The gardening of plant, its cultivation in nutrient solutions other than soil by means of mixtures of the necessary nutrient elements dissolved in water is called hydroponics. This was used by plant physiologist in 1930’s where it begun as an outgrowth technique used in plant nutrition experiment. Recently there are two methods that is used one is a process in which plant will grown on permeable materials like sand, gravel, peat which serve as wick to pass on the nutrient solutions to the roots.
There are some culture techniques for hydroponics; the most convenient method typically used in business of hydroponics is sub irrigation trays in which plant are to be grown, such trays will be filled with coarse materials like gravel and cinders. These trays will be flooded with nutrient solution occasionally and is allowed to drain subsequent to flooding.
The method generally used for botanical experimentation is the water culture method; in this technique water in which different nutrients are dissolved to form a nutrient solution was used to fill porcelain jars, beds of glass wool with plants are positioned in the surface of the solution. The roots of the plants should be in contact with the solution to absorb the nutrient from medium to support plants growth. Objectives To study the methods used in hydroponics. To determine the different advantages of hydroponics comparing it to the use of soil in plants
Materials Seeds Oasis cubes Individual plastic planters Two dark colored plastic 5 gallons tubs with lids Calcium nitrate Hydroponics fertilizer Epsom salts Vermiculite Perlite Coconut fiber External aquarium pump Air tubing Fluorescent light Waterproof caulking Methodology Preparation of the Nutrient Solution
The nutrient solution will be stored in an appropriate container; once it was dissolved it will leave standing overnight so that the sediments that remain in the bottom will be completely dissolved overnight. The stored nutrient solution should be protected from light because once it was exposed iron will gradually throws out of the solution. To compose a 250 liters of full strength nutrient solution, but for young plants only one half strength are typically given. Concentrations of solutions more than full strength are not preferable as a growing medium for plants. Temperature of the Nutrient Solution
Another significant aspect that influences root growth is temperature, the most favorable root temperature will differ on the kind of plant species, and temperature below 20 degrees Celsius can carry on changes in root growth and physiology (Jones, 2005). There will be a reduce growth and branching that leads to a coarser-looking root system. The temperatures wherein roots can completely function 30-35 degrees Celsius but this can vary depending on the optimum temperature requirement of some plant species. Each seed will be planted in an oasis tube; the cubes will be placed in a dish of water and should not dry out.
The gallon tubs should be sprayed with vinegar so that the harmful bacteria will be killed. For the protection of the nutrient solution to avoid algae growth that will consume plant nutrients because algae usually thrives in an environment with light, the tubs should be dark in color. The diameter on top of the planters will be cut in two rows; the circular holes should be four inches distance from each other. Metal buckets should be avoided because the iron that was present in metals can oxidize and can change the pH of the nutrient solution than can harm the plants.
The lid should fit into the tub and a planter should slip into each hole, wherein the roots must be hanging near the top. The five gallon tub should be filled with water up to four inches from the rim; nutrient solution will be dissolved and prepared in a cup of water. The nutrient solution should be composed of 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts and calcium nitrate together with 2 teaspoons of hydroponic fertilizer. The nutrient solution should be added in a 5 gallon tub, same proportion of vermiculite, perlite and coconut fiber coconut fiber holds the oxygen vermiculite retains water and perlite increases aeration.
The growing medium should fill in the individual planters that are to be placed in the tub lid. Pump method is used to continually add oxygen to the water in this method an additional hole will be cut into the tub lid for the air tube to run starting from the pump going through the bottom of the tub. Flood and Drain Method Holes will be cut three inches away from the bottom of the sides of the growing medium that measure 12 mm diameter and attached to this pipe is a short length tube which fits over a similar pipe to the bottom of the reservoir.
The water solution should run from one tub to the other, a caulking is used to tighten the holes. Shelves will be arranged 2 ft higher than the other where the growing medium should be placed on the higher shelf so that excess water will run to the reservoir in situations that the growing medium need to be flooded the position should be reversed. Overhead Watering This is mostly the basic technique applicable for irrigating several pot plants and window boxes. The nutrient solution will be placed in a watering can fixed with a fine hose and spray the solution over the seedling until the vermiculite is damp (Harris, 1998).
Vermiculite has a large capacity to hold mixture therefore it requires less frequent irrigation compared to other media. It is advised to water vermiculite every other day while the plants are still young during summer, and in winter watering should be done every week. Cited Literature Harris, D. (1998). Hydroponics: The Complete Guide to Gardening the Soil. Published by Struik. Jones, J. B. (2005). Hydroponics: A Practical Guide for the Soiless Grower. Published by CRC Press. Johnsons, G. B. , Losos J. B. (2006). Essentials of the Living World. Published by Mc Graw Hill Higher Education.