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WHAT IS HYDROPONICS?

Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without the use of soil, using only water and nutrients. The word originates from the Greek word ‘hydros’  meaning water, and ‘ponos’ meaning labour.

Instead of soil, farmers like us use different growing mediums, such as coconut husks, to support the plants and their roots.

BUT WHY?

Hydroponics is not a new concept, and can be traced back as far as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Floating Gardens of China. But now, with the updates and advancement of technology, we can grow food faster and healthier.

Land and water shortages, food scarcity, poverty, and many other factors have brought hydroponics back into the limelight in the agricultural industry. With a huge demand for healthier food with a lower carbon footprint, many consumers, including restaurant chains, hotels groups and supermarkets, are reaping the benefits of hydroponics.

VARIANTS

There are many types of hydroponic systems but all methods are a combination of the following six, and are classed as either active or passive. To be an active system, this means that the nutrient solution will be moved with the use of a pump – passive does not. A system can also be recovery or non-recovery, depending on whether the nutrient solution is reused will be reused in the system, or is fully used with one use.

 

Each type of system has pros and cons, so it is best to research which system is the most suitable for the type of produce that you are growing.

 

Deep water culture is based on the roots of the plant being immersed in a reservoir of the nutrient solution, and is one of the simplest systems. The plants are held in a net pot, in a platform over the water, containing the nutrient solution. It is usually relatively inexpensive, but is not suitable for all plants.

 

The wick system is the most basic of the various hydroponic systems, making it a great place to start for people just starting out. The movement of the wick in the reservoir draws up the nutrient solution into the growing medium. But as this not a constant stream, this may not be the most efficient method for most plants.

 

The ebb and flow system is sometimes known as the flood and drain, which is usually not seen so often. Plants are grown in the chosen growing medium in a tray. The tray is then flooded with the water and nutrient solution, through the use of a pump and timer. After the tray is filled and the roots are soaked, the tray slowly drains back into the reservoir below.

 

Drip systems are a very self explanatory system and are among the most common used by commercial growers. Once again making use of a timer, water and nutrient solution is pumped up and dripped onto the roots. This also makes it easier to control the amount of nutrient solution each plant gets. Drip systems can be recovery or non-recovery, depending on the level of attention the gardener can give.

 

Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.) is also very common amongst commercial growers. It has a similar set up to the ebb and flow system, but instead of being set to a timer, the pump continuously moves nutrient solution into the growing tray. The growing tray is on a slight downward angle so gravity runs the solution to all the plants, and any leftovers back into the reservoir below.

 

Last but not least is aeroponics. The difference between this system and the rest, is the instead of having solution being given directly to the roots, it is pumped from the reservoir and sprayed onto the roots, with the plant being suspended in the air.

THE BENEFITS

HEALTHY & NUTRITIOUS

Same food, no soil, same great taste!

ORGANICALLY FERTILISED

Organic fertiliser is added to our nutrient solution but no pesticides or contaminants.

WATER SAVING

Our farm requires 90% less water to feed our plants, meaning there’s more for everyone else!

LAND SAVING

Hydroponic plants grow closer together and at a much faster rate, meaning more grows in the same space.

LOWER CARBON FOOTPRINT

We use a recovery system and only sell locally to keep our environmental impact as low as possible.

YEAR ROUND HARVESTS

The growing environment is controlled, meaning our farm can be almost anywhere, growing produce all year round.