Aeroponics is an amazing alternative for people with limited spaces to grow plants. You might be wondering “what is Aeroponics? “. Aeroponics is one of the soilless agriculture techniques, very similar to hydroponics in that both the techniques don’t use soil to grow plants. Hydroponics uses water to grow plants. Whereas, Aeroponics is a technique of growing plants without any rooting medium. There is no soil or water used to support the plants’ roots. The plant roots are suspended in a dark chamber and nutrient-rich water is sprayed onto the roots at constant intervals.
How Aeroponics Works
Aeroponics uses small microjets to spray the plants’ roots with a fine, high-pressure mist that contains nutrient-rich solutions.
A chamber containing the water-based solutions is used to promote healthy growth in the plants. Water is pumped from the reservoir into the micro-jet nozzles which distribute the nutrient solution to the roots at programmable intervals. This is an enclosed system, meaning whatever doesn’t get absorbed by the roots falls back down into the solution chamber and gets cycled through again.
A hydro-atomized spray provides the roots with the right amount of moisture to stimulate the plant growth. The pump pushes the solution through a pipe that atomizes the solution and sprays a fine fog directly onto the roots. The pump is set to an automatic timer and delivers this high-powered nutrient solution at regular intervals.
Aeroponics uses a sprinkler system to spray oxygen and nutrient-rich solution on the plant roots. Aeroponics systems comprise of growing chamber with a lid. The plants are placed in a net pot into the holes with their roots suspended inside the dark chamber. A programmable cyclic timer is used to trigger the high-pressure aeroponics pump to go on and it causes the nutrient solution from the nutrient reservoir to be sprayed as a fine mist in the rooting chamber. Fine root hairs develop that are capable of absorbing nutrients from the moisture. The oxygen intake is also increased as the chamber is filled with oxygen-rich-nutrient solution mist. Because of the very small size of the spray particle, the wastage of nutrient solution is greatly reduced and root rot is completely avoided due to supply of well oxygenated solution.
Aeroponics as an Urban Farming Solution
For urban farmers, urban dwellers, restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, and even offices, aeroponics makes sense. Aeroponics uses the minimum amount of input to gain the maximum output. Using no soil and little water there are many advantages and benefits to aeroponics systems. As a zero-waste system, aeroponics answers many of the concerns growers have regarding lost resources. It’s clear that aeroponics is becoming the solution to filling the growing need to conserve water and energy, as well as healthy food systems especially in the city and high-density populations.
An Aeroponics system is a simple construction that has the following features
Aeroponics is incredibly efficient due to its precise nature and controlled environment. Some studies have shown increased yields of hundreds of percentages over traditional farming.
Plants grown this way are less susceptible to disease because they are grown in a closed environment, and when they do get diseases they are much easier to eradicate because the plants do not share substrate or nutrient solution. This lack of risk and competition for nutrients allows growers to plant far more seedlings per square foot, thus increasing their total yield.
One of the biggest benefits of Aeroponics when compared to other hydro techniques is increased exposure of the roots to oxygen. In traditional gardening as well as hydroponics, the plants must be given a chance to oxygenate their roots after each watering.
The most important, and expensive, feature of an Aeroponics system is the atomizing sprayer, mister or fogger. The size of the water droplets sprayed onto the roots is very important to plant development. Droplets that are too large mean that less oxygen is available to the roots, while too fine of a droplet can cause the plant to grow excessive root hair without developing a large enough root system for long-term growth.
Aeroponics systems can be either horizontal, with a flat plane that looks much like a Depp Water Culture system from the outside or an A-Frame, a cone-shaped structure. A-Frames have the advantage of taking up less space for greater plant density.
There are three main types of Aeroponics systems
Commercial systems are high-pressure systems on a larger scale. They incorporate large-scale technologies for sterilization, optimum water droplet size calculation, complete control over the environment and temperature, advanced pH monitoring systems, data collection and data analysis.
Some of the key benefits of aeroponics: