What is an Aeroponic System and How to Set Up One?
An aeroponic system is a system through which nutrient solution and misting water reach plant roots. Aeroponics is somehow a form of hydroponics, helping growers with their plants. Furthermore, they can even choose between numerous types of systems. However, there are two main types of aeroponic systems, namely a low-pressure aeroponics and a high-pressure one.
The difference between these systems consists in the size of the droplet of the mist they use in each case. Low-pressure aeroponics uses high-flow, low-pressure pumps. On the other hand, high-pressure aeroponics uses low-flow, high-pressure pumps. If the mist is extremely fine, similar to fog, the aeroponic system will be called fogponics.
What is an aeroponic system
In this type of system, growers suspend their plants in the air without using a grow media around their root system. In this way, the roots of the plant are always moist, being kept in a growth chamber with a nutrient-rich water mist, in a sealed environment. The plants do not need too much support since it is constantly exposed to a lot of air. Hence, they grow without constraints.
Growers who grow their plants in an aeroponic system notice that their plants grow faster due to the ample exposure to high levels of oxygen. They suspend the plants in bracket type pyramids, having their roots completely exposed to the mist and air within the grow chamber.
The top of this bracket is in charge of supporting the top growth of the plant while the roots freely dangle. Besides the fact that this system is space saving, it also allows the plants to grow either horizontally or vertically. In this way, this system saves up a lot of space in the grow room or greenhouse.
When developing an aeroponic system, growers have to use less water compared to other hydroponic methods since the water gets misted. However, they need to take great care of these plants to make sure that the roots receive enough mist and don’t dry out. Since the roots are always suspended in the air, they are always in danger of drying.
Furthermore, growers also need to take care of the fact that the plants are not exposed to diseases or pests. Being suspended, the plant is susceptible to all kinds of threats since the roots are exposed.
How to clone with aeroponics
Compared to conventional soil root cuttings, cloning with aeroponics is better. When you clone with an aeroponic system, you do not need to add nutrients to the water. Furthermore, as long as the quality of the water stays clean, you will not need to flush it. This is a much sterile method to clone since it is a sealed environment. All you have to do is add tap water and let it run for an hour to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Then, you can start cloning.
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How to set up an aeroponic system
What you will need:
- hydroponic net pots with rubber foam lids;
- indoor/outdoor electrical timer with 30-minute increments;
- 3/4” slip “elbow” PVC connector;
- 3/4” slip “cross” PVC connector;
- tube of 100% silicon caulking;
- 200 gallon per hour fountain pump;
- 1/2” flexi-tubing shut-off valve;
- 1/2” hose clamp;
- 12” black flexi-tubing;
- 180 degree 1/2″ plastic head threaded sprinkler heads;
- 3/4” slip “T” PVC connector;
- 3/4” PVC;
- 1/2” barb to male threaded connector;
- 1/2” threaded bulkhead fitting with gasket;
- 3/4” slip “T” connector with 1/2″ threaded top;
- 30-gallon tote with lid.
These are the materials needed if you want to make your own DIY aeroponic system to grow your plants.
How to do it
First, you will have to decide the size of the pots. You should arrange them for a few inches apart. Then, cut the holes you need for the net pots. You can use a drill, a hole saw or an Exacto knife. Fit the net pots into the holes and make sure they do not fall through. Next, cut the 3’4” PVC and use the PVC primer and glue to connect the 4.5” PVC pieces to the PVC elbow connector and the 6” PVC pieces. Hence, the 6” piece will serve as the riser.
Then, you should use the PVC glue and primer to attach the 3/4” slip to the 1/2” threaded PVC connector. The next thing you need to do is to screw in the sprinkler heads. Use the glue to connect two 3/4” “T” PVC connectors and one 3/4″ “cross” PVC connectors. Next, you should connect two 3” PVC pieces to the 3/4″ “T” with the threaded 1/2” top. Connect the 8” section to the risers and screw the 1/2″ barb to 1/2″ threaded connector.
Afterwards, you just have to use the whole tube of silicone caulking to seal the lid on top of the aeroponics system. The seal should be airtight, without any gaps of coverage. Let this completely dry before you use it. Then, install the bulkhead fitting at the location you want, along with the bottom of the unit. Put the shut-off valve, using the flexi-tubing as a drain valve.
The next step consists in inserting the foam lids. Then, you can place the unit on an established cycle of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Make sure you fill it with water below the sprinkler heads.
Developing an aeroponic system is a really simple, efficient and worry-free way to grow and clone your favorite vegetables. This system implies growing plants without using soil while the roots are suspended in the air, and they get sprinkled with water and nutrient solution from time to time. This is a simple way in which you can clone non-woody stemmed plants from cuttings.
Furthermore, you can also use this type of system to grow plants to harvest. If you are keen on developing this type of system, you can easily do it yourself since it is easy to develop and operate. Instead of spending a lot of money to purchase one, you should better learn how to develop it yourself.