Hydroponics is suitable for growing plants in limited spaces, especially in urban areas where land is scarce.
It is ideally suited to urban gardening and is producing fruit, vegetables and herbs in gardens, balconies and courtyards, and greenhouses.
Hydroponics is a method of plant propagation that has existed for almost 2,000 years. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Greeks all experimented with hydroponics. In 1783, a French botanist, Francois-Nicolas-Henri de Jussieu, developed a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions. He named this method “hydroponics.”
In 1884, a London botanist, Frederick William Traugott Pursh, began experimenting with growing plants without soil. He developed the “fertilizer culture,” which used mineral nutrient solutions in an inert medium. Pursh’s system proved popular, and became known as “Pursh culture.”
Later, a botanist, Robert Fortune, developed a method of growing plants in an inert medium. He called his system “soilless culture.” Fortune’s system consisted of layers of inert material, such as sphagnum moss, coconut husks and clay. He invented modified forms of the clay, including sphagnum moss, peat moss, guano and charcoal.
In 1895, John Kearney, a Scot, developed a method of growing plants in an inert medium. He called his system “soilless culture.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. The roots are in mineral nutrient solutions.
In hydroponics, plants grow in a nutrient solution, such as water or nutrient-enriched water. Nutrient solutions typically contain potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and micronutrients in different concentrations, depending on the crop.
- Hydroponics is used to produce vegetables, ornamental plants, fruits, and other plants, including medicinal plants and cannabis.
- Hydroponic systems require less space than soil-based agriculture, and plants grown in hydroponic systems are not subject to soil-borne pests and diseases.
- Hydroponics can also reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides.
- Hydroponic systems can also be integrated with aquaculture.
- Today, hydroponic systems are used to produce a wide variety of plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, eggplant, and strawberries.
- Hydroponic systems reduce the need for herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.
- Hydroponic systems also can be used for medicinal plants and cannabis.
- Hydroponic systems produce smaller, more uniform plants.
- Hydroponics is capable of producing plants that can grow in arid environments, such as deserts because they can draw their nutrients from the nutrient solution.
- Hydroponic systems can be less labour-intensive than soil-based agriculture but require close monitoring and control to ensure optimal growth.
- Hydroponics can use less space than soil-based agriculture and is capable of producing crops without soil-borne pests
Hydroponics, a water-saving method of growing pesticide-free produce on rooftops and terraces, is becoming popular among urban farmers.
According to studies, India’s hydroponics market will develop at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53 per cent between 2020 and 2027.
In India, the vegetable market is dominated by middlemen who buy vegetables from farmers at a low price and then sell them to consumers at a higher price.
The farmer finds buyers for vegetables using middlemen. The middlemen then sell vegetables to the retailers, who sell vegetables to consumers.
According to an ASSOCHAM survey, in India, 70% of vegetables in the market are procured by middlemen through brokers. The middlemen, in turn, procure fresh vegetables and fruits from farmers and sell them to consumers.
The farmers are deprived of the entire value chain, as the middlemen, who procure the vegetables, are also not aware of the quality of fruits and vegetables.
The middlemen, in turn, do not have a record of the quality of the vegetables and fruits and hence, consume more vegetables than they actually sell to retailers.
This results in the wastage of vegetables and fruits.
The middlemen, in turn, are not present at farmers’ fields, and hence, farmers are unable to inform them about the quality of the fruits and vegetables procured by them.
The middlemen also do not have proper storage facilities, and hence, the fruits and vegetables procured by them rot. As a result, farmers suffer losses.
Everything has given rise to a new way of controlled environment farming with complete backwards tracing.
And hydroponics in India has emerged as the new tool and from the growth aspects, it looks like it’s there to stay.
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