[Plant-biology] The future for hydroponics

Simplestsimon Simplestsimon.2biow1 at gardenbanter.co.uk
Tue Jul 25 12:48:36 EST 2006


Simply ‘Gardening without soil’. Hydroponics offers home gardeners and
those new to gardening, a clean, efficient and convenient way to grow
plants.  No soil. No mess. Surprisingly, you can even grow more in less

Strange you may think – no soil - but when you consider that the
hydroponics growing of food and flowers has been going on for years and
is all around us everyday in our supermarkets, you might want to know
more. Hydroponics growing techniques are responsible for the commercial
supply of nearly all tomatoes, peppers, herbs and cucumbers, most
strawberries and most of the flowers that you see available on the high
street today. 

It is believed that hydroponics first started in the ancient city of
Babylon, but now many of the fruit and vegetables we buy from the
supermarket are grown this way. It offers year round gardening as
plants can be grown anytime and anywhere. It is a clean and time
efficient way to grow as no soil to used, it eliminates digging and
weeding and it uses water more efficiently. It is now well established
that hydroponics can encourage quicker growth and increased yield,
enhance flavour of crops and encourage healthy eating. 

Now, hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular with the hobby
gardener wanting to grow fruit and vegetables at home: tomatoes, herbs,
chillies and even bananas on a banana tree! Whether you want to grow
more tomatoes than you can in soil in your green house or cultivate
chillies in your conservatory, hydroponics is there to be explored.

Aquaculture, one of the leading hydroponics equipment suppliers in the
UK, has a passion for hydroponics and a mission to bring hydroponics
gardening to homes in a big way. It’s a new gardening revolution about
to blossom – it’s a horticultural brit pop explosion of new ideas and
ways of doing things. The produce is natural, tasty, clean and easy to
grow. It can be urban. It can be rural. It’s definitely fun and anyone
can do it. ‘Hydroponics – join the gardening revolution’ evangelises
new ideas for growing in the home and garden.

Hydroponics has been briefly featured in the media by BBC Gardener’s
World and various gardening magazines, but it’s about time that the UK
catches up to the US, where they have progressed over the last 10 to15
years to see hydroponics (or hobby gardening) become a national pastime
and a mass market has been created through a new home-growing
revolution. Hydroponics kits can now even be found as educational toys
on the shelves of Toys R Us.

In the UK, National Curriculum modules in many schools, small farms and
nurseries up and down the country now regularly use hydroponics to
explain and discuss plant biology, horticulture and food production. 

Together with a well respected traditional large specimen vegetable
growing champion.  In an event to showcase the benefits of hydroponics,
Aquaculture hydroponics has teamed up with Mr Gerald Treweek - a
champion grower with honours from the highly esteemed Royal
Horticultural National vegetable society - to beat the current world
record of 15lb 15 1/2oz.

Although Gerald has won several honours for his large and specimen
category vegetables, he is still relatively new to hydroponics growing.
Last year, Gerald used some of the growth promoters we use in
hydroponics.  These included mostly beneficial micro-organisms which
can still be used in traditional soil growing, like most of our
products.  These micro-organisms promote healthy root growth and
protect the plant from disease causing pathogens.  The onion Gerald
grew last year weighed a respectable 10lb 11oz.  
This year, Gerald is fully embracing hydroponics where he has devoted
one of his green houses for some of our systems.  To grow an onion we
need to use a media bed and the most suitable system to cultivate these
vegetables is a Flood and Drain system.  At regular intervals, nutrient
solution (nutrient & water) is automatically pumped from the tank to
flood the table and is then allowed to drain away. Therefore your
plants receive all the water and nutrients they require as well as
atmospheric oxygen directly to the root system as air is drawn in on
the drain. The result is a large output of high quality plants.  

The World Health Organisation has also citied Hydroponics as being one
of the most important focus and development areas in food production in
the 21st Century. Its non-reliance on often poor soil conditions in
under-developing countries means more food could be grown, or an
agricultural economy developed, if it were more widely used. 

We’ve even seen hydroponics in Hollywood, featured in Space 1999. 

Hydroponics is new to most people – gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
It is there to be explored and demonstrated to the mass market so that
they can appreciate and enjoy the tremendous benefits it offers.

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