Aeroponics Is the Future of Indoor Gardening!
Indoor gardening is a rewarding endeavor that lets people grow delicious foods like herbs and vegetables in their homes. One of the challenges to indoor gardening is mimicking the large, soil-rich space available outdoors. Many indoor gardeners find themselves turning to hydroponics to eliminate the need for deep soil to grow their plants. As gardeners become more experienced with indoor growing they often move on to aeroponics. Whether you are an experienced hydroponic grower or a newbie to indoor gardening, consider the aeroponics alternative first as aeroponics and hydroponics systems are not cheap.
What is Aeroponics
Aeroponics is an indoor gardening method that allows you to grow a garden without soil as seen here. Instead of planting vegetables, herbs or other greens outdoors, an aeroponics system grows plants in chambers, such as troughs or tubes. Seeds are placed in special mesh holders in growing chambers. The chambers do not contain soil or other solid materials, like rockwool. Plants in an aeroponic chamber have their roots suspended in the air, not in soil or water. Aeroponics systems feed plants with a nutrient mist and “smart” lighting.
Plants in an aeroponics chamber have more space to grow than in pots or troughs. Plants are held in place with neoprene collars. The collars are strong enough to support the plants, but flexible enough to accommodate growth. This gives the plants increased space in an environment that supports fast growth and nutrient-rich foods.
There are two basic types of aeroponics systems to choose from. You may either get a system with continual root chambers or buy a stadium style system with a V-shaped growing area featuring a high-intensity light in the middle. Systems come with collars, sprayers, pumps and typically an upper and lower chamber.
It is important though to get to superior fertilizers for your aeroponics system. The fertilizers need to be made correctly to spray without causing clogs. The ratios and pH buffering is critical for the right amount of nutrients in the correct balance to enter roots.
Benefits of Aeroponics
One of the main benefits of aeroponics is that the plants’ roots hang in space. This means that roots have more room to grow larger and can more easily absorb nutrients and oxygen. The increased size of roots and greater absorption results in accelerated growth rates. Some aeroponics systems promise a harvest after 28 days, and some say it takes even less time.
Also, plants grown using aeroponics have a smaller chance of developing root zone disease. Having the roots free of solid materials makes them less prone to disease because there is simply nothing for pathogens to thrive in.
Aeroponics also improves survival rate and floral growth. Plants grown in aeroponics systems produce more flowers. Aeroponic plants are also easier to move. You do not have to dig up plants and risk damage or stress to move them. Simply take them out of their collars and put them in different ones, or plant them in a pot as a gift.
Hydroponics Vs. Aeroponics
Both hydroponics and aeroponics offer a controlled way to grow plants indoors that eliminates issues with temperature and lighting, and gives roots more access to crucial oxygen. In a hydroponics system, plants grow in sterile root zone media instead of soil. This may include materials like volcanic rock or rockwool. Most of the media do not have any nutrients in them, so you have to feed them. Some media may have small amounts of nutrients, but not enough for plants to thrive.
Hydroponics systems are still more effective than soil systems. The plants’ roots in hydroponic chambers are more easily able to absorb nutrients from the root zone media than soil and the system lets gardeners have complete control of the types of nutrients and the ratios they wish to use.
However, aeroponics systems are still preferable to hydroponics because the plants, being suspended in air, have greater access to crucial oxygen. Plants grow faster using aeroponics, are easier to move and the care is simpler due to the nutrient-cycling mist. Aeroponic systems make cleaning simpler too. You do not have to take out the rockwool or other media to clean the chamber. You only have to take out the plants to clean the systems, including the reservoirs, chambers and irrigation channels. Water and a mild disinfectant is all it takes.
Whether you choose aeroponics or hydroponics is somewhat about personal preference. Hydroponics has been around longer, but aeroponics in many ways is more advanced.