Basic Hydroponic system - Aeroponic System (4/6)
While aeroponic systems are simple in concept, they are the most technical of the hydroponic systems. Even still, it is possible to build an aeroponic system in your home with relative ease.
Aeroponic systems are unique because they do not usually need growing medium of any kind; the air acts the growing medium. The advantage to this type of system is that it provides roots with more oxygen than any other hydroponics growing system. Additionally, aeroponic systems also use less water than other hydroponic systems. It is also usually easier to harvest plants grown with an aeroponic system.
However, there are also disadvantages to aeroponic systems. Aeroponic systems are generally more expensive. Additionally, the mister heads can get clogged with nutrient solution, so they must be regularly cleaned and maintained. Additionally, if the misting system is disrupted at all, the roots of the plants are more likely to dry out than in other systems because they are hanging mid-air. As a result, a power outage could be especially detrimental to an aeroponic system. Finally, the nutrient levels of the solution are more delicate in an aeroponic system, so you must be more precise about them.
How It Works
Aeroponics systems are rather simple. The roots hang in the air to provide the plant with the most amount of oxygen, which allows them to grow faster. Additionally, little to no growing media is needed, so the roots are completely exposed. The plants are either planted in foam plugs that surround the stem of the plant, or small baskets, which sit in small holes on top of the growing chamber. The roots hang down into the chamber, where mister heads spray them with nutrient solution in cycles. The regular spraying of these roots ensures that they remain moist and do not dry out.
The growing chamber must be nearly air tight, and should be opaque as to prevent light from getting in. This is to prevent the water from spilling out and to prevent pests. Additionally, the chamber must have humidity. Additionally, you must consider the size of the droplets sprayed from the mister heads. The finer the mist, the faster and larger the plants will grow. Water droplet size is how aeroponics systems are categorized.
Building Your Own System
To build your own aeroponic system, you will need:
- A reservoir to hold nutrient solution
- A fountain pump
- Tubing for water to travel from reservoir to mister heads
- Growing chamber
- Mister heads
- Container for root systems
- Tube to transport used nutrient solution back into reservoir
- Timer for pump