Hydroponics is the innovative farming technique that has gained popularity all over the world by the practice of growing plants in a hydroponic nutrient solution instead of soil, where plants thrive in a water-based nutrient-rich environment. It is accounted that hydroponic farming can yield around 25% more than the yield of soil-developed harvests and produces multiple times the number of harvests every year. The financial advantage of this can be huge, however, the set-up expenses can be high concerning the system of cultivation.
Types of Hydroponic Farming System
Wick system is passive hydroponics where no water pump or air pump is used. A reservoir is used to store the hydroponic nutrient solution. The nutrient solution is incorporated into the roots with the aid of a wick to the growing media. This system function admirably for small houseplants and spices. Plants that don’t require a lot of water develop well in the wick system.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
The nutrient film technique is used commercially to grow short-harvest crops. The nutrient solution is recycled from the reservoir to the growth medium with the help of a pump and remains in a constant flow. The growth medium is built with a sufficient slope to allow the solution to trickle down to the reservoir.
Ebb and Flow(flood and drain) System
In the Ebb and flow method the submerged pump floods the hydroponic nutrient solution into a growth medium at regular intervals, which drains back to the reservoir after the timer turns off. This keeps the growth medium regularly flushed with nutrients and oxygen. Since the roots don’t remain submerged in a nutrient solution, plants are advised to be grown in a medium like gravel, coconut fiber, or rockwool fiber.
Water culture system
In the Water culture system, the plant is suspended in a platform just above the reservoir such that the roots remain submerged in the hydroponic nutrient solution. Airstone or air pump supplies bubbles that provide oxygen to the roots.
A Drip system works excellently for a wide range of plants. This system can work with any plant you grow in the medium. The nutrient solution is dripped to the base of each plant through nozzles. It is controlled by the timer and the pump which is submerged in the nutrient solution.
Aeroponics is the most technically advanced system of growing plants. The roots are often exposed to oxygen than being submerged in the water or hydroponic nutrient solution. The hydroponic nutrient solution from the reservoir is pumped using a higher pressure pump to mist the solution over the roots.
How to Start Hydroponics Business
Choose Your System
A hydroponic farming business commonly come up as indoor space farming. To figure out which indoor hydroponic system best suits your location and budget, it’s significant to know the pros & cons of each system and recognize what are your needs for your business. Investigate the pros and cons of each system to figure out which strategy would bring profit in the initial stages of the business.
Choice of Crops and Their Growth Medium
Setting up a hydroponics system can appear to be costly at the beginning. It is ideal to begin with little plants like spices and vegetables. You should pick plants that grow at a faster rate with less nutrient solution in growth media like coconut fiber, rockwool fiber, and sand.
Setting Up of Other Essentials
Since the indoor hydroponic system has limited access to sunlight, an artificial source of light is crucial for the growth of plants. Electric supply is essential for the timer settings and pumping systems to work effectively at a regular interval. Installation of exhaust fans to ensure the availability of oxygen and the exchange of gases is essential.
Obtain a License and Get Insured
To secure and safeguard your business, obtain permission from higher authorities, and get the paper works done. Get your business insured to overcome financial complications in the future.
Monitor Your System
Frequently monitor your system and maintain the specified condition to grow certain plants. Regularly check the pH of the solution, growth of any microorganisms, working of the pump, and the timer. Also, check for any contamination in the hydroponic nutrient solution to avoid the destruction of plants.
Promote Your Business
Promote your business by attracting buyers in the local markets, restaurants, and the public. Keep your price low in the beginning to attract customers to purchase your products. Keep an account of your profit and expenditure and gradually expand your business.
Advantages of Hydroponics
- Hydroponics can overcome the crucial challenges faced by the agricultural sector.
- Mulching, plowing, and weeding are not required.
- The hydroponic nutrient solution is reusable after every cycle.
- Reduced pest and soil-related diseases.
Disadvantages of Hydroponics
- Initial expenses are higher than the soil culture.
- Constant monitoring is required.
- Growth of water-based microorganisms.
- Diseases spread to all the plants once it appears.
Since there is a wide range of alternatives with regard to hydroponic farming methods, it may be difficult to choose which strategy may work best for your hydroponic nursery. Some hydroponic systems work well compared to other systems relying upon the plant, their development, and the space you have.