Hydroponic farming is a modern way to run a plantation. This method is nothing more than plant breeding using water but off the ground. Although this system seems weird for many people, more and more foil tunnels are equipped with it. These greenhouses allow full control of the climate, the grower decides on temperature and humidity. These are just two of the many benefits that make gardening tunnels a cost effective and efficient tool. Combining the greenhouse with optimal agro technology means revolutionizing the market and competing with large agricultural businesses.
What is hydroponics?
Growing plants on water is a big generalization. Well, such a farm would be destined to fail, roots would be rotting. In hydroponic cultivation, crops are planted in specially prepared plastic dishes, filled with neutral substrates. The outside part, in which the indicator is located ,shows the water level. The liquid itself is enriched with nutrients, and the plants are fed through their roots reaching into the water.
pH at constant and optimal levels
For successful cropping, it is essential to maintain the pH at constant and optimal levels, preferably within a 5.5 to 6.5 range. It is important not to destabilize the pH outside of this range, and this will provide perfect phytosanitary conditions. Recommended to monitor the pH continuously so that in the event of any changes. It can be brought back to the norm level as soon as possible. To achieve this, the market offers a whole range of liquids, powders, pH-plus and minus pellets.
Liquids, solutions and water in hydroponics under cover
As a large proportion of hydroponics is associated with water, its quality and composition are the most important. Although it is possible to use tap water, it must necessarily rest before it is put into circulation. The chlorine and fluorine contained in it, badly affect the health of plants. Sometimes, when that water is still too high, then plus and minus controllers are used as needed. In order to bypass most of those adjustments, distilled water. In which most of the components and mineral salts have been removed during the purification process, is used. It has a pH of about 6.5 to 7.5 and after fertilization supply, it quickly fits the pH requirement for growth.
heated foil tunnels
As hydroponic is a year-round solution designed for heated foil tunnels , it is important to keep a constant water temperature. Maintaining it between 20 and 25 ° C and optimally 23 ° C, gives the best results. Such systems are largely automated; just specify doses, proportions and criteria and all the assistive technology will carry out the rest of the processes.
Fluid inside the container should be replaced weekly on average. Such a routine is necessary to maintain the correct proportion of minerals and nutrients.
Once harvested, the whole system should be cleaned with a special agent, selected for this type of crop. Thanks to maintenance, the hydroponic technology ,which is ready for next crop , extends its longevity.
Dishes and pots for hydroponic cultivation in garden tunnels.
Flower pots usually consist of two parts – outer and inner.
- The outer part – such a pot is made of plastic, glass or ceramic, the material is waterproof, resistant to liquid and chemically neutral. By choosing transparent pots. You will have to protect them from continuous exposure, algae growth and damages to the root system. For transparent containers , shading systems and artificial lighting are used. Containers for plants should be darkened.
- Inner part – made of natural and artificial materials, The wide range of substrates should be taken into account for high water permeability and overgrowth of roots. Some of them will require occasional replenishment or sterilization, which is important to suit the hydroponic system that will be used during cultivation process.
Substrate for hydroponic cultivation
The ideal substrate for hydroponic cultivation is one that has been cleared of any nutrient and shows neutrality with plants and water. It should support the plant in the pot, allow air circulation and let the roots grow through it. Although there are many possibilities with substrates, they are not all suitable for every variety or species. That is why it is so important to choose a specific or a combination of them to optimize the growth process. And here they are:
– made from heating clay beads, it is a substrate that allows nutrient control in aqueous solution. The pellets have a neutral pH, no matter what, and they lost any nutritional value when manufactured. It is an ecological solution that can be used for many seasons, just sterilize it. In addition, it is lightweight and does not break into layers over time. As a porous substrate, it is combined with others to increase flow of moisture and air ,and to improve absorbency
– a strong material which increases its volume when heated. Natural soaking properties make it suitable for passive hydroponic systems.
– a volcanic rock which, just like vermiculite during heating, increases its volume. This lightweight material with a vesicular structure is used to prevent densification of the substrate.
– natural substrate obtained as a result of splitting nuts, has optimum properties in relation to water and air. Substantial cation exchange capacity in such a material favors storage of all nutrients and minerals inside the fiber, and if needed, the plants will benefit from these elements.
– another volcanic rock with similar characteristics to perlite.
– Although it is a cheap raw material, gets heavy once wet and must be sterilized before it is used.
– another cheap raw material, usually used in aquarium. Can be used in hydroponic plantations after boiling, it is easy to keep the gravel clean and effective for water seepage. Unfortunately it is heavy and in the case of systems without constant flow of water, the roots can dry out.
– an excellent organic substrate that remains constant for many seasons, neutral and does not change when in contact with growth regulators.
– a modern substrate, most commonly used in hydroponics and because of its versatility, it is suitable for cultivation of all types of plants. It is made from basalt rock heating, while spinning the liquid mass and subsequent cooling produces fibers. When it comes to cultivating parameters, it is good in many aspects, especially airiness and water capacity. It is a very effective substrate that is considered to be harmful to humans.
Types and varieties of plants for hydroponic cultivation in horticultural tunnels
Almost any seed is suitable for hydroponics, although only specially selected varieties adapted to this technology are on the market. Plants that have already grown on hydroponic plantations are already capable of dealing with such conditions. So the seeds are well adapted to it and the whole growth process is optimal.
You can also introduce cuttings, but you have to remember that it is a much longer process. Older roots that are not adapted to new conditions can dry out, so it is necessary to gently remove them so they do not begin to rot. Choose a healthy young one whose root system is under construction, carefully observe whether the plant has set in.
Fertilizers for hydroponics crops under cover
In order for the growth process to run smoothly. The plant should be fertilized, in this case the right amount of minerals and nutrients is added to the water. Hydroponic growers use tablets, special granules that dissolve quickly in water. For outdoor crops, vegetables, fruit and flowers draw everything from the soil but here, as already written above, the substrate in hydroponic cultivation is neutral and has no effect on the development of plants. Distilled water also does not have any nutritional values. So it is possible to precisely determine the amount of fertilizer doses.
Before adding fertilizer solution into the hydroponic system, it is necessary to leave it to stand for 24 hours , after thorough mixing. During this time, the unwanted substances evaporate and the reaction takes place to enrich the liquid with beneficial elements. Fertilizer manufacturers include instructions, proportions data to adjust to the type and size of crops. Basic fertilizers are not suitable for hydroponic plants because they create a reaction and alter pH massively. And any major modification leads to crop damage.
Advantages of hydroponics in foil tunnel
The grower has full ability to determine how much fertilizer will be provided, the amount of fertilization can be obtained with the help of appropriate calculators. Therefore the dose will be fully adapted and the growth process will be optimized. Vegetables and fruits growing in hydroponic crops are not endangered by pests and diseases thriving in the soil. Paralysis by pathogens and parasite plague rarely affect such plantations due to minimal development space. As these systems are fully automated, the facility greatly improves every aspect that contributes to the development process. Sterile substrate conditions, high level of cleanliness for work results in high quality and price for the yield.
Another benefit is that in such farms, hardly any transplant ever occurs. Preferably, rooted plants can grow in one place for many years, without suffering from pest, sterile ground or tougher conditions.
Krosagro foil greenhouses are made of galvanized steel profiles and pipes, manufactured from the best raw materials by STAL IMPEX. Modular design and thoughtful solutions enable the use of such structures for both private and professional crops. Depending on the Krosagro project ordered, standard tunnels like single or multi vegetation are available, as well as custom-made greenhouses.