82 lakhs.
The operational cost of the hydroponic farm might be around Rs. 9 lakhs per year. However, the product obtained from the farm results to be very profitable and overcomes the investment in no time. The cost can be cut if the farmland is taken on lease instead of buying.
Hydroponic farming at home!
If one is interested in gardening, promotes having organic and fresh vegetables in his plate, or want to take this hobby on next level opting for hydroponic farming at home is the best option for them.
One can opt for an old tray/bucket/cylindrical pipes for starting hydroponic farming. Take help from a professional for setting up your farm in your balcony/roof of the house or backyard. The outcome of crop chosen by you will surely surprise you with amazing results.
So to have healthiest food in large quantity at your home, hydroponic farming is your best solution!