Aeroponics System: How Does It Work?

Here we explain what an aeroponics system is and what it does. There are different types of gardening methods available, and one such method that never fails to amaze us is something called aeroponics.

An aeroponic system is one that nourishes a plant with nothing more than a mist that is filled with special nutrients.

Are you interested to know more about this way of planting and growing plants or herbs? Keep reading to learn about the amazing world of aeroponics.

What Is Aeroponics?

Aeroponics is growing plants in an environment with air or mist, not soil or water. “Aero-” means air.

Aeroponics is different from hydroponics, aquaponics, and traditional in-the-soil gardening.

The thing with this type of gardening system is that there is no medium for the roots to grow into. Instead, the roots simply dangle in the air and are periodically fed by the water misted over them.

When this system is used, the seeds that these plants grow from are placed in foam, and then they are put into pots.

Again, no soil is used. The foam with the seeds is, instead, exposed to light on one side, and mist is applied to the other side to keep the roots moist and the plant fed.

The foam is also used as a way to keep the stem in place.

Advantages of Aeroponic Gardening

The process of growing plants, including fruits and vegetables, in an air environment is convenient because you don’t have to be as concerned with climate. The growing environment is all enclosed.

You might be wondering why you would want to do this type of gardening. After all, isn’t it easy enough to plant a seed and watch it grow?

It is, but using an aeroponic system is even easier once you have these systems established.

Here are the advantages to aeroponics. See if you’d enjoy if you employ this method of gardening:

Requires Smaller Space

In addition to being extremely efficient in regard to growing, aeroponic systems are very eco-friendly.

These systems also allow you to grow a lot of food in a relatively small space.

Instead of growing in an area that is spread out horizontally, such as a traditional garden, when you start growing with this type of system, you set it up vertically. This is called vertical farming.

Since you are growing up instead of out, you can usually put these systems in smaller areas, and they are very popular in urban areas where there is not a lot of land.

Enclosed

Additionally, these systems are fully enclosed. As such, you won’t have any type of runoff to waterways, which can cause pollution.

In addition, you won’t need to apply chemical treatments and pesticides to control insects or pests. Because aeroponics systems are enclosed, they won’t attract critters.

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Climate Control

Another advantage to aeroponics is you won’t be dependent about hardiness zones and climate. You can control the environment to grow year round.

Better Yields

With aeroponics, you control the environment. This results in faster growing cycles along with more reliable yields.

More Oxygen for Your Plants

It turns out that exposed roots can survive and even thrive without soil. In fact, it is actually very good for the roots of the plant to be without soil.

When the roots are allowed to grow freely, they get more oxygen, which will enable them to grow at a much faster rate.

Helps Save on Water

Another advantage of using one of these systems is that you will save a lot of water.

You might even be surprised to know that these systems use approximately 95% less water than plants that are grown in soil.

Needs Less Fertilizer

There is also the fact that you don’t have to take the extra time to fertilize them.

Nutrients are found in the mist, and these nutrients feed the roots and allow the plants to grow and thrive. Not needing chemical fertilizers is overall better for the environment.

Disadvantages of Aeroponics

There are many benefits of using a system like this to grow your plants. Still, as you might imagine, there are also some disadvantages.

Needs Accuracy

First, you need to consider the fact that a system like this requires a lot of finesse to efficiently operate.

For example, you must make sure that the amount of nutrients in the water is maintained precisely.

Even a small issue with the number of nutrients the plants get can cause a loss of your crops.

If the misters go out and stop spraying, this too could cause problems.

Uses Electricity

Since these are controlled by electricity, if the power goes out, it could be a disaster for your plants.

If your roots don’t get a steady stream of mist, the roots can quickly dry up.

For those who are seeking a fully environment-friendly option, this might not work for you since they run on electricity in order to pump the water through the misters.

You can also use natural light, but it is actually much better to use grow lights with these systems.

Some of them, however, can be run with solar energy.

Misters Need Regular Cleaning

You also need to clean the misters regularly.

If you don’t, they can become clogged by minerals, which causes the misters to stop working.

Can Be Expensive

Aeroponics systems are generally more expensive than other gardening systems.

It wouldn’t be unusual for a system like this to cost over $1,000.

Aeroponics Salad“File:Cityfarmer Salad.JPG” by Cityfarmer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Considerations to Keep in Mind Beforehand

You can build your own aeroponic system for less than $100. However, if you want to buy a ready-made system, it will typically cost over $1,000.

The cost of this includes things like automated nutrient monitors and a backup power supply, both of which are necessary in the case of a power outage or other similar issues.

Equipment Requirements

All of these aeroponic systems require an enclosure.

Why? Because the enclosure must hold in humidity and prevent the light from getting to the roots.

Generally, this is a plastic bin that has a few holes drilled into it.

There is also a separate tank to hold the solution.

In addition to these basic parts of the system, there are things that you might want to consider adding if you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your system.

Vertical or Horizontal

Though most of the systems are vertical, you can also find horizontal systems. These are like more traditional garden beds.

The more popular type of system, however, is one that is vertical or in the shape of a tower.

In this case, the roots have to spread out, so it is a good way to save some space.

Another reason these vertical systems are popular is that the devices used for misting are at the top, which allows the power of gravity to distribute the nutrient-rich mist.

Vertical gardening is an alternative farming method.

High-Pressure vs. Low-Pressure System

You also need to think about if you want a low-pressure or high-pressure system.

A low-pressure system is one where you have a simple pump that sprays the water through the misting devices.

You can make these on your own, and they are relatively inexpensive. People often refer to these systems as “soakaponics.”

These misters, however, can only provide a light spray, but not actually a true mist.

If you want a true mist, the moisture floats through the air, which helps to get the nutrients straight to the roots.

You can also get professional systems that rely on a pressurized water tank.

They can hold a lot of pressure, up to 90 psi, so these may be a good option for a low-maintenance system.

You can find most of the equipment you need for these systems online or by shopping at a hydroponic supplier.

What Grows Best in an Aeroponic System?

Technically, you can grow just about anything in an aeroponic system.

Specifically, anything that you can grow in a hydroponic system can typically be done in an aeroponic setup. Best plants for aeroponics include strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuces.

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Herbs, such as basil and mint, also do well aeroponically.

Additionally, root vegetables, such as carrots, are known to thrive in this method of gardening.

This is because the roots have a lot of room to grow. What’s even better is that they would be very easy to harvest when they mature.

The only plants that are probably impractical for a system like this are those that have a lot of nutrient requirements.

Additionally, large crops, such as trees and shrubs, are probably not going to work well in a system like this because of their size.

Is Aeroponics Better Than Hydroponics?

In a way, you can say that aeroponics is similar to how hydroponic systems work.

With a hydroponic system, the roots of the plants are placed on some type of medium that is not soil.

The medium might be, for instance, coco coir, and water that’s filled with nutrients is pumped through periodically.

In addition, both can be set up for vertical farming.

The answer if aeroponics is better than hydroponics depends on your needs. One is not necessarily better than the other.

The one disadvantage of hydroponics is that the roots may not get enough oxygen, which can harm the plant.

If cost is a concern, hydroponics is usually cheaper overall.

Both methods of gardening produce delicious produce when done correctly. Aeroponics and hydroponics are also good options for starting a garden where the soil is poor.

Aeroponics

A gardening system like aeroponics can be a great addition for people who live in the city or for those who don’t have a lot of space. You can set one up on a small patio or balcony.

Using aeroponic for growing fruits and vegetables is an easy, eco-friendly gardening option. Being able to control the environment helps with faster plant development and yields.

Like with all gardening, you can find most of what you need to set up your own aeroponic system online.

What’s more, you can even find ready-made systems, which you only need to assemble, and then start gardening immediately. Many people combine aeroponics with hydroponics systems.

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