Taking care of your hydroponic farm – Part 2
Hydroponics refers to growing plants in water that contains soluble nutrients. This type of farming makes it possible to grow high-quality crops while conserving water. Since water is a scarce resource, South African farmers are looking for alternative farming methods to optimise water consumption. Discover how to care for the plants in your hydroponic system by reading our blog post. You can also find all the equipment that you’ll need on AgriMag.
Proper care of plants
If you want to use hydroponics to produce vegetables, you’ll need to understand how to care for the plants properly. Make sure that the seedlings are spaced correctly when you plant them. Smaller variations can be positioned closer together than larger plants. An adequate water supply is crucial to the success of your system. Check the water flow daily so that you can make any adjustments that are required before it has a negative impact on the plants. Assess the health of the plants every day so that you can rectify problems immediately. If you notice the plants becoming yellow, it typically indicates that there are insufficient nutrients in the water. Yellow plants can also be caused by insufficient light or the presence of a disease. You can maximise the space in your greenhouse by pruning larger plants. It’s advisable to change the nutrient solution at regular intervals of between 2 and 3 weeks. The water needs to be kept at a consistent temperature of between 65 and 75 degrees. Once the growing cycle is complete, you’ll need to clean the system and sterilise the equipment to ensure the success of future crops.
How to prevent pests and diseases
Greenhouses can be used to reduce the risk of pests that are associated with hydroponic crop production. While this method of farming reduces the chances of large insects damaging your crops, it doesn’t prevent small insect infestations or diseases. The increased temperature and humidity levels that are associated with a greenhouse can result in a higher risk for disease. The best conditions for growing plants are also prime conditions for a range of diseases and pests. An understanding of how to prevent pests and a dedication to preventing infestations is required to grow crops using hydroponics. Good sanitation helps to prevent the spread of diseases inside the greenhouses. Cultivation methods can also be implemented to decrease the risk of disease.
Disadvantages of hydroponics
A disadvantage of this type of farming is that it requires a large investment of capital as a hydroponic system is more expensive than using soil. You need specialised knowledge to be able to grow vegetables using hydroponic production methods. Hydroponics is time intensive as the system needs to be cared for every day. The pH of the water in the system, as well as the nutrient levels, need to be checked and adjusted regularly. It also takes time to set up especially if you are new to this method of farming. It can be challenging to find a market where you can sell vegetables that have been produced using hydroponics. Another disadvantage to producing vegetables using this system is that your crop is at risk of being damaged by pests and diseases.
The use of hydroponics is gaining popularity because it helps to conserve water, which is a valuable resource. Vegetables can be cultivated in a controlled environment by using a greenhouse. An advantage to using this system for commercial farming is that it makes it possible to sell vegetables for a higher price out of season. The controlled environment of the greenhouse allows farmers to create the perfect conditions for optimal crop growth. Greenhouses offer plants protection from harsh weather and they decrease the fluctuation in temperatures that occur during the day. Shade netting can be used to cover the greenhouse and polyethylene sheeting is also suitable for local conditions.
Now that you know more about hydroponics, you can find the equipment you need for sale on AgriMag. While there are disadvantages to using this method of farming, it allows you to cultivate crops in a controlled environment.
Click here to read Part 1 – Everything you need to know about hydroponics to further your knowledge of hydroponic farming.