Tips on designing the best Hydroponics System

Tips on designing the best Hydroponics System

To design the best hydroponics system, one must look at the host of factors contributing to plant growth, roughly these are the environment, temperature, nutrient delivery and protection from damaging agents.

Hydroponics farming in India looks to the use of Greenhouses as a solution to manage these factors. Greenhouses are large structures built over tracts of flat land to accommodate the protected farming techniques, that use climate control methods and such to grow seasonal crops in unseasonal weather. In hydroponics, an additional technology used is water chillers as a cool root zone promotes aeration and root health.

For ambient temperature fan and pad cooling systems are effective in dry and hot weather. The system works by drawing air in through a cellulose pad placed all along one side of the polyhouse structure, water is trickled through this cellulose pad to provide the evaporative cooling effect. The air is sucked in by large fans and blown out of the greenhouse.

The material a greenhouse is made of can also greatly help with removing trapped heat from the structure, commonly used material is polycarbonate which, while being significantly more expensive than a poly sheet, it has the best heat transfer ability and hence is the best for climate control. Polycarbonate is also more durable but can be tough to work with due to its rigidity. The ultimate in greenhouse material technology is Glass greenhouses, both the most expensive and the best to control temperature and climate. A Glass greenhouse would ultimately require less frequent maintenance than any other type of greenhouse material. A glass greenhouse would be ideal for doing hydroponics in Gurgaon or Delhi which have very varying climates.

When looking at doing large scale hydroponics in India it is important to remember that we undergo usually intense summers followed by pleasant winters. Heating is not a necessary concern except in very extreme cold climates, but these climate zones are restricted to a few pockets and usually, the market for hydroponics is not present in these areas. This, however, should not discourage potential hydroponic farmers as the colder climates help with growing high-value exotics. These have great export and commercial value in urban areas.

Automation is a key aspect of designing any hydroponics system, water is reactive and transpiration and evaporation can change key water parameters of ph and EC and hence it is necessary standing monitor systems like the Bluelab Guardian monitor. When looking at automatic dosing the requirement stems from the need to reduce labor and time spent on maintaining the system thereby freeing up labor for harvest, maintenance, and packaging of the produce. Automation can be achieved through master controllers and peristaltic pump dosers. These control panels like the Bluelab Pro Controller are very efficient at monitoring and controlling dosing pumps such as the Bluelab Peripod to maintain the all-important parameters of pH and EC. The Bluelab connect software is a remote monitoring and control software that helps growers record data and control their dosing remotely. The Pro controller is a versatile device that can control up to 12, 3 or 4 pump dosing units and can be used to do up to 3 nutrients and one pH solution, this has great application for automating fruiting vegetable crop production. The Pro controller can set an individual on/off times for each of the pumps thus enabling the grower to maintain the right NPK mix for his crops throughout the growing cycle.

The Hydroponics system itself should be designed according to the crop to maximize efficiency and space. For example, Tomatoes need larger root spaces with changes to their NPK ratios during flowering but lettuce can be grown close together on pipes with very little nutrient use. Thus we use different hydroponic techniques for these plants, tomatoes are grown on DWC rafts or BATO bucket systems and NFT systems are used to grow leafy greens and herbs. The type of crop dictates the type of vessel the crop is grown in. While cheap and cost-effective, DWC trays may be cumbersome to maintain and flimsy meaning frequent repairs and upgrades. NFT and BATO systems are easier to maintain and dose, they also use water and space more efficiently.

One important factor of the use of all these technologies is the ability to monitor the factors affecting crop growth and thus giving us the necessary data to improve our crop growing process to produce better yields and more quality crops. The use of technology could help us mitigate the damage that factory farming over vast tracts of land has done to our environment. The introduction of a data-based A+B= C formula is only possible with careful data monitoring and interpretation to make a replicable plant growing formula for great yields and quality produce.

How to Choose the Hydroponics Suppliers?

How to Choose the Hydroponics Suppliers?

Hydroponics in India is a very new industry and hence, finding good hydroponics suppliers is more difficult than would be expected. This article is a short guide to helping you pick a good hydroponics supplier to get you started with growing plants at home. The first thing you should do is to categorize existing suppliers into equipment manufacturers vs. re-sellers of popular brands. This is important because if the re-sellers are selling you systems designed and manufactured internationally, then in case of damages or replacements you will face delays in replacing parts. This is a problem if you are mid-cycle, you now risk losing your plants. In case of equipment manufacturers, the procurement of spares or replacements will be significantly easier.

Hydroponic systems are not prone to heavy wear and tear, but over time in case of incidental damages to the system can cause leaks that may be hard to fix – making it more advisable to go about picking a local manufacturer that helps with spares and replacements.

The next important consideration when practicing home hydroponics is looking for NFT Hydroponics system suppliers that who also provide post-sales service. Home hydroponics for a beginner can be quite daunting, it would help if you have someone to guide you through your first grow. Some hydroponics supplier also offers training programs or paid visits to help you get started. The next important point when picking hydroponics suppliers is to understand what certifications the supplier has for their equipment. This is important because all the materials used in hydroponics should be food grade while buying hydroponics equipment please note that the materials used have food grade material certifications. These certifications are expensive so this reflects in the cost of the system. So opting for the cheapest system is not the best option as the low price may be a result of not using food grade materials so do look out for the same.

Some suppliers may offer you DIY kits that are a compilation of different parts required to build a system this option may be cheaper and offer some customization options but will require one to assemble the system yourself. Inputs are another important consideration, good quality consumables like seeds and nutrients are hard to come by picking a supplier who offers both is a good idea as they will have some experience in growing the seeds and their inputs will be valuable as you are getting started home hydroponics. Best way to get started is to look for suppliers that offer complete growers kits for home hydroponics this will help you get all the required components in one go. So what are you waiting for, go to!

Hydroponics Gardening – Moving Beyond the Hobby Stage

Hydroponics Gardening – Moving Beyond the Hobby Stage

Hydroponic Gardening can be a fun activity with rewarding results. These results, however, beg the question can I do this to make money as a commercial venture. We then look to expand out of the hobby growing scenario and move to a more serious production-based method of growing. This move fueled by a desire to see hydroponics as a viable, sustainable and profitable venture would mean changing the outlook from a hobby grower to one that will use data and replicable models to attain growth throughout the year.

Firstly commercial hydroponics farming in Hyderabad or Chennai or anywhere will first need a careful examination of existing resources. Top of the list being open flat land, water, and electricity. Next would be to specify the type of hydroponics, climate control, and polyhouse that one will use to achieve this kind of farming on a large scale. These components will decide the kind of crops that you can grow throughout the year. One must remember to survey the market and see the viability of growing particular crops at a particular time of the year. For example, one doing hydroponics in Gurgaon it would profitable to grow lettuce in summer but resort to things like swiss chard or kale in winter when lettuce supply is usually more abundant.

The type of hydroponic equipment used will dictate what one can grow in their farm, A NFT set up would likely work for leafy greens and herbs but would not be successful in growing larger rooted crops. A DWC system or dutch bucket system would make the cultivation of tomatoes or strawberries much easier. Another factor to consider is the type of climate and temperature for growing a plant needs, set temperatures can be achieved with the use of climate control such as air conditioners, fan and pad systems, and even chiller tanks to reduce water temperatures. Material that a polyhouse is made of can also help with temperature control.

The most important aspect is the market. Does it make sense to invest a vast amount in a technologically advanced farm with better quality and quantity of output? Does my market need the benefits that hydroponic growing give? Does it market as a better product than its soil or organic counterparts? The answer to this can only be tested with a marketable product, there is always a need in one part or another for production of a particular crop variety and hence one must constantly look for new opportunities to refine current crop production methods to achieve better yields or quality and look at new crops for more options of products to take to market. Packaging and collateral educating people of the benefits of these crops is also something farmers must focus on to spread the word of the little-known benefits of this type of farming.

The shift from hobby to commercial growing means more thought on the overall product than just the growing, with hydroponics we can use data to follow fool proof growing SOP’s to get recurring and consistent quantities and qualities of the crop but selling the end result is the main gateway to running your farm profitably.

How to improve Hydroponics Lighting

How to improve Hydroponics Lighting

Using Artificial lighting in growing crops is a fairly new concept when you consider that agriculture itself is an age-old practice that led to the development of modern society. There is still a lot of data being gathered on the efficacy of lights for indoor growing especially to do with spectrums and optimal use of electricity to maximize growth while not stressing out the plants. Lights are increasingly being used in both Commercial Farming and Home Hydroponics to let growers overcome the restraints of nature and enable growth in indoor closed and controlled climates and environments. The use of lights to remove the need for sun and land-based agriculture is the future of urban food production, in this post we will discuss methods to optimize the use of these lights in indoor and controlled environment agriculture.

The first thing to look at is the type of light, older less efficient lights are the HPS(high-pressure sodium) MH(Metal Halide) and CFL(Compact Fluorescent light) which have been used extensively in the past in grow rooms. These types have a lot of disadvantages ranging from the inefficient use of electricity too high heat generation or low light output. These early experiments have led to the invention of the efficient LED bulbs that put out a lot of light without eating up electricity and needing too many accessories to run. LED’s can also be designed to put out light in specific spectrums and hence if a grower has access to good quality LED’s then that would be the best pick.

The second thing is the grow room or grow area itself which should act conducive to increasing light absorption by the plant and so high reflectivity must be achieved. This can be done by painting the walls of the grow room with highly reflective paint such as pearl white or using a reflective material like mylar or foil. Light placement is also important, most LED’s come in a configuration of throwing light at 90 degrees or 120-degree angles and so the plants to be grown should be placed directly below the lighting system and larger areas may require multiple light fixtures. Towards the outer edge of the lit area, the lux values could fall drastically hence a lux meter to reduce low lux spaces between light fixtures would be recommended to have a larger more uniformly lit grow area. Daisy chaining which is the capability of controlling multiple light fixtures with a single control unit, this is a useful feature when having multiple lights and this can be used to control on/off cycles and optimize electricity use. It is also useful to have height adjustable rope ratchets to be able to adjust the height as per the plant type.

Heating is a common issue when it comes to growing rooms and this can be mitigated with exhaust fans and circulation of air inside the grow room. It is imperative that a grow room has an even in-out flow of air to remove hot air and let more fresh air into the grow room. Circulation between the plant canopy is also crucial and can be achieved with the help of simple fans. Advanced climate control methods like air conditioners also help mitigate this issue.

Lights must simulate the sun’s natural process in order to nurture the plant through its life cycles. A plant that flowers or matures only with the change in the seasonal availability of sunlight will not thrive well in an overly light stimulated environment when it is in its flowering cycle. To counter this some growers use timed light cycles for the various stages, for example for vegetative growth an 18(on)-6(off) cycle is used and for flowering they use 12on-12off cycle, this puts the plant into a false sense of seasonal light change (summer-winter).

For someone doing hydroponics in Gurgaon or other areas with extreme summers, indoor growing could mean a steady supply of off-season crops without the use of pesticides and the ills of soil growing. Agriculture is a constantly improving method for sustenance with the availability of more and more energy sources for us indoor growing will soon become a norm at every residence and commercial farming ventures.

Grow your plants with Hydroponic tailored kits

Grow your plants with Hydroponic tailored kits

Hydroponic plants have a higher growth rate than soil plants grown under the same conditions. They also produce greater yields. The advantages of using Hydroponics in rapidly expanding places like Bangalore and Gurgaon are massive!

Hydroponic plants also have fewer problems with disease, funguses, and bug infestations. You can grow almost any vegetable, houseplant or fruit that you want in your hydroponic garden.

Hydroponic systems are also beneficial to the environment. Hydroponic gardening constantly reuses the nutrient solutions which mean that it uses less water than soil gardening.

Through the use of hydroponic tailored kits that are now available through numerous channels in the market, the cost of Hydroponic farming in India has dropped considerably.

Though growing plants in a tailored hydroponic kit are quite easy to do, there are a few other things you will need besides just a hydroponic system, as well as some things you should know to grow your plants successfully. Here are some things you’ll need, and want to know about: understanding of pH, nutrition, humidity, lighting (if you’re using LEDs or artificial lighting) and pest management. The most important thing to get started is to consider the right system that is tailored for hydroponic growing.

India has a number of bustling urban areas, hydroponics in places like Mumbai, Chennai, hydroponics in Bangalore, and ,hydroponics in Gurgaon is the solution to allowing people to grow clean, pesticide-free food from the safety and comfort of their own homes.