Home Lessons On Hydroponics

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LESSION-6: PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 07 October 2016 14:43


Hydroponics Today

Hydroponics TodayHydroponics today is also referred to as "soilless culture". Soilless culture may or may not use a growing medium but, in either case, it is the nutrients and moisture that plants are seeking. By raising plants in soilless culture you can be sure that every plant gets the precise amount of water and nutrients it needs. There isn't usually any need for insecticides and herbicides because most pests and diseases have a hard time finding their way into the greenhouses.
Currently the United States has corporate hydroponic farms covering over 60 acres with large quantities of hydroponic produce. Often this produce is shipped throughout the U.S. In addition, there are thousands of smaller hydroponic farms that cover 1/8 - 1 acre and usually grow premium hydroponic produce to market it in their local area. The most common hydroponic crop grown in the U.S. is tomatoes, followed by cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, peppers and flowers.
The demand for premium produce is so high in the U.S. that the number of current hydroponic farms cannot meet the demand. Every day hundreds of thousands of pounds of hydroponic tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are flown in from Canada, Europe and Mexico. In addition to the commercial applications of hydroponics, there are many home gardeners that maintain hydroponic systems. Because more crops can be grown in a small space, it is environmentally friendly and produces premium produce, hydroponic culture lends itself well to a small garden. A hydroponic garden can be set up indoors, in a windowsill, a patio, balcony or rooftop, making gardening available to those who do not have a traditional yard or access to soil.
Worldwide, hydroponics has become a well established technology. In arid regions, such as Mexico and the Middle East, India and Israel, hydroponic culture is helping to feed growing populations. Nearly every country in the world uses hydroponic culture on some scale. In some cases, hydroponic produce is strictly considered a premium or gourmet product. In others, hydroponic technology is utilized for producing staple crops and grain. Hydroponic technology is even used by some zoos for producing animal feed.
The U.S. Navy is growing fresh vegetables on submarines in highly specialized recirculating hydroponic systems to help supply fresh vegetables for the crews. NASA is experimenting with recirculating hydroponic systems to be used to feed people in space. Many experiments have been conducted in laboratories and on recent space shuttle missions.
With today's technology, a small hydroponic grower with just 5,500 square ft. of greenhouse space (that's 1/8th of an acre) can grow as much as 50,000 lbs. of hydroponic tomatoes annually. As a concept, hydroponics has been around since the beginning of time. As a science, it is quite new. Hydroponics has only been used in commercial production for approximately 50 years. In that time, it has been applied to both indoor and outdoor farms, to growing premium produce, to feeding third world countries and to applications in the space program.
The Future of Hydroponics
As the technology is refined, hydroponics may become even more productive, feeding people around the world or even in space. Other areas where hydroponics could be used in the future include growing seedlings for reforestation, establishing orchards, growing ornamental crops, flowers and shrubs and integration with aquaculture, where the wastes provide nutrients to the plants and the plants help to purify the water the fish are living in.

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Last Updated on Friday, 30 December 2016 13:56

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