5.Green Houses & Hydroponics
1 Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a new agricultural production system in which the production takes place in soilless mediums using either an artificial soil medium or water channels. Nutrients and fertilizers are supplied to the crop through drip irrigation in the soil medium system or through the water in the channel system. It is an efficient alternative to soil based agricultural production. It offers unsurpassed opportunities for environmental control resulting in a high production levels of small defined areas, a very high quality of product, an extremely efficient use of water, no waste of nutrient solutions, and adoption of biologically-based integrated pest management. Hydroponics is the production of crops in isolation from the soil, either with or without a medium (NFT or Substrate), with their total water and nutrient requirements supplied by the system. Production takes place either in a greenhouse or outdoors and systems can recirculate or allow nutrients to ‘run-to-waste’. A wide variety of crops including ‘fancy’ types of lettuce, cut flowers such as roses, gerberas, carnations and lisianthus, and other crops such as tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant, strawberry and cucumbers are all grown under hydroponics.