The guys at Capital City Growers Supply and Growers Supply Group in Michigan sell a lot of aeroponics systems and they always tell growers that aeroponics is best used by dedicated gardeners who have the time and motivation to pay close daily attention to their aeroponics garden.
That’s because maintenance of ideal temperature, pH, hydroponics nutrients ppm, and system cleanliness is of way more importance in aeroponics than in almost any other hydroponic system you might grow in.
Why is that? Because there is no solid root zone material to encase your roots is one reason. With only air, water and nutrients in contact with your roots, crucial factors must be maintained in optimum range to prevent root damage or pathogens.
Another reason you have to be a full-time, on-site daily type of grower if you use aeroponics is that aeroponics systems need a 100% constant supply of electricity.
Periodic pumped water (about ten seconds every 15 minutes is an average interval) at adequate pressure to provide mist or nebulized fog to your roots is absolutely necessary. If there’s a power failure for more than 6-12 hours, your roots and plants are history.
That’s why serious aeroponics growers are faced with two requirements: you won’t be going anywhere for more than a few hours during your growing season; you need a back-up generator system to ensure 100% reliable electricity. Your roots have to get sprayed or else they’ll die, that’s all there is to it.
Another downside of aeroponics is that the closed-chamber, high-humidity aspect of the root zone and reservoir may provide ideal conditions for pathogenic organisms that rot your roots.
In regular systems you can use beneficial microbes to fight bad microbes, but beneficial microbes don’t do so well in aeroponics and may even become a problem.
Extra cleaning, ensuring source water cleanliness and periodic use of H202 or some other disinfectant may be necessary to prevent harmful pathogen build-up.
Unlike deep water culture and other hydroponics systems that are relatively easy for do-it-yourself growers, aeroponics systems require specialized skills and components. That’s why I recommend you buy manufactured aeroponics rather than try to make an aeroponics system.
Capital City Grower Supply recommends aeroponics units made by General Hydroponics and Botanicare. Both companies make a variety of aeroponics configurations that range in price from a couple hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars. The differences in these units include the number of plant sites, the quality and applicability of pumps, hoses, tubing and other materials, and the water-nutrients delivery devices.
And of course you may well have heard that aeroponics cloning is a way to get faster clone rooting and higher survival rates. Again, the vote goes to Botanicare cloners, particularly the Power Cloner line, because they come with humidity domes that most other aeroponics cloners don’t have and should have.
Be aware that some “aeroponics” systems are not using true aeroponics misters, nebulizers or foggers, which can be a problem because aeroponics relies on small particle size of nutrient-enriched water droplets for adequate root feeding. The cheaper systems use delivery devices that might not provide small enough particle size.
I am a big fan of aeroponics and DWC for hydroponics growing. But they’re not for amateurs or people who want a plug and play system. The good news is if you’re a dedicated, professional grower using high-end hydroponics nutrients like the pH Perfect® and the Bigger Yields Flowering System®, aeroponics will give you faster, healthier plants that yield big and strong in small spaces.
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Thursday, 10 November 2011