Greenhouse Aeroponics

001a Aeroponics
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Aeropnonics is similar to hydroponics and aquaponics in the sense that they are all methods of soil-less growing. The difference between the three is that with aeroponics the roots of the plants are suspended in the air rather than submerged in a nutrient solution. The roots of a plant in an aeroponic system are periodically misted with a nutrient solution while they stay constantly in contact with the air. This allows for an increased uptake of nutrients, water, and oxygen. Aeroponic systems are used in both small and large scale grows providing some interesting benefits compared to conventional growing.

Low-Pressure Aeroponic (LPA) Systems :

LPA systems are often homemade backyard systems, which can also easily be found at your local grow supply store. This type of system can be very similar to a high-pressure aeroponics (HPA) system, however it would incorporate a simple water pump and larger spray nozzles to disperse the water. This ends up providing larger droplets of water than would be experienced with a HPA system which is one of the main reasons why they are not as efficient. LPA systems can also include top-feeding drippers or systems that allow the roots to grow into the nutrient solution. These types of systems are more commonly referred to as hybrid aeroponic/hydroponic systems or fake aeroponic grows. The simplicity and low cost are what make a LPA system appealing to growers.

High-Pressure Aeroponic Systems:

An HPA, or “true aeroponic grow system”, uses misting spray nozzles and high pressure pumps (around 60-120 psi) to properly atomize the water into a fine mist with a very small water droplet size. The mist allows the roots to get more oxygen than they would in a LPA system which is beneficial for plant growth. The droplets are in the 30-80 micron diameter range which is the “sweet spot” for maximum absorption by plant roots. HPA provides three benefits compared to conventional growing; the root mass is able to achieve a higher level of efficiency, it is possible to reduce nutrient use by 90%, and there is a lower rate of water use. Below is a video from Multiponics demonstrating one of their HPA systems:

Video Source

Some of the general benefits of aeroponics are:

  • Delivers nutrients directly to the plant roots
  • Completely programmable technology conserves energy
  • Closed-loop system conserves water
  • Conserves water through runoff absorption into roots
  • Moisture control for better plant growth
  • Can be combined with hydroponics
  • Crops are easier to harvest in the absence of soil
  • Higher density crops optimizes output
  • Reduce labor cost through automation
  • Produces higher quality food in a controlled environment
  • Reduced risk of disease and pest infestation in a controlled environment
  • No need to immerse roots in water which offers more control
  • Roots are provided with better exposure to oxygen
  • Scalable systems can range from commercial level to apartment-sized gardens
  • Produces more food with less effort

Below is a pros and cons list from the Growery forum comparing hydroponics, organic soil, and aeroponics for cannabis cultivation:

Hydroponics:

  • Pros: Increased plant growth rates and yields with improved aromatics, potency and taste.
  • Cons: Requires close monitoring of pH and ppm levels and total reliance on constant electricity.

Organic Soil:

  • Pros: More cost effective, forgiving, and simple.
  • Cons: Harder to reach and maintain consistent and optimum moisture, nutrient, and pH levels.

Aeroponics:

  • Pros: Unsurpassed plant growth, resin, potency and yields, with incredible aromatics and taste.
  • Cons: Requires close monitoring of pH and ppm levels and total reliance on constant electricity.

Though it may be  intimidating to get started, aeroponics can offer some attractive benefits over conventional growing methods. Considering the advantages of increased plant growth, disease prevention, and water conservation; I would say aeroponics is something you might want to look into if you are interested in alternative growing methods for your greenhouse.

If you are interested in adopting aeroponics for cannabis, there is a substantive article posted on Growmarijuana.com, complete instructions on how to build your own system.

Do you have any experience with this topic? Which do you prefer: hydro, soil, or aero? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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Author: Daniel Monk

Need light-deprivation, rolling benches, a greenhouse or greenhouse accessories? Let me know, and I will get you connected with the right people. Email: ContactDanielMonk@gmail.com Twitter: @DanJMonk Blog: www.DanielJmonk.com - Greenhouse Industry Problems | Solutions | Opportunities

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