What is Hydroponics?
by David Nachreiner 08
At Morrisville State College in the Horticulture Program all students are assigned hydroponic tomatoes to grow. It is one of our largest crops and we supply a many different places with these tomatoes, such as: the campus dining hall, the Copper Turret Restaurant, and Hamilton Whole Foods.
We affectionately call the tomatoes, “Mo-matoes” because it is a combination of Morrisville and tomatoes. It is just something neat that the class has made up and the name became popular.
Hydroponics is the growing of plants with their roots in a completely inorganic media. Essential elements are provided by a solution of soluble nutrients.
Basically, hydroponics is the growing of plants without the use of soil. Instead the soil is replaced with hydroton (clay-like balls) that the plant roots grow through. Hydroponic nutrient solution is constantly dripping over the roots. It is really cool stuff.
Here are a few different advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics:
Advantages of Hydroponics
Hydroponic production systems have a continuous supply of moisture and nutrients resulting in faster growth of the crop. Our tomatoes are growing incredibly fast! This means that production is more efficient .
Modern nutrient hydroponic systems are a closed system. This means that nutrients are collected and recycled, avoiding waste and pollution.
Disadvantages of Hydroponics
Hydroponic systems do have some problems. Systems either work out greator you could lose everything. Hydroponic systems provide water, aeration, and nutrients at exact levels twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Although this is a good thing, this develops a plant that will not tolerate any adverse conditions. A clogged tube, an empty controller, or the wrong nutrient levels and the plant is dead!
The plants are growing well, but there are some problems. It appears that some plants have Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV). There will be more on this disease problem in a future article.