I recently did an interview with Evan Bromfield of The Urban Vertical Farming Project and I'm super excited about how it came out! Below is an excerpt, head over to The Urban Vertical Farming Project blog to read the whole article!
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IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE ‘EASY LOW-MAINTENANCE HYDROPONICS - THE KRATKY METHOD!' VIDEO ABOVE, GIVE IT A LOOK-SEE THEN CHECK OUT THE BLOG POST BELOW TO LEARN MORE!
EASY LOW-MAINTENANCE HYDROPONICS - THE KRATKY METHOD
Got a black thumb? Are you a serial plant killer? Don't give up, all hope is not lost! There is an easy way to grow... it's the Kratky Method!
The easiest hydroponic growing technique. No pumps, no complex irrigation systems... it's pretty much just plants sitting in water. And it works!
Most of the early hydroponic research focused on static water systems. These systems worked, BUT, as scientists tend to do, they kept experimenting and eventually found there was an increase in plant growth when the nutrient solution was aerated. This discovery spurred the development of many circulating hydroponic systems like nutrient film technique (NFT) and top drip irrigation. Now most of the hydroponic research is focused on these circulating systems, BUT, there are still horticulturists experimenting with non-circulating hydroponics. One of the most vocal proponents of non-circulating hydroponics is Dr. Bernard Kratky of the University of Hawaii. He has done so much to continue the development of non-circulating hydroponics that his name has almost become synonymous with the technique... thus it is commonly referred to as the Kratky Method! Learn more about non-circulating hydroponics from the man himself in this paper or this video!
DIY Kratky Systems
Here is a simple system I built in 10 ish minutes. I made a video with my buddy Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden) which explains the system shown below in further detail. Gary is an avid gardener but new to hydroponics. He is going to be releasing videos of his experience with hydroponics and I'm super excited to follow his progress. You can do it Gary!
2 Months Later...
Earlier this week I visited Studio 512 on KXAN Austin to explain the science behind hydroponics and show some easy-to-use home hydroponic systems. Thank you Amanda Tatom and Studio 512 for inviting me on the show! It was a lot of fun!!
Recently I visited the 1st grade class at Preston Hollow Elementary in Dallas, Texas. We first discussed what is required for a plant to grow on Earth, then we explored the ways these requirements could be met in space... using an LED Growth Chamber!
Check out the University of Arizona's Lunar Greenhouse: Link
Get more information on the LED Growth Chamber: Link
If you've not yet seen the Wet Wilts video above, give it a looksie! I simplified the role of the Casparian strip in the video, the deeper science is even more exciting!
The information below was sourced from Plant Physiology (Fifth Edition) by Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger.
Before the Casparian strip, water enters a plant through three pathways:
- Symplast and transmembrane pathway: Moving through a network of interconnected cells.
- Apoplast pathway: Moving through the space between cells.
- Transmembrane pathway: Moving in and out of cells.
Before entering the core of a plant (endodermis), all water must move to the symplastic pathway. To enter this pathway, water (and solutes) must pass through the plasma membrane of a cell. Water movement across plasma membranes is dependent on aquaporins. Aquaporins are proteins in a cell's membrane that serve as channels for water transport. The permeability of aquaporins is influenced by several factors including temperature, anaerobic conditions, and pH. 'Wet Wilts' as described in the video occur because of anaerobic conditions. The reduced respiration rates in response to anaerobic conditions “can lead to increases in intracellular pH. This increase in cytoplasmic pH alters the conductance of aquaporins in root cells, resulting in roots that are markedly less permeable to water. The fact that aquaporins can be gated in response to pH provides a mechanism by which roots can actively alter their permeability to water in response to their local environment.” Wow science is awesome. To sum it up:
- Low oxygen environment leads to reduced respiration in root zone
- Reduced respiration leads to increased cytoplasmic pH
- Higher cytoplasmic pH leads to reduced permeability in aquaporins
- Reduced permeability in aquaporins leads to 'wet wilt'
When will you see wet wilt?
- High light levels: full sun or powerful grow lights increase transpiration and water uptake demand
- Poor drainage: leads to low oxygen levels in root zone reducing permeability of aquaporins
- Low humidity: increases transpiration thus increasing water uptake demand
- Large plants: large plants often transpire more than small plants, increasing uptake demand
Products used in this video
My partnership with Hydrofarm does not force me to show specific products, I only choose my favorites to feature. Here are the products I used in this video:
Do you want to learn how to build a hydroponic garden? Awesome!
I'm teaching that!
Join me for a Hands-on Introduction to Hydroponics workshop on June 6th or July 11th. This class will prepare you to confidently create and maintain your own hobby hydroponic system. Register early to secure an optional hydroponic starter kit for the Build-Along Session. Visit The GrowHaus Workshop Calendar for a complete description and registration.
I'm also teaching a Two-Day Advanced Hydroponic Training workshop July 18th & 19th. This course is a comprehensive introduction to hydroponic farming for all skill levels, combining both classroom and experiential learning. Included in this course:
- Hands-on training for vegetable production from seeding to sale and distribution
- Introduction to different types of commercial hydroponic systems
- Plant Pathology and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for leafy greens
- Choosing and Blending Hydroponic Fertilizers (Synthetic and Organic)
- Environmental Controls for Greenhouses and Indoor Farms
- Food Safety
- Packaging and Post-Production
- Marketing and Distribution
- Group Farm Design Session
Visit the The GrowHaus Workshop Calendar for more information and registration!
There are a limited number of scholarships available for these workshops. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.