What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a method of farming which does not use soil, unlike traditional agriculture. Instead it uses mineral nutrient rich water, in which the roots of the plants sit. The plants themselves sit in a medium such as rock or clay. Hydroponics eliminates some of the barriers which limit plant growth, making the method more efficient.
Advantages of Hydroponics
Saves up to 90% of the water used in traditional agriculture
Easier to test and adjust Ph and nutrient levels
Less extensive root structures
Up to a 30% increase in fruit production
Plants mature up to 25% faster
Saves land space
Does not require arable land
How Does Hydroponics Work?
Plants in soil have to to expend a lot of their resources and energy on an extensive root systems to try and encounter the nutrients and water they need. Hydroponics on the other hand, provides the nutrients in ideal quantity for growth and water directly to the roots. With a less extensive root system needed, the plants can devote more energy to producing fruit, leading to higher production. It saves water because it is a closed system, unlike traditional agriculture. A closed system means the only water loss comes from the plants themselves.
What Type of Hydroponics does Levo Use?
Levo is currently developing two different types of hydroponic systems.
Nutrient Film Technique
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is the main type of hydroponics Levo works with. It circulates the water from the reservoir through a cascading system of pipes, providing oxygen rich water to the plants. Levo’s NFT , our Babylon systems, is built from pvc and steel. These compact systems are capable of growing a large variety of crops with the correct level of training. Each system hold 16 plants each, maximizing production per square foot. The increased production reduced water means the Babylon system can have an impact on a global scale.
The Non-circulating System (NC) remove most of the complexity of hydroponic farming. Levo is developing solutions using non-circulating hydroponics, particularly for urban settings. NC involves simply placing a plant’s roots in a reservoir that a plant needs in its entire growth cycle. This system removes the need to circulate the water and traps the oxygen inside the reservoir.
Resh, Howard M, Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook of Soilless Food-growing Methods : For the Professional and Commercial Grower and the Advanced Home Hydroponics Gardener. Mahwah, N.J.: Newconcept Press, 2004
Jensen, M. H. (1997). Hydroponics, HortScience HortSci, 32(6), 1018-1021. https://journals.ashs.org/view/journals/hortsci/32/6/article-p1018.xml. Retrieved Apr 2, 2019