Systems & Growing Media

What is Hydroponic Growing?

Hydroponic growing is a growing method using either growing media or water as the growing "tool".

Commercially hydroponic growing was developed in 1920's and fully incorporated in the 1960's in Europe and the 1980's in Australia.

Today it is a big business and almost 95% of cut flowers (ie roses, gerberas, orchids, carnations etc) are grown hydroponically, as well as tomatoes, capsicum, strawberries, cucumbers, fodder, herbs, berries and many more.

There is no doubt that this is an ideal system for conserving water in Australia.

Basically there are 2 main systems: open and closed.

Closed systems recirculate the water.

  • NFT- (Nutrient Film Technique) water with nutrients that recirculates around roots, 2-3 mm in depth.
  • Flood and drain - approximately 20mm of water with nutrients floods and drains through the container several times a day.
  • Aeroponics - sprays of water and nutrients around roots in a growing chamber.

Open systems run to waste. These are media used:

  • Coco peat / Coir
  • Rockwool, Growool
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Sand
  • Scoria
  • Sawdust
  • Pine bark
  • Peat moss
  • Pumice and more..

The water and nutrients can be collected, treated and recirculated.

The benefits for hydroponic growing are:

  • Year round gardening
  • It is clean
  • Greater and quicker production. For example yield of 15kg field tomatoes against 60kg hydroponic tomatoes per m2
  • Enhanced flavour of crops
  • Reduced or eliminated use of pesticides
  • Any quality land can be used

Hydroponic gardening is used by NASA to feed astronauts in space and also used in Antarctic expeditions to feed staff!

Hydroponic Advisory can provide consulting and advice for commercial growers on:

  • Systems, media and crop matching
  • Testing properties of the media both physical and chemical properties
  • Testing pH, EC and toxicities of the media
  • Selection of media appropriate for your crop and conditions
  • Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) and hygiene in relation to the growing media

We suggest some background reading on this topic and have provided a comprehensive reading list on Systems and Growing Media for you.

Please contact us for more details about how we can assist your business.

Lettuce NFT closed environment in Belgium

Lettuce NFT closed environment in Belgium

NFT lettuce seedlings

NFT lettuce seedlings

Fully grown NFT lettuce

Fully grown NFT lettuce

NFT lettuce

NFT lettuce

NFT lettuce

NFT lettuce

Hanging gutters strawberries in Belgium

Hanging gutters strawberries in Belgium

Hanging gutters tomatoes in Belgium

Hanging gutters tomatoes in Belgium

Close up of hanging gutters tomatoes in Belgium

Close up of hanging gutters tomatoes in Belgium

Tomatoes in rockwool

Tomatoes in rockwool

Hanging gutters truss tomatoes

Hanging gutters truss tomatoes

Rockwool cucumbers in Canada

Rockwool cucumbers in Canada

Roses in grow bags

Roses in grow bags

Roses in grow bags

Roses in grow bags

Recycling containers covering tennis wall

Recycling containers covering tennis wall

Capilary matting seedlings in Canada

Capillary matting for seedlings in Canada

Capillary matting pots in Canada

Capilliary matting for pots in Canada

Capillary matting pots in Canada

Capillary matting for pots in Canada

New grow sleeves in Canada

New grow sleeves in Canada

Open system pumice media in NZ

Open system pumice media in NZ

Fodder

Fodder

Fodder

Fodder

NFT herbs

NFT Herbs

NFT and companion planting

NFT and companion planting

NFT

NFT

NFT basil

NFT basil

Growool capsicum

Growool capsicum

Tomato seedlings for grafting flood and drain

Tomato seedlings for grafting using flood and drain system

Flood and drain trees nursery Spain

Flood and drain trees nursery Spain

Flood and drain trees Spain

Flood and drain trees Spain

Flood and drain trees

Flood and drain trees