Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hydroponics

A newly hired, young ag teacher asked this question on Crop Talk.  Since I had that decision to make a few years back I thought it was an interesting topic.

"I know that there are some people on here that knows about Greenhouses and Hydroponics. I have recently been hired as a high school agriculture teacher and I am looking to see which hydroponics systems are the best, easiest to use, and the best/cheapest place to purchase. I have been looking at a few: General Hydroponics Rainforest 318, General Hydroponics AeroFlo2 Hydroponic Systems 60, Bontanicare® Aerojet,and Bontanicare® Econojet. Any help would be appreciated."

Which one would you choose?  If you are interested, click on the links and make a suggestion to the young man under comments or email and I will get them to him.

Crop King is the one of the first companies I saw to sell hydroponics commerically.  "Hydroponics, simply defined, is the growing of plants in a water and fertilizer solution containing the necessary nutrients for plant growth. It is not a new science, with work being done by researchers as early as the 1600's. In the early 1930's, W.E Gericke, of the University of California, put laboratory experiments in plant nutrition on a commercial scale. In doing so, he termed these nutri-culture systems "hydroponics". The word was derived from two Greek words, hydro, meaning water, and ponos, meaning labor, or literally, water working."

Before I retired I tried some hydroponics we the students.  It turned out we got funding for an aquaponics unit so we went with that.  It was quite a learning curve for this old teacher but the kids and I learned a lot and it became the center of attention for the whole school.  Almost every child in the district was brought to the FFA Shop to see what my students were up to.

The best thing I did was befriend the night janitors who watched after the fish and lab at night while we were gone.  They loved to feed the fish and if you've ever dropped food pellets into a fish tank or fish pond you know what I mean.  They tended to overfeed them but it was OK.  Everyone enjoyed the fish fry at harvest.  Their "manure" made tasty vegetables we enjoyed, too.  Lettuce was easy to grow and we even got beans and peas to grow but tomatoes took so much extra heat to produce.

I thought it was a neat topic for today but mainly, it brought back many memories for me.  I hope you found it interesting, too.

Ed










10 comments:

  1. Did you have a chance to visit some hydroponic farms during your trip to Holland, Ed? They are the world champs of hydroponics, right?

    I am too much of a soil lover to like the technology, looks too much like a sterile lab environment to me, even with pisciculture added to the equation. I prefer the delicately balanced and efficient rice fields, with their algae feeding the fish and the ducks, the wastes of all these being the nutrients for two yearly harvests of rice.

    Since I obviously know such esoteric knowledge no one cares abut but I fail at the most basic concepts, can you tell me what NAT stands for? It's been bothering me for a while, but I can't seem to find any definition for this acronym. You guys are doing a bad job not contributing to wikipedia as you should! ^-^
    I take it it's National Agriculture something, unless you no-till agribusinessmen call yourselves Not At All farmers? ^-^

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not really, our trip was focused around tulip bulb production but we were in one grower's greenhouse. The Dutch are far ahead of us if not everyone in greenhouse and hydroponic technology as far as I can tell.

    There was an attempt to start some houses here but like you, land trumped houses. I remember a friend growing Dutch Match tomatoes, just like a garden tomato in winter! He couldn't sell enough in the off season to counteract the low price when "everybody and their brother" has tomatoes and you can barely give them away.

    LOL, NAT is short for www.newagtalk.com so call use the Natty's or NAT'ers or whatever. Don't you hate it when the answer is right under your nose?

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, I figured it out before your answer, saw the Cafe comment "That video was on NAT last night" about that Swedish tractor, followed by a newagtalk link (had to add my own comment to it, of course).

    It was not obvious to me at first because the web site advertises itself as "Ag Talk", not New Ag Talk, so I guess there was some old ag talk history I am not aware of. Nah, I don't have any excuse really...

    If you like tulips, come to my state in April of each year, during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, when the whole valley is in full bloom.
    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/slideshow/Skagit-Valley-Tulip-Festival-from-the-air-41953.php
    http://www.tulipfestival.org/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is that where the Dutchman farms that posts on NAT? I forget his handle but he shows pictures like that.

    Glad you figured it out. The old ag talk history is that we all met on Successful Farming's Agriculture Online in the 90's.

    When they put the banner ads on their pages like Crop Scouting, it slowed it down so much it made it nearly unusable out in the country on dialup.

    Two of us went to the HQ and asked them to take them down or we would start our own page. They wouldn't take them down so we started New Ag Talik.

    That Swedish racing tractor is a hoot, I need to embed the link in an article I write.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  5. An impressive write-up about hydroponics. Indeed, this method has made growing plants indoors more desirable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is very helpful tips for me. I defiantly use your tips in my work. Thank you for nice tips.
    Hydroponics

    ReplyDelete
  7. This information is also useful for me as i am into hydroponic gardening. I will definitely use it but right now i am engrossed in Advanced Nutrient's Hydroponic articles.

    Here's the link http://www.advancednutrients.com

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