Hydroponics

Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. In a hydroponic system, a nutrient-dense water solution circulates through the plants’ roots and replaces the need for soil and traditional fertilizers.
This sci fi-esque technique allows farmers and gardeners to grow food in kitchens and basements, on windowsills and roofs

 

Hydroponics is not new – its actually dates back to before Christ (yes – that old). The hanging gardens were supposedly the first hydroponic gardens (on that large a scale)

 

Techniques

 

There are various forms of Hydroponics – lets just give you a few:

Static Solution Culture:In static solution culture, plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution. The solution is usually gently aerated but may be un-aerated. A hole is cut in the lid of the reservoir for each plant. There can be one or more plants per reservoir. A homemade system can be constructed from plastic food containers or glass canning jars with aeration provided by an aquarium pump, aquarium airline tubing and aquarium valves. Clear containers are covered with aluminium foil, butcher paper, black plastic, or other material to exclude light, thus helping to eliminate the formation of algae. The nutrient solution is changed either on a schedule, such as once per week, or when the concentration drops below a certain level. Whenever the solution is depleted below a certain level, either water or fresh nutrient solution is added. Pindfresh – The Pindpipes are a perfect example of a static system. Here we use aeration (we have a pump that aerates the mixture) to make sure that the system has enough oxygen for the plants to grow well. Also included is a dipstick with markings that show just when to top up the water

We just looked at all the systems that were existing in the markets and realised that they were all made from a very western perspective. If the electricity failed – your crops died. Not to mention all the water that suddenly drained out and flooded the area. So we thought to ourselves – can we make these systems from an indian perspective? Can we design them for constant electricity outages; low skilled labour and non-availability of quality nutrients?

 

 

Continuous-flow Solution Culture:

In continuous-flow solution culture, the nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots. It is much easier to automate than the static solution culture because sampling and adjustments to the temperature and nutrient concentrations can be made in a large storage tank that has potential to serve thousands of plants. A popular variation is the nutrient film technique or NFT, whereby a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is recirculated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel and has an upper surface that, although moist, is in the air. Subsequent to this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants. Pindfresh – All of our other Pindfresh systems – The PindKarro, The PindScala and the PindPython are variants of this technique. The nutrient rich mixture is recirculated past the bare roots of the plants and back into the tank where it gets oxygenated and then recirculated back to the roots. Ideal for larger scale (and more complicated) systems.

 

We created an innovative, beautiful and long lasting hydroponic system that could be fungible and came in every experience level

 

 

Substrates

 

Coir Peat **

Coco peat, also known as coir or coco, is the leftover material after the fibres have been removed from the outermost shell (bolster) of the coconut. Coir is a 100% natural grow and flowering medium. Coconut coir is colonised with trichoderma fungi, which protects roots and stimulates root growth. It is extremely difficult to over-water coir due to its perfect air-to-water ratio; plant roots thrive in this environment. Coir has a high cation exchange, meaning it can store unused minerals to be released to the plant as and when it requires it.

Expanded Clay Aggregate *

Baked clay pellets are suitable for hydroponic systems in which all nutrients are carefully controlled in water solution. The clay pellets are inert, pH neutral and do not contain any nutrient value.

* we use these clay pellets (also called Lecca Balls) for all of our growing. You fill find them in nearly all the Pindfresh systems that you use

** We extensively use cocopeat in all of our PindTorba and PindUno products. These are best used in stand alone grow bags and are extremely light and free from any soil borne diseases. All of the coco-peat that is used is sterilised before mixing with the necessary nutrients

Nutrients

Both hydroponic fertilisers and those intended for use in soil contain the three major nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The major difference in hydroponic fertilisers is that they contain the proper amounts of all the essential micro-nutrients which fertilisers intended for use with soil do not. The plants are expected to find these elements in the soil, assuming that the trace elements are in fact present. Problems can arise for the plants if any or all of the micronutrients are not present in the soil or are depleted by successive (or excessive) plantings. Hydroponic fertilisers are usually in a more refined form with fewer impurities making them both more stable and soluble for better absorption. Organic fertilisers, in most cases, are very different than either hydroponic or soil fertilisers both in composition and how they deliver the nutrient to the plants.

Organic fertilisers rely on the synergistic action of bacteria and microbes to break down nutritional substances for easier uptake by the plants. Hydroponic and soil fertilisers provide nutrients in a ready-to-use form.

We make all of our nutrients in-house. All three ‘special brews’ that you see are made keeping in mind the highest standards of perfections

  1. Special Brew A
  2. Special Brew B
  3. Special Brew B

Organic hydroponics is a hydroponics culture system which is managed based on organic agriculture concepts. Conventional hydroponics cannot use organic fertilisers because organic compounds contained in hydroponic solution inhibit the growth of the crop roots, so it uses only inorganic fertiliser.

In this method of organic hydroponics, organic fertiliser is degraded into inorganic nutrients by microorganisms in the hydroponic solution via ammonification and nitrification. The microorganisms are cultured with a method of multiple parallel mineralization. The culture solution can be used as the hydroponic solution.

 

Grow Bags

 

Over the next 50 years, all the wars will be fought on water issues. Why not start preparing for that now? This form of agriculture uses only 10% of the water of conventional agriculture

A lot of people find that they can grow their vegetables directly in bags of potting soil. They lay the bags down flat, cut a few holes in the “top,” and plant. It’s a common sight in most of the nurseries around the country – selling plants in plastic bags

This growing method has its drawbacks. Plastic bags are tricky to water. Once wet, they retain water and heat, turning the soil into a swampy, unhealthy mess. The biggest problem, though, is soil depth — a few inches of soil is adequate for salad greens, but not enough to grow healthy, productive tomatoes.

To make a better growing bag, we started with the fabric, and found a very durable, double-layer polypropylene (which keeping in line with our ethos of ‘Make in India’ we sourced from a reliable vendor from Delhi). This fabric has a soft, felt-like texture that allows “root pruning” of the plants. The roots grow to the edge of the bag and are “pruned” making for a more extensive root system. Plus, there’s no root circling as you’d have in a pot or planter.

The BPA-free fabric is breathable, too, and respiration is critical to plant health. “Exhaling” excess moisture prevents root rot, and the movement of water through the soil helps carry the nutrients plants need. We then added another layer of protection on top of that and put that breathable fabric bag into another PPE netting bag (the same material that we make shade nettings out of – so you know it’s very hardy and durable). And then we thought that we should make our Grow Bags even more durable, so we stitched handles on both sides of the bag so that its easy to transport and carry. With care you can get several seasons out of them, making them an even better value.

 

Best of all, we’ve created several sizes of Grow Bags, designed to suit specific crops. You’ll use only as much soil / cocopeat as you need, and enjoy the maximum harvest in the minimum space.

Pindfresh – the PindTorba and the PindUno line of grow-bags

 

Other stuff that we’re working on:

 

Aeroponics

 

 

Aquaponics

 

 

Plant Factory

 

 

Vertical Farming