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Home Hydroponics

Course CodeAHT107
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
HYDROPONICS ONLINE STUDY

Hydroponics can be used by gardeners to produce vegetables and herbs in small spaces such as balconies and apartments as well as in greenhouses for out-of-season production of certain crops.

Instead of soil, plants are grown in a sterile medium, such as rockwool, perlite or sand. The medium provides a means of support only and does not add to the plants’ nutrient requirements. All the nutrients taken up by the plants in this system are added artificially through a nutrient solution. Solutions vary according to the type of crop grown.

Hydroponic systems are readily available through specialist retailers and vary in their complexity and size.

 

Student Comment

" I really appreciate Gavin's (tutor) comments and look forward to receiving the feedback from him."
- Nadine

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Basic Chemistry and Plant Nutrition - atoms, elements, nutrient deficiency symptoms
  2. Nutrient Solutions - calculating formulae, hydroponic nutrition, preparing nutrient solutions
  3. Types of Systems A - classification of hydroponic systems, ingredients of hydroponic systems, rockwool.
  4. Types of Systems B - what makes up a system, 16 hydroponic ideas, NFT, solution dispensation.
  5. Plant Problems in Hydroponics - pests and diseases, nutritional and environmental problems, water and plant relationships, pH.
  6. How a Plant Grows - growth, nutrient solutions, preparing a solution, mechanisms of nutrient uptake, photosynthesis.
  7. Plant Culture - controlling environmental features, post harvest storage.
  8. Hydroponic Vegetable Production - how to grow vegetables hydroponically.
  9. Hydroponic Cut Flower Production - growing flowers in hydroponics, carnations.
  10. Soil Media vs Nutrient Film - berries, indoor plants, types of media, NFT.
  11. Greenhouse Operation & Management - solar energy applications in horticulture, greenhouse management.
  12. Special Assignment - a report on how to improve your present hydroponic venture, or a report on planning a new hydroponic venture

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Hydroponic Grown food is No Different to Food Grown in Soil

"There is no difference between plants grown in soil and plants grown in hydroponics."

Plants growing in hydroponics or soil both absorb nutrients into the plant tissues through roots, and both absorb exactly the same chemicals into the roots. The main difference is that organic chemicals need to break down into simpler (smaller) chemicals before the plant absorbs them whereas in hydroponics, the nutrient solution is made by mixing water with chemicals that are already in the simpler (smaller) form.

Soil is a much more complex and dynamic (i.e. continually changing) medium for roots to be growing in than what hydroponics is. Biochemical processes such as the nitrogen cycle are continually happening in soil. The one difference in hydroponics may be that there are organisms such as mycorrhiza in soil which are continually at work helping plants. These things may not happen in hydroponics because the system is free of microorganisms (both good and bad microorganisms). For some types of plants (e.g. orchids, mushrooms, etc.), such special biological relationships may be essential, and growing those plants in a relatively 'sterile' hydroponic environment may be difficult. For a limited range of plants, it is necessary to inoculate (i.e. add) selected microorganisms to the hydroponic system.

Being free of microorganisms does however mean that there is less chance of hydroponic plants being infected by disease; or disease organisms being carried on the plants from the growing system to the kitchen.

Hydroponics Gives You More Control over Plant Growth

Hydroponics is the process used to grow plants without soil and literally means ‘working water’. The grower is taking ‘control’ of the plant's root environment, and losing the benefit of ‘mother nature's’ finely-tuned mechanisms which normally control that part of the plant's environment. So therefore when you remove the soil from a plant and take control of its roots, it is essential that you have a good understanding of how it grows.

Hydroponics is not an easier way to grow plants! It is a more controlled way of growing plants! However it is not a magical way to grow plants either. Anybody can grow plants in soil with reasonable success, but to grow plants in hydroponics, you must understand how the plant grows, so that you can control the light and the temperature, water, oxygen and nutrients in the root zone. These elements are all vital elements in the health and growth of the plants growing in the system. 

This course aims to develop a solid grounding in the principles of soilless cultivation of plants in a HOME hydroponics situation.

 



Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Dr. Lynette MorganBroad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC


Check out our eBooks

Commercial HydroponicsLearn to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. A classic, republished with new images, a new layout and revised text. Contains unique advice on growing 102 different plants hydroponically! 74 pages
Growing & Using Capsicums & ChilliesGet to know more about Capsicums and Chillies with brightly illustrated ebook- Growing and Using Capsicums and Chillies. With 71 pages of wonderful facts about capsicums and chillies, this ebook will have you growing, knowing and cooking your own delicious home grown capsicums.
AquaponicsThe Aquaponics ebook will give you a great understanding of how to start your own aquaponics production.
Growing StrawberriesStrawberries are a significant large crop in many countries and a popular crop for home gardeners the world over. More than 3.5 million tonnes of strawberries were produced in 75 countries in 2005 and by 2010 the world’s top 10 producers harvested almost 3 million metric tonnes, this extended to global production of over 4.5 million tonnes by 2012; a growth of almost 13% in 5 years. Although the United States, Turkey, Spain, Mexico the Netherlands, remain amongst the top producers, other countries are steadily increasing their production with Greece and Egypt increasing their production level by over 30% between 2007 and 2014, Chile too is an emerging and increasing producer.