Challenges such as water scarcity, decline of arable land, population growth and the vulnerability of food production systems due to climate change are putting pressure on farmers. In response to these demands, soil-less cultivation has gained popularity in many parts of the world. We are talking about hydroponic and semi-hydroponic crops.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the art of growing crops without soil, where a water solution with the specific nutrients required by the plants is used. Pumps are used for the circulation of water with nutrients, while oxygenating the solution to prevent root damage.
This system promotes quick plant growth, higher yields and higher quality in terms of product flavor and aroma. Compared to soil cultivation, in hydroponics, the roots are immersed in a nutrient solution, which saves energy that can be used for fruit growth. Therefore, the growth of leaves, flowers and fruits occurs almost simultaneously.
Hydroponic systems offer precise control of environmental factors, such as temperature, pH and brightness.
There is a semi-hydroponic variant that is mainly used for growing fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. Here, plants are planted in inert substrates and provided with a solution of nutrients, water and oxygen.
The different substrates used in this system are classified into:
Inorganic substrates: On the one hand, those of natural origin, such as sands, gravels and volcanic soils; and, on the other hand, those that undergo a manufacturing process, such as rock wool, fiberglass, perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay and crushed brick.
The choice of material will depend on its availability, weather conditions and purpose of production and the species cultivated.
This system provides great advantages over the conventional system:
The use of soil-less cultivation in commercial horticulture varies among different regions of the world and is predominant in countries with severe climates, where high-tech greenhouses allow control of nutritional and microclimatic variables to maximize production.
In Herogra Especiales, we have many products to apply in semi-hydroponic crops. We recommend TOTEM, a product based on microorganisms specially designed to enhance root development and biostimulate the crop in order to improve the final yield.
The following is a test on blackberry in coconut fiber pots using TOTEM compared to a competing product, which showed an increase in production.
In addition, a trial was also carried out in a research center on Galia melon with several Herogra Special products (TOTEM + ECOTOP + HEROVITAL SERIE ORO and HEROFOL DENSO ROJO) compared to similar products used by farmers. In this trial, it was possible to increase the number of fruits, yield, ºBrix and carotene content.