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.

Epic Gardening – Hydroponics

Epic Gardening – Hydroponics

You want to grow hydroponically!

There are very few things that can take your gardening to the next level quite like moving to Hydroponics does. However, whether you’re totally new or just adding onto an existing system, you need an overview of all your choices before you start on hydroponic system design.
In this article, we’re going to review the parts of a hydroponic system, the 5 main methods of hydroponics, and factors to choose the perfect system for you.

The If you’re familiar with any one of these techniques, you know that these are very broad categories, and each has dozens of variations in layout and design. Growers have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a system! In India, small-scale and large-scale Hydroponics has now gathered momentum, with more people becoming aware of hydroponic system design and the use of hydroponics kits.

Back to making your garden epic, through Hydroponics, There are a few important factors to choosing a technique and/or system that fits you:

Location – Your location is integral and starts with, and is not limited to, light – it dictates temperature and sunlight angles. You need to understand the consistency of your temperature. Do you need to have protection for your hydroponic kit?

Crops-Two important factors to consider are what crop varieties you can grow and how you plan on building capacities to maximise the returns of your hydroponic kits, which leads you to:

Platform– Depending on what type of crop you want to grow, you can pick between an NFT and/or DWC unit.

Hydroponics Nutrients for growing plants

Hydroponics Nutrients for growing plants

Those of you doing hydroponics farming in Chennai, Gurgaon and the rest of India, have you ever stopped to wonder what you’re feeding your plants? Whether you’re doing large scale hydroponics in India or hydroponics gardening at home, nutrient dosage can make or break your harvest! So, here’s a brief article to acquaint you with the basics of hydroponic nutrients.

Nutrients are the basis of any hydroponic system since they lack soil. They rely on nutrient solutions to provide the essential elements that plants need. Unlike most commonly available plant food, hydroponic fertilizers must contain the entire spectrum of necessary elements. That makes them a robust and complete nutrient source suitable for all gardens.

With any nutrient solution the two factors to keep in mind are firstly the composition of your nutrients – does it contain all of the elements required for plant growth in the correct ratios. And secondly, with your balanced and complete nutrient solution, what strength or ‘EC’ should it be running at for your particular crop, stage of growth and type of hydroponic system, and how do we measure this.

Composition of nutrient solutions

Most growers doing hydroponics farming in urban areas like Gurgaon and those doing large scale hydroponics in India prefer to buy pre-mixed nutrients from reputed companies. We at FutureFarms have an international partnership with General Hydroponics Europe and are the sole providers of their nutrients in India. If you’re looking for a pre-mixed hydroponic nutrient to get you started with hydroponics farming in Chennai all you have to do is give us a call at FutureFarms or visit our office in Perungudi. If you’re looking to do large scale hydroponics in India or urban farming at home, check out our online store for the best of GHE nutrients!

The best thing about GHE nutrients is that they are made specifically for hydroponics. Often first time growers use nutrients made for plants growing in soil or a potting mix and find that the results are not encouraging. The reason these nutrients aren’t optimal for hydroponics is that they’re not a complete plant food. To be complete a hydroponic nutrient needs to have 3 macronutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) and 10 micronutrients (Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Molybdate, Boron, and Chlorine.) The levels that these elements are present in your hydroponic nutrient tend to vary between brands since there is no one single recommendation for concentrations. Many nutrients may also contain some of the beneficial elements such as Nickel, Cobalt, Silica or Selenium. While these are not essential, they can be beneficial to many crops.

Measuring nutrients strength

The ratio in which nutrients are given to the plants varies based on the type of plant (fruiting vegetables or leafy greens) and the growth cycle of the plant. For instance, younger plants will require more Nitrogen and bloom and flowering plants will require more Phosphorus and Potassium. The feeding chart for nutrients is thus very important and has to be adhered to for maximum yields.

To be able to administer the nutrients in the defined ratios one must also be able to measure the existing strength of nutrients in their reservoir. Electrical conductivity (EC) is a commonly used measure to do this. Since the nutrients are nothing but water-soluble mineral salts, the higher the content in water the greater the EC and vice versa.

With the help of a reliable EC pen and the right nutrients, anyone can be an expert grower!

Build an Efficient Hydroponic System in Easy Steps

Build an Efficient Hydroponic System in Easy Steps

Hydroponics is vying to become the go-to method for home growing. It reduces the physical effort involved in growing crops at home and offers a much simpler formula to grow crops. To build a hydroponics system you can go about it in 2 ways, build your own from scratch or buy prefabricated hydroponics systems from a Hydroponics Equipment Supplier in India.

To build a basic NFT( Nutrient Film Technique) system you will need to understand the basic application of the Nutrient Film Technique. Which is to suspend roots in the shallow flow of water. The water supplied to the plants is to be nutrient-rich and oxygenated. A flat or round pipe is a good choice for this technique. Upvc has been found to be the longest lasting and safest for use in hydroponics.NFT is a great technique for large-scale hydroponics in India for its advantages such as low usage of water, electricity, and Nutrient.

The NFT hydroponic system is also a great way for beginners to start. It maximizes crop per sqft and is easier to maintain due to its recirculating configuration. A basic NFT system has 4 parts. Inlet, outlet channel, and reservoir. Water needs to be circulated through these sections.

Deep water culture systems also have recirculating systems but they give more space for media and interplant space for growing vine and large rooted fruiting vegetable crops. These usually use buckets that are round or square to accommodate the large root systems and have means for efficient trellising. Be aware that fruiting crops have longer cycles and require pollination which can be done manually to grow fruit.

Raft systems are easy to build and need nothing more than a tub and styrofoam. These systems are not the most water efficient and require frequent clearing of algae and careful protection from contamination.

It is good practice to improve aeration with the use of air stones and an air pump to supplement oxygenation of water in standing water and deep water cultures.

Building an efficient hydroponics system also means taking into account the requirement of the crop that is being grown. Raft systems are very good for growing roots in the early stages of the plants’ life I.e to be used in the nursery. NFT caters to plants with small root systems like herbs in contrast to DWC systems meant to grow large plants like tomatoes.

We at future farms make prefabricated units for beginners and home growers. We have leveraged our knowledge of doing large scale hydroponics in India to make easy to assemble kits that are efficient and space saving. These kits avoid the hassle of having to make your own kit and the expensive tooling required to build a system efficiently. We only use certified food grade material in our systems for both commercial and home has grown, and supply the best quality of accessories, nutrients and testing equipment from our international partners.

Hydroponic Gardening – Advanced Way To Grow Plants

Hydroponic Gardening – Advanced Way To Grow Plants

Gardening at home has always been a pleasure for some, and a pain for others. For some, the thought of getting dirt in their fingernails and flooring, working with earthworms, and digging through smelly manure, provides a certain ‘joie de vivre’ that others may find unappealing.

Other people, may want gardening to be less of an arduous task, yet still, wish to have the benefits of fresh greens grown within plucking distance. For people who want to get their greens without having to deal with dirt (and the subsequent problems that inevitably ensue), fear not! Gardening in Hydroponics may prove to be an interesting proposition for you.

In soil, we usually wash away the dirt accumulated from gardening with water. However, avoiding soil and working entirely with clean water, is a common feature of a good hydroponic system design. In this method, plants are rooted in water, not soil. This water is recirculated using a pump and a tank – ensuring that not a single drop is wasted. Most importantly, hydroponic gardening usually manages to produce far superior results (in terms of nutrition, size, aroma, and taste) than traditional soil farming. All this, while keeping your hands clean, and rarely having your back hurt from the unavoidable tilling and toiling with soil…ing.

Today, Hydroponics has grown rapidly (no pun intended) across the country and is becoming a household name. Metro cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Gurgaon to name a few, are slowly becoming hydroponic hubs both for home gardening, and large-scale commercial farming.

In the months and years to come, you would most certainly start seeing fresh, green hydroponic produce, either in your backyard or beautifully packaged on your nearest retail shelf.