Planting is one of the many activities done on a large scale both in the yard of the home and as a business. However, limited land ownership is sometimes one of the obstacles for some people when they want to start an agricultural business. Hydroponic cultivation can be an alternative to starting farming activities that are constrained by limited land.
Hydroponics comes from the Greek hydro (water) and ponos (to do / the root word “to work”): water that works. Ponic (cultivation method) Hydroponics: a method of cultivating plants using water as a medium, cultivating plants with non-soil media, and giving water and fertilizer at the same time according to the needs of the plant, age, and environmental conditions.
The way of cultivating plants with a working system of water and nutrients, in which the roots are strengthened by planting media other than soil, is also known as “urban farming”, the lifestyle of urban communities in soilless agriculture, the simple, practical and simple is clean, the solution to urban problems will be lack of land and overcome global warming due to greenhouse effect.
Hydroponic planting is usually done for various types of leafy greens and fruits such as spinach, kale, lettuce, pakcoy, mustard greens, tomatoes, and chilies. In addition to vegetables, fruit plants such as melons and strawberries can also be grown hydroponically. Currently, however, hydroponics is more commonly used to grow vegetables, especially leafy greens.
One of the advantages of planting with hydroponics is that it does not require a large area of land, so it can be a solution for those who have limited land but want to keep planting and at the same time make a business out of it. In addition, hydroponics also does not use soil as a planting medium, so vegetables can still be grown in areas with poor soil conditions.
Nurseries are the initial stage of hydroponic production. Nurseries are a very influential factor in planting as good seeds can grow optimally on hydroponic media. Seedlings are transplanted after 3 to 4 weeks or when they have 3 to 4 leaves. After sowing, the plants are transferred to a new planter with the next planting medium to be planted until harvest time. Some of the most commonly used planters are pipes, gutters, and pots.
The commonly used types of hydroponics are axis systems, floating rafts, NFT, drip irrigation systems, and aeroponic systems.
Some things to consider when planting hydroponically are:
1. Growing media
No soil is used in hydroponic planting, so growing medium is an important thing to consider in the planting process as it differs greatly from conventional cultivation. This growing medium is useful for keeping plants upright. The use of planting media has a major impact on planted results. Plant substrates must be able to absorb and store water well so that the plants receive enough nutrients when planting. Plant substrates must also be free from pests and must not dry out easily at different temperatures.
Several types of growing media commonly used for hydroponic growing include shell charcoal (this growing medium is very popular among hydroponic growers because it is relatively cheap and the media is more sterile. Typically, these media are used to grow tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers). , cocopeat/coconut (cocopeat medium). It can absorb quite a bit of water, its use must be mixed with shell charcoal in a 50:50 ratio to increase oxygenation), Rockwool (this growing medium may still be quite alien to some people, in short, Rockwool media is made of rock, glass, and ceramics which are heated by heating. High temperatures are then combined to form fibers, which are usually box-shaped. The advantage of Rockwool is that it can be used as a seedling and planting medium. Rockwool can absorb large amounts of water and air and is therefore very useful for root growth and absorption of nutrients.
2. Plant Nutrition
Nutrients have a major impact on the quality of the plants and the yields produced. The basic thing that matters in hydroponic growing is the level of nutrients in the water in the form of a solution that is periodically applied as nutrients.
Nutrients or nutrients are available to plants at pH 5.5 – 7.5 but the best conditions are at pH 6.5 as this is the state at which nutrients are available to plants.
Hydroponics uses water as the main requirement that supports plant growth. However, the water requirements for hydroponics are less than the water requirements for growing in soil. Hydroponics uses water more efficiently, making it suitable for use in areas with limited water supplies. Minerals contained in the water must be stable because minerals that are too high are not suitable for hydroponic plant media. Minerals in excess can inhibit plant roots’ ability to absorb the nutrients plants need. Good mineral content is in the range of 0-50ppm, as low mineral content makes the nutrients more optimal. A good water pH for hydroponic plants is in the range of 5.5 – 6.5, if the water pH is outside this can affect the ability of the roots to take up nutrients.
Planting with hydroponics can be used not only as a hobby and fill your free time at home, but also as an opportunity to do business. Plants grown hydroponically usually have a faster harvest time with quite a lot of yield on less land compared to conventional growing.
Hydroponic plants have a relatively higher selling price in the market compared to conventional plants. Hydroponic plants can be sold in supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, or online through social media and vegetable vending service providers. Hydroponic plants are more resistant to pests, so they rarely use pesticides (minimizing pesticide contamination). The quality of hydroponic vegetables is considered better, so many people think that the nutrient content of their plants is better preserved.