HYDROPONICS TODAY

If our reader got this far, we presume that he has therefore taken a good look at the preceding pages and therefore, has a pretty good idea of what constitutes Hydroponics, as well as the various tecnologies related to it.

Hydroponics is a fairly recent technique as it has only been used for commercial production for no more than 70 years.

Many authors and researchers already consider it a Science.

However, even in such a short space of time, it has been modified for a wide range of applications; from crops cultivated outside, to those grown in greenhouses; even for specific plants cultivated in atomic submarines, in space craft, and in outer space stations.

While it is a science of the space age, it can be used in underdeveloped countries around the world to produce large quantities of food in small areas.

The only restrictions are clean water and nutrients.

Where there is no drinking water, desalinated sea or stagnant pool waters may be used.

Where there are no industrially produced nutrients, one can use those extracted from residues and other organic matters treated in biodigesters.

Because of this, it presents a huge potential for the production of food in areas where there are no agricultural soils available, as in natural or human made deserts.

Hydroponic units can be set up anywhere, along the sea coast, on top of tall buildings in big city areas and inside apartments, or in home gardens and bak yards.

By using hydroponics we can produce not only greens and fruits with high nutritional value to be used as a complement to salads, but also as fodder for milk and beef cattle.

In an area of 20 square metres, we can hydroponically produce every day 450 kgs of fresh fodder to feed not only domestic cattle but also animals in zoos.

Hydroponically produced fodder increases milk production by as much as 30%, and the conversion to meat for beef by as much as 20%. It also increases considerably the fertility rates of males and females.

In poultry farms, egg-laying increases by 40% and eliminates cannibalism among chicken.

Aromatic and medicinal herbs are also produced with the same quality as those traditionally produced in soil.

Medicinal herbs can be produced in completely sterilised places, and according to the plant used, one can emphasize or ecourage the development or growth of the roots or foliage.

Any kind of plant whose roots, leaves, branches, seeds, fruits or tubers are utilised, can be produced hydoponically.

Besides controlling the quality of plants, we can also control their sugar, vitamin, protein and other essential compound levels.

Through hydroponic techniques, we can also enrich plants for human and animal consumption, as well as include certain microelements not essential to the plants but crucial to man, by managing accordingly and naturally,  the plants’ nutrient solution.

Hydroponics not only enables us to produce food, but also to purify air efficiently, as will be demonstrated by NASA testing for the future space stations.

Nonetheless, hydroponics still faces problems that hinder its development.

One of them is the negative attitude that certain professionals and professors of agricultural schools have towards this technique, from lack of interest to open hostility, due to their reluctance to study new production systems that conflict with the traditional ones.

As is typical of man, there is a fear of the unknown and unfamiliar.

Fortunately, throughout the world, there are people sufficiently generous and open minded, always ready to help producers to install their hydroponic units.

For hydroponics, the future is promising.

However, it must be emphasised that hydroponics is not THE SOLUTION, but ONE SOLUTION that can help reduce hunger that is so prevalent in various parts of our planet.

Its application can be for commercial reasons or absolute necessity, when faced with the impossibility of using traditional farming methods.

In either case, the application of hydroponics must never be undertaken without a thourough knowledge of its fundamental principles, followed by adequate and careful research and planning.

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