How Aeroponics Works

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 - 6:47pm

Aeroponically grown kale at Epcot

How Aeroponics Works (link to article on How it Works)

Simply put, aeroponics is a method of growing plants in a soilless environment with very little water. Basically, it's growing without earth. It woks better on certain plants than others--a study in Arizona found similar yields for echinacea root to field-grown, but aeroponic burdock root yields were 1,000 times higher.

It's used indoors in deserts, on space stations, and is ideal for urban gardeners. It takes very little space - you can pack the plant close to each other since they are not competing for nutrients in the soil. As in the picture above, the part of the plant that would grow above the soil pokes through a special board that will not allow light to hit the roots. But whereas hydroponics grows roots in a nutrient solution, aeroponics suspends the roots in the air and sprays them with a nutrient solution on a timer.

This kind of thinking reflects the basic premise behind aeroponics -- using the minimum amount of input to gain the maximum output. The fact that it lacks soil is another important aspect. Soil provides plants with stability, warmth, and an easy way to distribute nutrients and water. But soil is also stingy, especially when it comes to allowing plants oxygen.

The reason it can make for spectacular yields is that while plants need carbon dioxide to make sugars via photosynthesis, they need oxygen to break down sugars to use them to grow.

And finally, here's a link to an article on how to build your own aeroponics system. Enjoy!

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