Hydroponics is a Latin word, which could be defined as the process of growing plants, without the most essential element, soil. There are diverse ways of hydroponic gardening, and individuals could choose any one method, in accordance to their convenience. In this procedure, the plants are kept in an inactive growing medium and a nutrient solution, in highly soluble state and with an appropriate pH balance is provided to the roots. This allows the plants to take all the required nutriments without any effort, unlike in soil-based farming, where the roots need to search and extract the right nutrients. Research has shown that a plant grows rapidly and becomes healthier in hydroponics than in traditional agriculture.
What are the Essential Nutrients used in Hydroponics?
In the following discussion, we would move onto discuss the elements, which makes the ideal nutrient solution, mentioned above. So, the important hydroponic nutrients are described as follows:
· Major or Macro nutrients include- Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).
Nitrogen is necessary because it builds proteins, enzymes and chlorophyll in a plant’s body. Phosphorus is required so that the plants could transform light into chemical energy. It is also necessary for the formation of sugars and phosphorus strengthens a plant’s immune system. Potassium is required so that the plants could perform photosynthesis and bear flowers.
· Secondary nutrients include- Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), Magnesium (Mg) and other trace elements.
Calcium is required so that all the nutrients taken up by the roots could be transported to all the parts of the plant. Sulfur assists nitrogen in the building of proteins, enzymes and vitamins. It is essential for healthy seed production and root growth. Magnesium is an important component of chlorophyll. It also activates necessary plant enzymes. Trace elements such as, copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) are also needed but in minute amounts. They are also called micro nutrients.
· Non-essential supplements or additives might or might not be added. They include: amino acids and vitamins, humic and fulvic acid and molasses.
Amino acids could accelerate the growth of plants. Molasses has great nutritional value. It is cheap and thus, used by growers if and only the other above-mentioned nutrients are not available. Humic or Fulvic is a collection of acids, which we get, when humus and other organic compounds are broken down. They also make the process of production swift.
All these hydroponic nutrients could make your indoor garden flourishing. Gardeners could buy premixed packets from the market or could mix the individual components manually. The latter is economically advantageous and allows a diverse range of flexibility.