A hydroponic system is essentially an advanced water containment and circulation system. These systems are designed to provide a continuous flow of filtered, temperature and pH controlled, nutrient rich water to plant roots, indefinitely. Hydroponic food production solves one of the largest environmental problems facing our planet, saving water. It has been estimated by many sources that a hydroponic system can save up to 95% of water usage through re-using and recycling and also allows the plant to retain more vitamins and minerals than conventional outdoor agriculture since the plant doesn't need to compete with other plants, nor pests. NASA reports that aeroponics can save up to 98 percent of water and up to 60% of fertilizer. Plants grown in the aeroponic or hydroponic systems have also been shown to uptake more minerals and vitamins, making the plants healthier and potentially more nutritious. As a collective body, society needs to work together to restore our natural water cycle; groundwater, streams lakes and rivers and our aquafers.
Based on the last national US geological study (USGS) in 2015, the USA uses 322 billion gallons of water each day. Water usage is broken up to these main categories: Public Supply, Domestic, Irrigation, Thermoelectric Power, Industrial, Mining, Livestock & Aquaculture. This breaks down into 3 categories we can control and influence as a consumer:
Public water usage
We can collectively control the amount of water used in each of these categories by changing our daily habits and being smarter consumers. For instance, we can reduce our dependency on public & domestic supply systems by collecting rainwater from our roof and recycling our own water.
Commercial water usage
We can also influence commercial agriculture irrigation, aquaculture, livestock, mining and industrial by choosing to only purchase products and services from companies that uses sustainable water usage business practices.
Industrial water usage
Finally, the consumer can eliminate the largest contributor to water wastage, thermonuclear power plants, by only using sustainable renewable energy suppliers or putting solar on your roof and transforming your home into net zero or net positive energy producer.
Changing our consumer habits to affect commercial and industrial business practices is a no easy feat considering businesses are not required to report any data on water usage and there are few if any options that can inform our decisions to choose a sustainable alternative. However, according to the EPA, the average US household uses 300 gallons per day. 30% of US households in the US use water supply on outdoor. So we can collectively make a major impact on global water usage by changing our habits with household water usage. Ultimately, if you are living in an area that has sufficient rainfall, the goal should be total water independence. Homefarmhydro will explore infrastructure products and services that enable total municipal water independence in a future article. For now, we explore hydroponic equipment.
Hydroponic food is a game changer for water conservation let alone the added benefits of not polluting our ground water with known cancer causing pesticides and herbicides. The question is, when will it be widely adopted by the private and public sector? Demand drive's change so consumers need to pivot towards matching their product and service needs and wants to support companies that are sustainability thought leaders and disruptors in the commercial industry. Traditional farmers and other companies also have have a significant opportunity, and responsibility, to save water and costs and, more importantly, revitalize the soil. The movie Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and unique look at the problem and the benefits of farmland soil regeneration and it's profound connection to climate change.
Hydroponic Equipment Types
Hydroponic systems currently come in a seven different types. Each system differs in how they supply water to the plants. The system you choose depends on your plant supply needs, available space and types of plants you want to grow. There are ready made kits or you may decide to build your own system. Home made kits are the most affordable at between $300 and $1,000 but you can but more advanced systems are unfortunately very expensive at several thousands of dollars. Homefarmhydroponics is committed to designing and manufacturing a new range of more affordable home hydroponics kits made from sustainable materials.
The basics you’ll need are a water reservoir container, net pots, hoses/piping, water pump, air pump and possibly a water heater. More advanced system may require equipment such as automated nutrient and pH dosing systems, water level and flood sensors, temperature controls
Vertical hydroponic system - Vertical pipes that gravity feed each plant site below, submersible pump, timer, non-submersible air pump & air stone, and air hose.
Wick hydroponic system – Grow tray, rope wicks, air stone, non-submersible air pump, and air hose.
Deep Water culture – Water culture uses a floating platform, non-submersible air pump, air stone, and an air hose.
Ebb and Flow – Grow tray, overflow tube, submersible air pump, timer, and air hose.
Drip System – Grow tray, drip manifold, drip lines, overflow tube, submersible pump, timer, non-submersible air pump, air stone, and air hose.
Nutrient Film Technique – Grow tray, overflow tube, submersible pump, non-submersible air pump, air stone, and air hose.
Aeroponics – Aeroponics uses a submersible pump, short-cycle timer, air hose, and high pressure mist nozzles.
Bookmark this page as Homefarmhydroponics will update this article with new hydroponic equipment types and innovate ways to save, reuse and recycle water.