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Hydroponics Farming: Why Hydroponic Farms are Trending in India?

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia
hydroponics farming
Hydroponics

Hydroponics is slowly gaining popularity in India and attracting more and more farmers. Basically, hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydro culture, which is a method of growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. 

Hydroponic farming can be done in a small space also like balcony which is soil-less, water-based farming processes. Rather than using soil for plant nutrition, crops are fed nutrient-rich water, negating a lot of the baggage that comes with soil-based methods. 

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution, skipping the soil. “It has been practised for centuries, so it is not a new technology," points out Akhila Vijayaraghavan, the founder-director of Coimbatore’s Parna Farms, adding the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are believed to have been hydroponically grown. “The Aztecs created vast hydroponic systems using rafts called chinampas," she says. 

The film piqued Gopal’s interest, and he began reading about the method to grow plants without soil. “We started working with hydroponics as a project in 2012. At that time, we didn’t know much about the plight of farmers and how a technology like this could add value," said Gopal. The idea was to create awareness among the right audience and sell “through prototypes and hobby kits." 

Urban farmers are taking to hydroponics, a water-smart solution to grow pesticide-free produce on rooftops and terraces. As per reports, India’s hydroponics market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53% between 2020 and 2027. 

What is Hydroponics 

Hydroponics is a branch of hydroculture, in which plants are grown without soil by using water solvent which consists of minerals nutrient solution. Terrestrial plants may be grown with  their roots only, roots are  exposed to the nutritious liquid, or roots may be  supported physically by a medium like gravel. 

Plants are also grown through a process called photosynthesis, in which plants use sunlight and a chemical inside their leaves called chlorophyll to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen, as shown in reaction. 

6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6(Glucose)+ 6O2 

The nutrients we use in hydroponic systems may come from different sources, such as  fish excrement, duck manure, or chemical fertilisers. 

1Advantages of Hydroponics 

  1. Plantation without soil

We can grow plants in places where the land is limited, doesn't exist, or is contaminated. In early time period , Hydroponics was successfully technique used to supply fresh vegetables for troops in Wake Island. It has been considered as the future farming to grow foods for astronauts in the space by NASA. 

  1. Better use of space and location

All that plants need are provided and maintained in a system, you can grow plants in a small apartment, bedrooms or kitchen as long as you have some spaces. 
Roots of plants usually expand and spread out in search of foods, and oxygen in the soil but in case of Hydroponics, roots are sunk in a tank full of oxygenated nutrient solution and are directly in contact with vital minerals. This means that you can grow your plants closer, and consequently huge space savings. 

  1. Climate control

Hydroponic growers can have total control on climate, temperature, humidity, light, the composition of the air. Which means you can grow foods all year, regardless of the season. Farmers can produce foods at the right time to maximize their profits. 

  1. Water saving

Plants grown by the process of  hydroponically can use 10% of water, as compared to one grown on the field because water is recirculated, in this method. Plants will take up water they need, while run-off water will be captured and return to the system. Water loss in this system will only occur in two forms - evaporation and leaks from the system. 

  1. Use of nutrients

You can have a 100% control of the nutrients (foods) that plants need in this method. Before planting, growers can check what are plants requirement and what amounts of nutrients needed at particular stages and at what percentage it should be mixed with water. 

  1. Better growth rate

Do hydroponic plants grow faster than in soil? Yes,  because you can set conditions favourable to the plants growth like temperature, lights, moisture, and especially nutrients. As plants are placed in favourable conditions, nutrients are provided at the sufficient amounts and come into direct contacts with the root systems. Therefore, plants do not waste valuable energy in search for diluted nutrients in the soil and put their complete focus on growth. 

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