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What Is Aeroponics?

What Is Aeroponics?

So, what is aeroponics? Well, the short version is this: it’s the art and science of growing plants without dirt or another medium, just using mist and water to provide the nutrients. The advantage of this is that you can do a lot with the way you arrange the growing spaces, allowing you to get a lot of limited spaces, and you can grow plants with startling efficiency.

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Which is the short version of what is aeroponics but, unsurprisingly, there’s quite a lot more to know. Aeroponics is rightly considered to be a version of hydroponics, where plants are also grown without dirt or soil, although traditional hydroponics does use a medium to grow in, ordinarily some kind of foam.

AeroGarden 2500-01S Pro 100 with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit

AeroGarden With Gourmet Herbs - Click for more info

In aeroponics, the plants are left hanging free in racks, kept in a moist greenhouse type environment. Periodically, a mist is sprayed on them that contains all the nutrients that they need to grow. It’s certainly possible to do this by hand, but generally most aeroponic gardens used fixed nozzle and an automatic spraying system, run by computer.

Apollo 2 Aeroponic System, 22 plant system

Apollo 2 Aeroponic System - Click to see it

Aeroponics was first developed in 1942 by W. Carter. His point in developing aeroponics was to make it easier to examine roots when doing experiments and research on plants. Previous to this, it was necessary to dig up the plant to examine the root structure, which could lead to breakage and trauma that could kill or injure the plant, in addition to skewing the research.

Aeroponics, with its open air root system, allows for direct observation of all the plant without any kind of invasiveness. For this reason, experimental research is still the most common use for aeroponics, although it has also become fairly common in other aspects of agriculture.

Aeroponics has a several advantages over other kinds of plant cultivation. The one that has brought it to public attention is its ability to efficiently utilize space and resources. With aeroponics, you can stack plants in ways that would be impossible even with hydroponics, and in ways you could even consider doing in regular agriculture.

AeroJet Aeroponic w/ 4-Trays COMPLETE

AeroJet Aeroponic Complete - Click to see more on this

Because you don’t need soil and the attendant weight and volume that comes with it, you can also grow quite a crop of plants without a tremendous amount of weight. This is one of the primary reasons that aeroponics is the subject of a lot of research in the Arctic and space area, where weight of transport is an issue. Of course, it’s also handy for the rooftop urban gardener.

The big disadvantage of aeroponics for the regular person is that it’s not a casual way of gardening. Unlike soil based cultivation, you can’t just dump some seeds in the ground and hope for the best. If you’re not afraid of doing a little homework, though, there are plenty of systems that will allow you to practice aeroponics at home through DIY aeroponics.

So what is aeroponics? It’s a great way to make the maximum use of limited space for growing and gardening, and a way to make sure that you’re growing in the most efficient way possible.

Take a look at all the products that are available for aeroponics and decide which is best for you here:

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DIY Aeroponics

DIY aeroponics might sound like it would be complicated, but the reality is that setting up your own home brew system is actually pretty easy. If you’ve got some standard household tools and are relatively handy, then it should be no problem. Basically, if you can change the oil in your car, then you have the technical skill level necessary to set up a DIY aeroponics system.

Aeroponics is the art of growing plants without soil, which is what you would use in regular agriculture, or even the foam that people use in hydroponics. Instead, the plants are provided with nutrients by way of nutrient rich water that is sprayed on them periodically, eliminating the need for soil. This allows for extremely efficient growth and extremely flexibility with how you can arrange the plants.

Aeroponics systems come in all shapes and sizes, from the huge and hugely expensive commercials system to tiny home brew systems that are about the size of a coffee table. If you’re going to a DIY aeroponics system, then you will probably want to start with a more manageable system.

We’ll cover a small DIY aeroponics system here, but you can build home systems that are much larger than this. You’re going to need a few things to start with; you need a plastic storage container, preferably dark, some PVC pipes, some sprayer and a system to control the nutrient sprays.

The plastic storage bin should have a good tight lid, and should be large enough for the plants that you’re trying to grow in them. A good size to start with is the fifty quart size, but you can go bigger or smaller depending on what you’re going to use it for.

Basically, what you’re going to do is cut two holes in the side of the storage bin, which will allow you to run the PVC pipe through. Product DetailsThis pipe is going to serve as your spraying system.

Once you’ve got the pipes in, you need to attach your spray heads to them, trying to keep them evenly spaced. Once again, how much and how many sprayers is going to depend on how large the container you’re using in your DIY aeroponics system, although three or four sprayers for every thirty inches of pipe is a pretty good rule of thumb.

Once you’ve got the pipes and spray head in, you can cut holes in the top of the storage bin to accommodate the plants you’re going to place in it. The storage bin is going to serve as nutrient reservoir for the plants.

You’ll need to connect the reservoir to the nutrient sprayer and then to the PVC pipe. Once this is done, you can put the plants in through the top of storage bin and turn it on. This will have your DIY aeroponics system up and running and you can have your plants growing in no time flat.

The basics are the same for any DIY aeroponics system, so it’s wise to start small, see how that turns out, and then turn your attention to building bigger and better aeroponics systems.  If this seems a little too complicated, you can check out a kit like the Aerogarden that does Aeroponics.