The practice of hydroponic gardening is not new. In fact, this technique dates back several hundred years. Some examples of hydroponics include the floating gardens of the Aztecs and Chinese and the hanging gardens of Babylon. But in recent times, some remarkable progress has been made in this field of agriculture.
There have been numerous experiments conducted by horticulturists and scientists using various methods of hydroponic gardening. Hydroponics was used during the Second World War to supply fresh produce to the troops stationed on the non-arable islands of the Pacific. There is an increasing need for this technique in certain parts of the world.
Hydroponic gardening has become increasingly popular with commercial growers. They are using it extensively to grow fresh produce. Traditional farmers are also attracted to the benefits of using this method.
Israel has developed advanced hydroponics technology because of its climate. This expertise has been marketed to Nicaragua where they use it to produce pepper for selling abroad. The largest hydroponic gardening facility is in Arizona, where 125 million pounds of tomatoes were sold in 2005.
This technique of growing fresh produce gives higher yield as compared to the soil-based traditional agriculture system. It is a boon for the parts of the world where soil-based crops cannot be grown. This method also eliminates the need for pesticides and insecticides, thus making soil, water, air, and food much cleaner and healthier.
The nutrients required for growing plants with hydroponic gardening can vary quite significantly according to the type of plant. This need for nutrients also changes during the growth cycle of each plant. You can use various combinations of products for each stage of the plant’s growth in order to determine the nutrients required for each plant for each cycle of its growth.
Nutrients used in hydroponics are dissolved in water and are usually in ionic and inorganic form. Calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, and potassium phosphate are the most commonly used macronutrients.
The productivity of hydroponic gardening is high because there is no pest problem and there is a constant supply of nutrients to the plants. The growth of the plant is limited due to limited light and low carbon dioxide levels in the air. To increase the yield, carbon dioxide enrichment may be done. This involves injecting carbon dioxide into a sealed greenhouse environment, like a grow tent. Yield may also be increased by adding light to make the day longer.