Hydroponics Essay Research Paper Have you ever

Hydroponics Essay, Research Paper Have you ever thought of growing plants without soil? A science known as hydroponics will allow you to do just this. Hydroponics systems have been used

Hydroponics Essay, Research Paper

Have you ever thought of growing plants without soil? A science known as

hydroponics will allow you to do just this. Hydroponics systems have been used

since the time of the ancient Babylonians who used them to used them to grow

their famous hanging gardens. Today, all around the world, fruits, vegetables,

flowers, and ornamental plants are grown using hydroponics. The word hydroponics

was derived from the Greek words hydros, meaning water, and ponos, meaning

labor, or literally, water working. Hydro-ponics is simply growing plants in a

water and balanced fertilizer solution. It is rapidly becoming the most common

way of growing speciality crops and crops that require special conditions to

grow. Hydroponics is also known as Soilless/Controlled Environment Agriculture.

This means that plants are grown without soil in greenhouse environments in

which everything from the amount of nutrients applied to the temperature and

humidity can be monitored closely. Greenhouses are ideal for hydroponics systems

because they have their own climate. New types of greenhouses are designed to

distribute light from the sun during the day to promote better plant growth and

retain heat at night which saves on fuel. These greenhouses are quickly becoming

choice places for growers to set up their hydroponics systems. These set-ups are

increasing yields and decreasing plant loss which is more profitable for the

grower. Speciality crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and hot peppers,

which cannot be grown conventionally all year long, are being grown in

hydroponically. These vegetables which were previously scarce in some seasons

will be plentiful all year. Hydroponically grown vegetables can be harvested

year ?round so even regions that have harsh winters, or short growing seasons

can enjoy these special crops anytime. One fruit that is especially hard to find

at certain times of the year is the strawberry. The strawberry industry is

beginning to convert from the traditional soil grown berries to the

hydroponically grown variety. This drastic change was brought about by an

upcoming ban on methyl bromide, which is used to fumigate strawberry plants. If

the plants are not fumigated, yields drop, pests destroy the leaves and roots of

the plant, as well as, the fruit. Scientists at the Appalachian Fruit Research

Station in Kearneysville, West Virgina have transplanted many varieties of

strawberries, previously grown in the soil, into a hydroponics system. They

added the nutrients the plants normally received from the soil directly into the

water. The results of the experiments have been good. Each of the plants were

healthy and each yielded between one and two pounds of fruit. The strawberry

experiments were not totally problem free. The researchers had problems with

mites, thrips, and powdery mildew on the foliage of the plant. To solve pest

problem the researchers used beneficiary predatory mites to rid the plants of

the tiny parasites. To get rid of the mildew the researchers regulated the

humidity level in the green house so prevent the mildew from growing on the

leaves. Another industry that utilizes hydroponics is the flower industry.

Holland is a main supplier of roses to the United States, and almost all of

their flowers are grown hydroponically. Herbs such as cilantro, oregano, and

dill are also being grown hydroponically. Ornamental plants are also being grown

hydroponically. Flower shops and nurseries can have plants that are usually out

of season at some time, all year long. The advantages of hydroponically grown

crops are significant. The fruits and vegetables have superior taste,

appearance, and quality. There are no weeds, cultivation, and no soil borne

diseases or insects. All the plants receive the same amount of water and

nutrients. Due to the "closed circuit" nature of the systems less

water and less fertilizer is needed. All of these things make hydroponics a

practical way to grow some crops. Commercial growers often use a product known

as Perlite as a growth medium in their hydroponics system. Perlite is a volcanic

glass formed when lava cools rapidly trapping water. The glass is crushed and

heated to very high temperatures. From this comes a soft mineral foam. This foam

can hold large amounts of water, and has a neutral pH. These two factors make it

ideal for a growth medium. There are certain nutrients that are needed to make a

quality nutrient solution for a hydroponics system. These elements are Nitrogen,

Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Manganese, Iron, Copper,

Zinc, and Chlorine. They are essential to a plants growth and development. Most

of them are absorbed from the soil. Many growers argue that hydroponics are not

as good as organic gardening, but the majority of the results show that their is

not much difference as far as yields are concerned. The main difference in the

two methods of growing is the way the plant receives the nutrients. Hydroponics

has many advantages that make it an excellent alternative to conventional

growing methods. With the amount of research being done to perfect the various

methods of hydroponic growing, the future of many speciality crops looks bright.

Many researchers propose using hydroponics in areas where the soil quality is

poor farming space is limited. Some researchers even propose using hydroponics

in space, if human colonies are ever settled. Hydroponics may not be the best

way to grow for everyone but it seems to be a very feasible alternative to

traditional growing. Many positive results show that hydroponics have a definite

place in the future of growing.