Sunday, June 14, 2009

How-To Hydroponics system plans and hydroponic gardening guide


How-To Hydroponics system plans and hydroponic gardening guide details the assembly and operation of do-it-yourself hydro and aeroponic systems and teaches.


What Is Hydroponics?
In Latin, the word hydroponics means literally "water working." Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in either a bath or flow of highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water. In soil, biological decomposition breaks down organic matter into the basic nutrient salts that plants feed on. Water dissolves these salts and allows uptake by the roots. For a plant to receive a well balanced diet, everything in the soil must be in perfect balance. Rarely, if ever, can you find such ideal conditions in soil due to the lack of organic matter left behind on the surface, contamination and biological imbalances. With hydroponics, water is enriched with these very same nutrient salts, creating a hydroponic nutrient solution that is perfectly balanced. And since this hydroponic nutrient solution is contained, it does not harm our environment as does runoff from fertilized soil. Additionally, very little water is lost to evaporation in a hydroponic system, owing to its application in drought stricken areas. To support the plants in a hydroponic system, an inert soil-free medium like fiber, sand or stone, may be used to anchor the roots. These hydroponic mediums are designed to be very porous for excellent retention of air and water that's necessary for a healthy plant - roots need to breathe too! In addition to a perfectly balanced diet, hydroponic plants have their food and water delivered directly to their roots. This way, the energy normally used to develop long roots can be redirected to growing more plant, which is a great benefit indeed! With the proper exposure to natural sunlight or supplemental grow lights, your hydroponic plants .


Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro water and ponos labor) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or Rockwool . Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching (Wikipedia).


History

The study of crop nutrition began thousands of years ago. Ancient history tells us that various experiments were undertaken by Theophrastus (372-287 B.C.), while several writings of Dioscorides on botany dating from the first century A.D., are still in existence.[1]
The earliest published work on growing terrestrial plants without soil was the 1627 book, Sylva Sylvarum by Sir Francis Bacon, printed a year after his death. Water culture became a popular research technique after that. In 1699, John Woodward published his water culture experiments with spearmint. He found that plants in less pure water sources grew better than plants in distilled water. By 1842 a list of nine elements believed to be essential to plant growth had been made out, and the discoveries of the German botanists, Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop, in the years 1859-65, resulted in a development of the technique of soilless cultivation.[1] Growth of terrestrial plants without soil in mineral nutrient solutions was called solution culture. It quickly became a standard research and teaching technique and is still widely used today. Solution culture is now considered a type of hydroponics where there is no inert medium.
In 1929, Professor William Frederick Gericke of the University of California at Berkeley began publicly promoting that solution culture be used for agricultural crop production. He first termed it aquaculture but later found that aquaculture was already applied to culture of aquatic organisms. Gericke created a sensation by growing tomato vines twenty-five feet high in his back yard in mineral nutrient solutions rather than soil. By analogy with the ancient Greek term for agriculture, geoponics, the science of cultivating the earth, Gericke introduced the term hydroponics in 1937 (although he asserts that the term was suggested by Dr. W. A. Setchell, of the University of California) for the culture of plants in water (from the Greek hydros, "water", and ponos, "labor").[1]
Reports of Gericke's work and his claims that hydroponics would revolutionize plant agriculture prompted a huge number of requests for further information. Gericke refused to reveal his secrets claiming he had done the work at home on his own time. This refusal eventually resulted in his leaving the University of California. In 1940, he wrote the book, Complete Guide to Soilless Gardening.
Two other plant nutritionists at the University of California were asked to research Gericke's claims. Dennis R. Hoagland and Daniel I. Arnon wrote a classic 1938 agricultural bulletin, The Water Culture Method for Growing Plants Without Soil,[2] debunking the exaggerated claims made about hydroponics. Hoagland and Arnon found that hydroponic crop yields were no better than crop yields with good quality soils. Crop yields were ultimately limited by factors other than mineral nutrients, especially light. This research, however, overlooked the fact that hydroponics has other advantages including the fact that the roots of the plant have constant access to oxygen and that the plants have access to as much or as little water as they need. This is important as one of the most common errors when growing is over- and under- watering; and hydroponics prevents this from occurring as large amounts of water can be made available to the plant and any water not used, drained away, recirculated, or actively aerated, eliminating anoxic conditions which drown root systems in soil. In soil, a grower needs to be very experienced to know exactly how much water to feed the plant. Too much and the plant will not be able to access oxygen; too little and the plant will lose the ability to transport nutrients, which are typically moved into the roots while in solution.
These two researchers developed several formulas for mineral nutrient solutions, known as Hoagland solutions. Modified Hoagland solutions are still used today.
One of the early successes of hydroponics occurred on Wake Island, a rocky atoll in the Pacific Ocean used as a refueling stop for Pan American Airlines. Hydroponics was used there in the 1930s to grow vegetables for the passengers. Hydroponics was a necessity on Wake Island because there was no soil, and it was prohibitively expensive to airlift in fresh vegetables.
In the 1960s, Allen Cooper of England developed the Nutrient film technique. The Land Pavilion at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center opened in 1982 and prominently features a variety of hydroponic techniques. In recent decades, NASA has done extensive hydroponic research for their Controlled Ecological Life Support System or CELSS. Hydroponics intended to take place on Mars are using LED lighting to grow in different color spectrum with much less heat.
In 1978, hydroponics pioneer Dr. Howard Resh published the first edition of his book "Hydroponics Food Production." This book (now updated) spurred what has become known as the 3-part base nutrients formula that is still a major component of today's hydroponics gardening. Resh later went on to publish other books, and is currently in charge of a highly advanced hydroponics research and production facility in the Caribbean.(Wikipedia)

3 comments:

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