The global population recently reached 7.5 billion and is projected to pass 9 billion by 2050. Millions of people live in cities without producing their own food. At the same time, we have to face significant threats such as, climate change, increasing droughts, soil depletion, disease, excess fertilization, phosphorus scarcity, water pollution, chemical overloads, pollinator destruction, biodiversity loss, and GMO.
More than 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a consequence, the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 16 times since GMOs were introduced. Genetically Modified crops are also responsible for the emergence of herbicide resistant “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange) 7,8. GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.
The answer is Hydroponics and Aquaponics. Both aquaponics and hydroponics are agricultural technologies that can help feed the cities of the future while meeting customer demands and ensuring the health of ecological systems that sustain a livable world.
Today farmers are increasing the use of these technologies. In the same way, many researchers are looking more closely at how it could solve food problems in the long run, but now, we have to make a step forward and learn how to sustain ourselves.
You have to Learn Hydroponics!
There 6 types of hydroponics systems:
Recognized as the most common system in the market, drip systems are simple, a timer controls a submersed pump. The timer turns the pump on and nutrient solution is dripped onto the base of each plant by a small drip line. In a Recovery Drip System the excess nutrient solution that runs off is collected back in the reservoir for re-use.
There are, however, two types of drip systems to choose from; a recovery drip system and a non-recovery drip system.
EBB and Flow System
The Ebb and Flow system works by temporarily flooding the grow tray with nutrient solution and then draining the solution back into the reservoir. This action is normally done with a submerged pump that is connected to a timer.
When the timer turns the pump on nutrient solution is pumped into the grow tray. When the timer shuts the pump off the nutrient solution flows back into the reservoir. The Timer is set to come on several times a day, depending on the size and type of plants, temperature and humidity and the type of growing medium used.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
N.F.T. systems have a constant flow of nutrient solution so no timer is required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray and flows over the roots of the plants, and then drains back into the reservoir.
There is usually no growing medium used other than air, which saves the expense of replacing the growing medium after every crop. Normally the plant is supported in a small plastic basket with the roots dangling into the nutrient solution.
The aeroponic system is probably the most high-tech type of hydroponic gardening. Like the N.F.T. system above the growing medium is primarily air. The roots hang in the air and are misted with nutrient solution. The misting are usually done every few minutes. Because the roots are exposed to the air like the N.F.T. system, the roots will dry out rapidly if the misting cycles are interrupted.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
This is the easiest hydroponics system by far would be the DWC.
With just a tank of water and nutrient solution, a platform with cut out holes, and a method of oxygenation, you have yourself the base for this hydroponic system! This system does not require any pumps, timers, or tubes. Instead of a reservoir, the plant sits in the water solution absorbing the nutrients.
With no moving water though, you will need air stone to provide oxygen to your plants. You are also better off growing plants that will not mind being continuously submerged in water.
This symbiotic ecosystem helps filter the water in a fish tank with fish inside and feeds your plants vital nutrients it needs to grow. Once the plants have filtered the water, the water runs back into the fish tank, clean and ammonia free.
As we have shown above, these are the most common techniques used in Hydroponics. Try the the simplest one and learn all the processes involved such as, temperature, humidity, pH, nutrients, and much more. The more you understand the better the results you are going to get. Happy Gardening!
- Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357.
- Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, and Seth James Wechsler. “USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption.” USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 09 July 2015.
- Kustin, Mary Ellen. “Glyphosate Is Spreading Like a Cancer Across the U.S.” EWG. Environmental Working Group, 07 Apr. 2015.