What is Hydroponics?
A HYDROPONIC SYSTEM COMPRISES THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS:
This is a KEY FACTOR, because it influences everything else.
If the system is indoors, then the environmental conditions are being controlled. The temperature may fluctuate less than normal. Wind may be reduced etc.
If the system is outside it will be exposed to rain which may dilute nutrient solution etc.
Pest and disease problems are reduced by keeping the system isolated from those problems in doors, raised off the ground or in isolated locations.
Outdoor systems may be dug in by dogs, cats or other animals.
The Container or Bed
The roots (as well as the nutrient solution and medium) need to be contained by something.
You may have gravel, sand or perlite contained by bags, pots or tubs.
You may have rockwool fibre or scoria contained in a raised bed built from timber, metal or concrete.
You may use polystyrene boxes, hanging baskets, prefabricated fibreglass tanks etc.....the list of possibilities is endless.
Watering/Nutrient Application Equipment
Nutrient can be applied dry on the surface and then watered in or mixed with water and applied as a nutrient solution.
Solution may be applied automatically at predetermined times or as required.
It may be applied at the bottom of the media and allowed to move up via capillary action, or alternatively at the top and allowed to filter down. It may be pumped on, or moved manually or by gravity. Excess may be collected and reused, or allowed to be lost after passing through the media.
This is not always included.
When growing tall plants or creeping plants (eg: Tomatoes, cucumber, Chrysanthemum, Carnation, Roses etc), the root medium may not be strong enough to support the plant....or perhaps it might be necessary to control the plant and make it more manageable.
A trellis of wire mesh, strings or stakes may be necessary to just prevent the plants from falling over and being damaged.
The media which the roots grow in affects your decisions about all of the above. You must consider rooting media with respect to it's ability to hold water, air, nutrients, support the plant etc.
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