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.
" I really appreciate Gavin's (tutor) comments and look forward to receiving the feedback from him."
There are 12 lessons in this course:
Basic Chemistry and Plant Nutrition - atoms, elements, nutrient deficiency symptoms
Nutrient Solutions - calculating formulae, hydroponic nutrition, preparing nutrient solutions
Types of Systems A - classification of hydroponic systems, ingredients of hydroponic systems, rockwool.
Types of Systems B - what makes up a system, 16 hydroponic ideas, NFT, solution dispensation.
Plant Problems in Hydroponics - pests and diseases, nutritional and environmental problems, water and plant relationships, pH.
How a Plant Grows - growth, nutrient solutions, preparing a solution, mechanisms of nutrient uptake, photosynthesis.
Plant Culture - controlling environmental features, post harvest storage.
Hydroponic Vegetable Production - how to grow vegetables hydroponically.
Hydroponic Cut Flower Production - growing flowers in hydroponics, carnations.
Soil Media vs Nutrient Film - berries, indoor plants, types of media, NFT.
Greenhouse Operation & Management - solar energy applications in horticulture, greenhouse management.
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.