Significance of hydroponic technique for crops
Authors: Dr. Rajdeep Mundiyara, Mukesh Kumar Jat, Sharwan Kumar Jat and Prem Kumar
Rajasthan State Seeds Corporation Ltd. Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
*Corresponding author: rmundiyara5@gmail.com


Hydroponics is a technology for growing plants in nutrient solutions (water and fertilizers) with or without the use of an artificial medium (e.g., sand, gravel, vermiculite, rock-wool, peat moss, coir, sawdust) to provide mechanical support.

Hydroponic is a soilless technique, which provides nutrient and water to plant with equal and higher yield compare to soil. The progress of hydroponics has been rapid and results obtained in various countries have proved that this technology is thoroughly practical and has very definite advantages over conventional methods of crop production.

Advantage of Hydroponics
• Plants grow up to 50% faster than in soil.
• Nutrients are directly available to plants don't get bound up.
• Better quality produce and higher yields.
• Improved flavor and texture.
• Little or no pesticide is necessary.
• Gardening is possible where it would not normally.
• Continuous cultivation and off-season production is possible.
• No soil borne disease and nematode infestation.
• Less labour is required than growing in soil.
• Easy to hire labour
• No need of electricity, pumps etc. for the non-circulating systems of solution culture
• Minimum water wastage
• More resistant to pest and disease.
• More number of plants can be growing into smaller area.

Limitation
• Requires higher initial capital expenditure.
• Require high degree of management skills.
• Limited to high value crops.
• A large scale cultivator may have to purchase instruments to measure pH and EC of the nutrient solution.
• Energy inputs are necessary.
• Sharing of nutrient solutions can spread disease and pest.
• Yields decrease when temperature of the solution rises during warm periods.

Different methods of hydroponics
• Liquid hydroponics (solution culture)
• Aggregate system (solid media culture)
• Aeroponics

Liquid hydroponics
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT )
Deep Flow Technique ( DET)
Root Dipping Technique
Floating Technique
Capillary Action Technique

Nutrient Film Technique
• True hydroponics system
• Thin nutrient solution film (0.5 mm.) flows
• Channel made of flexible sheet
• Root mat formation
• Channel length: 5-10 m.
• Nutrient Solution flow rate : 2-3 lit/min

Deep flow Technique
• 2-3 cm deep nutrient solution flows 10 cm diameter PVC pipe.
• Plastic pot contains planting material and fitted in PVC pipe.
• Their bottoms touch the nutrient solution that flows in pipes.
• Roots hanging

Root Dipping Technique
• Low tech growing method
• Cost effective
• NO-electricity, water pump, channels, etc
• For root crops e.g. Beet, Radish, etc
• Pot's bottom 2-3 cm. submerged
• Non-metallic container
• 2/3 filled
• Bottom 2 cm submerged

Insect Pest and Disease Management in Hydroponics
• In hydroponics, soil borne diseases are virtually eliminated.

• Vigilance and early identification are important in controlling common pest and disease problems.

• Keep the environment of the hydroponics plants clean and adopt correct cultural practices such as supply of well-balanced nutrients to maintain the plants healthy.

• Pests and diseases less affect healthy plants.

• Always start the cultivation with healthy seedlings/planting materials.

• Adopt IPM strategies recommended for vegetables.

• If necessary apply recommended chemicals to control insect pests or diseases.

Conclusion
• People living in crowded city streets, without gardens, can grow fresh vegetables in window-boxes or in small discarded containers.

• The two main advantages of the virtually soil-less cultivation of plants are, the much higher crop yields and hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening is not possible.

• Thus, not only is it a profitable undertaking, but one which has proved of great benefit to humanity.

• By means of hydroponics, a regular and abundant supply of fresh greens can be produced and barren and sterile areas can be made productive at relatively low cost.

• In our country still this is technique is a new approach and less popular.

• Increasing population day by day and shrinking the cultivable land and their quality we have to think about this may be an option for our farmer in future.


About Author / Additional Info: