Aeroponic farming is a way to grow plants without soil. The roots are actually suspended in the air and sprayed with nutrient-rich water on a regular basis.
This method of growing plants has been used for centuries (even before traditional farming methods), and now it can be done at home too.
Aeroponics is suitable for all types of plants, from vegetables to flowers. It's also relatively cheap.
- What is an Aeroponic system?
- How does the Aeroponic system work?
- Types of aeroponic systems
- What plants can you grow with Aeroponics?
- How much does it cost to set up an Aeroponics system?
- Tools you'll need to get started
- Advantages of aeroponics
- Disadvantages of aeroponics
- Conclusion: Is Aeroponics right for you?
What is an Aeroponic system?
Aeroponics is a super useful method of growing plants without soil or other mediums like pebbles or compost and is a part of the indoor farming family.
The plant root(s) are suspended in the air in a tower garden and sprayed with nutrient-rich water on a regular basis.
This allows the plant to absorb all nutrients it needs for its growth. But because you're not using any paper, there's no risk of root zone diseases either!
You'll also hear the term "vertical farming" to describe it.
How does the Aeroponic system work?
An aeroponics system has a reservoir, and the roots are suspended in this water. Then you use an automatic mister to spray them with a nutrient-rich solution on a regular basis.
It's simple! You can also check if your plants need more or less of certain nutrients by measuring how much light they're getting.
Types of aeroponic systems
Aeroponic technology is rapidly advancing as a lot of people are experimenting with a vertical farm in their homes, but here are there are four main types to choose from:
- High-pressure Aeroponics (HPA) - Uses high-pressure nozzles to shoot a fine mist of nutrient-rich water at the root system.
- Medium-pressure Aeroponics (MPA) - Uses an air compressor and pressure regulator, but smaller nozzles than you'd use in HPA.
- Super Low-Pressure Aeroponic Systems (SLPAS) - Uses a low-pressure compressor and bigger nozzles.
- Ultrasonic fogger Aeroponics - Uses an ultrasonic fogger to disperse water, resulting in a fine mist.
What plants can you grow with Aeroponics?
Leafy green veggies like lettuce, spinach, kale, and even strawberries will do well. You can grow tomatoes too if you use a system that provides enough light for them to photosynthesize properly.
If it's flowers or plants with fruit that require more sunlight than an LED strip can provide, then you'll need to supplement this with a grow light.
How much does it cost to set up an Aeroponics system?
If you already have the parts, then the setup is free.
For example, if you use a fish tank or another large container as your reservoir and hang some mister heads in there using wire hangers, that's basically it. You can add a grow light if you want to because the plants need 12 hours of darkness every day.
If you don't have any parts, then you should be able to get everything for less than $500 in total. This is worth it when compared with other hydroponic systems because aeroponics allows your plants to absorb more nutrients and grow faster. Also known has rapid nutrient uptake.
If you want to set up a bigger system with more plants, then it might cost $1000 or so.
Tools you'll need to get started
Ready to start growing? Great, here's what you're going to need:
- A reservoir/container - It should be around 20 gallons and made of food-grade plastic, glass, or acrylic.
- A cycle timer - This is how you'll set up the timing for your system.
- A water pump - This provides pressure to spray the nutrient-rich solution onto the plant's roots. You can use a pond or aquarium pump but make sure it has enough power to push against gravity and deliver proper amounts of nutrients!
- Tubing - This is the piping that connects your water pump to your drip emitters.
- A nutrient pump - this is how you'll pump the nutrient-rich solution into your system.
- Baskets (for suspending plants) - These are optional but if you're growing leafy greens then it's recommended to use them.
- Enclosed growing chamber - This is where you'll keep your plants, and it should be well-ventilated. You can use an aquarium or even a large plastic tub with holes in the top!
- Mist nozzles - These are what sprays the nutrient-rich solution onto your plants' roots.
- Watertight containers - These are where you'll keep your nutrient solutions.
Advantages of aeroponics
Let's discuss the pros of Aeroponics:
- It's easy to set up - If you already have the parts, then it'll take less than an hour.
- You can use a variety of containers and systems for different purposes (small or large).
- Aeroponics sprays more water on your root zone compared with other hydroponic methods like NFT. This means that nutrients are more available for your plants.
- Aeroponics uses less water compared to other hydroponic systems like Ebb and flow or drip irrigation, making it a great choice if you're in an area where there's not much access to clean water.
- It works well with any type of plant - Even flowering ones that need special light schedules and more space.
- It's easy to harvest and maintain - You can easily adjust the nutrients as your plants grow, making it a great option for first timers!
Disadvantages of aeroponics
Finally, the cons of Aeroponics:
- It's not suitable for plants that require lots of water - like succulents and cacti.
- You can't use it with large, woody trees or fruits because they won't be able to absorb the nutrients from a mist.
- The nutrient solution is expensive if you have to buy it online or at a store rather than make it yourself.
- If you don't follow the instructions carefully, then your plants could die because of nutrient shortages or over-watering.
Conclusion: Is Aeroponics right for you?
Knowing whether Aeroponics is a better system for you to use than others like NFT or Ebb and Flow, for example, will depend on what you want to grow - whether it's your first time growing plants indoors or not.
Aeroponics is a great choice if you're someone who likes experimenting with different systems while giving your plants the best chances of survival at the same time!
Aeroponic systems tend to be expensive but if you want an easier way to set up your hydroponic system for growing fruits and vegetables at home or indoors then this could be a good option for you too!