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Hydroponic Farming: Best Hydroponic Substrates You Should Use

Hydroponic farming requires a substrate for plants to grow and develop. Here we have given four substrates that can be utilized based on their suitability for selected crops.

Shivani Meena
Rockwool: A substrate for hydroponic Farming
Rockwool: A substrate for hydroponic Farming

Farmers utilize various hydroponic growing media depending on the kind of hydroponic system they employ or their specific needs. Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without the need for soil. Instead, a nutrient-rich water solution is employed to feed plants with the nutrients they require. 

Hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular due to its simplicity of usage and management. It is one of the most effective indoor urban farming technologies utilized in modern agriculture and the majority of commercial urban farms. 

Soil is used in traditional agriculture to give support and as a substrate for plants to develop and collect nutrients. 

In a hydroponics system, however, nutrient-rich solutions are employed to offer nutrients, and various growing media are used to function as a substrate that supports the plants while simultaneously giving nutrients and oxygen to their roots. 

The media can be delivered as slabs, blocks, and plugs, or in bulk, which the farmer can choose and place on growth trays, buckets, or bags in which the plants are cultivated. 

Best Hydroponic growing media for Your Crops 

Rockwool 

Cotton candy-like fibers made from coke, limestone, and volcanic rock are known as rock wool. It comes in the form of plugs, bricks, or slabs. 

Advantages 

  • Ensures that plant roots are well aerated.

  • Very long-lasting and durable

  • Excellent water retention

 

Disadvantages 

  • Extremely sensitive to high PH

  • non-biodegradable

Perlite 

Perlite, a volcanic rock, is one of the most widely used hydroponic growth media. It works well in hydroponic wicking systems. It may also be utilized in drip hydroponics and aeroponics. 

It is available in a variety of grades, ranging from fine to coarse, to promote plant growth at all stages, from seedling to maturity. 

Advantages 

  • Provides good aeration for plant roots

  • It's extremely light and permeable.

  • Can be reused

  • It has excellent wicking characteristics

Cons 

  • Water retention capacity is insufficient

Expanded clay pebbles 

Clay is heated at high temperatures in kilns to produce expanded clay pebbles. They come in sizes ranging from one to eighteen millimeters. Grow rocks are another name for them. 

Drip or ebb-and-flow hydroponic systems are ideal for this. 

Advantages 

  • Because of their porosity, they provide for adequate drainage and aeration.

  • They last a long time before breaking down.

  • have a pH of 7.0

  • They are reasonably priced.

  • Provide Good support to plant

Disadvantages 

  • Due to their porosity, they have poor water retention.

  • The breakdown of the particles might choke pipes and the drainage system.

  • They must be rewashed and sanitized before usage since nutrients and pathogens from the previous growing season might clog on them.

  • They are large and heavy, necessitating a substantial support system if they are to be utilized for agricultural cultivation.

COCO AIR 

This is a byproduct of the coconut industry made from coconut husks. It is also known as coco peat, ultra-peat, and coco tektite and is often offered in blocks or slabs. 

Advantages 

  • Extremely long-lasting and recyclable

  • Water retention capacity that is enough between irrigation cycles

  • Biodegradable

  • It has antifungal properties

Disadvantages 

High quantities of salt may be present. Only buy low-salt cocoa air. 

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