Aeroponics: Small Space, Big Yields
Are you looking for big crop yields from small or limited space? Aeroponics is one answer.
Aeroponics, in a nutshell is...
Is a method of urban farming in which plants or crops are grown in an air or mist environment without using soil or another traditional medium.
This differs from hydroponics, which uses a liquid nutrient solution as a growing medium and essential minerals to sustain plant growth; as well as aquaponics which uses water and fish waste,
Aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium. Instead, the roots of plants are suspended or hung in a dark chamber and periodically sprayed with nutrient-rich solution.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing With Aeroponics: What Is Aeroponics https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/growing-with-aeroponics-what-is-aeroponics.htm
What are the Advantages?
- Increased Air Exposure: Air cultures optimize access to air for successful plant growth. Air cultures optimize access to air for successful plant growth. Minimal contact between a plant and support structure allows for 100% of the plant to be entirely in air.
- Disease free cultivation: Aeroponics can limit disease transmission since plant-to-plant contact is reduced and each spray pulse can be sterile. In the case of soil, aggregate, or other media, disease can spread throughout the growth media, infecting many plants.
- Water and nutrient amomization: Aeroponic equipment involves the use of sprayers, misters, foggers, or other devices to create a fine mist of solution to deliver nutrients to plant roots.
- Nutrient uptake: The discrete nature of interval and duration aeroponics allows the measurement of nutrient uptake over time under varying conditions.
Are There any disadvantages?
- Dependence on the system – A typical aeroponics system is made up of high pressure pumps, sprinklers and timers. If any of these break down, your plants can be damaged or killed easily.
- Technical knowledge required – You need a certain level of competency in running an aeroponic system. Knowledge of nutrients amounts required by your plant is essential.
- Regular cleaning of the root chamber – The root chamber must not be contaminated, or else diseases may strike the roots. So you need to disinfect the root chamber every so often.
- High cost – Most aeroponic systems are not exactly cheap. Aeroponic systems may cost many hundreds of dollars each.
Types of aeroponic systems
There are 3 main types of systems.
- High Pressure units: where the mist is generated by high-pressure pump(s), are typically used in the cultivation of high value crops and plant specimens that can offset the high setup costs associated with this method.
- Low Pressure units: the plant roots are suspended above a reservoir of nutrient solution or inside a channel connected to a reservoir. A low-pressure pump delivers nutrient solution via jets or by ultrasonic transducers, which then drips or drains back into the reservoir.
- Commercial systems: comprised high-pressure device hardware and biological systems.comprise high-pressure device hardware and biological systems.
In short, aeroponics could be a revolution in small and large scale urban farming. In fact it is showing so much potential that even NASA is experimenting with it for space flights.