Ready to start a commercial hydroponics greenhouse system and need some help? Look no further because we have all you need to know in this article.
Hydroponics refers to the method of supplying nutrient solution and water through a soluble medium. With that being said, this broad concept entails different kinds of techniques for hydroponics systems. Some examples include the use of soluble fertilizer, irrigation system, nutrient film as well as the mist which is also known as the aeroponics system. To be specific, what is used for plants to grow in is called a substrate and it lacks the ability to hold nutrients. Common substrates are coconut coir and Rockwool but coconut coir is usually perceived to be more effective as it works well even in summer, while providing more drainage and in general, prevents problems related to water. Furthermore, coconut coir is also cheaper and compact. However, it does have some cons and it usually has to do with consistency issues, as it has less stable performances than Rockwool.
The Right Equipment
Moving on, one crucial factor is having the right equipment and structure. This is simply because it eliminates the need for replanting and at the same time, it raises the level of production. Although, it could also be partially contributed by better climate control and the ability to keep irrigation and nutrients in control with the system.
How to Maintain Healthy Plants
Labour is made much more easier and convenient when troughs are used to hold plants as it allows them to stay off the ground. But, apart from that, using troughs also prevents the plants from coming into contact with water and this helps to reduce disease problems from happening. During periods of low natural light levels, artificial lighting is required and this is going to be very costly. As such, growers might choose to not have any production. However, on a normal basis, there should be a greater level of production at the beginning of the crop and lower rates are experienced in summer. This is due to tomatoes ripening and when the temperature rises to at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit, bees are not inclined to work under such harsh conditions and this would bring down the rate of pollination.
Considerations Before Setting Up
For those potential growers with plans to start a hydroponics crop production, there are some important factors to take note of. Firstly, they have to consider the type of crops to produce and which corresponding equipment is needed. The importance of having the right equipment is reflected in the above section, as it helps you to achieve your desired and possibly high production yield. There is no need to worry about the cost as the cost is usually covered within one or two seasons. However, in the first place, growers should ensure they have sufficient startup costs to purchase the appropriate equipment. With the different crops available to plant, it is noted that tomatoes require more startup costs than cucumbers and lettuce. Furthermore, it is crucial that you strike a balance between fruit, roots, and leaves. If not, it would be a challenge to attain your production goal. To raise your chances of reaching your production goal, the environmental computer can be used to make adjustments accordingly to the changes in light levels. Not to mention, it would be wise to conduct regular checks on pH levels, electrical conductivity levels as well as water analysis.
How to Prevent Pests and Diseases
Generally, problems in pests and diseases can be avoided as long as cleanliness is maintained. If anything, using Beneficials from Biofest is a good precautionary method to control the outbreak of pests. However, we noted that it might be necessary to have additional pest-control supplements to handle secondary pests, such as thrips and aphids. The use of pesticides can pose problems if bees are used for pollination. When aphids are spotted, applying insecticidal soap should solve the problem. As compared to tomatoes, cucumbers are less prone to problems related to pests as they are ready for harvesting in a relatively short period. However, wrapping cucumber is essential and this is easy with the help of an automated wrapping machine. Lastly, cucumbers do not take long to be dehydrated after being harvested so they ought to be cooled.
Finding a market for crops is one of the most important things for commercial growers. Do your research and seek potential buyers in your area before you start harvesting your hydroponics plants. Some examples of potential markets include independent grocery stores, retail outlets, produce vendors, local distributors to hospitals, restaurants, and also even schools.
Recommendations and Conclusion
For people with no background in plant production, we recommend starting with a basic and affordable hydroponic system. This includes bag culture and in-ground beds. However, it should be noted that disease problems can occur with in-ground production. Meanwhile, bag culture is a cheap method because the bags are reusable and the water is not recycled. Other low-cost methods include the use of pot and containers. On the other hand, more advanced and complex systems like the nutrient film technique and usage of troughs are capable of boosting production levels due to their ability to control environmental and nutrient factors. Such proficient systems work generally well regardless of the types of crops, be it cucumber, tomatoes, peppers or lettuce.
All in all, starting up a hydroponic system requires considerations in several areas of management, including light, climate, water, substrate, or root zone. In particular, managing water and nutrients are often correlated because of the need to understand fertilizer requirements, plant nutrition and the method to supply the nutrient solution. Besides those factors, acquiring a high-quality water source, and understanding the nature of hydroponics is essential. In the case of light, growers need to understand how the light will affect the quality of production as well as the yield. Depending on circumstances and individual preferences, supplemental lighting and shading can be utilized. With that, this all we have to offer you and we shall wrap up the article by wishing you all the best with your future endeavors with the hydroponics system, have fun, and good luck!