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The Five Major Benefits of Aeroponics

May 9, 2008
Though hydroponic growing began thousands of years ago, aeroponics is fairly new to the world of agriculture. In fact, it wasn't until the 1940's that scientists first successfully grew plants using air as a medium and it wasn't until the 1980's that new technology allowed aeroponics to be viable on a large scale.

Aeroponics may seem simple enough. After all, they sell miniature aeroponic systems through infomercials and on the Internet. But for the more serious hydroponics growers, aeroponics presents some unique challenges. First, it is a more delicate system and any mechanical malfunction or power outage will cause your roots to dry out very quickly. It is also an expensive system. But it also comes numerous advantages which should offset the costs and be more appealing to almost any hydroponics grower.

No Medium - Strictly speaking, an aeroponics system actually uses air as a medium. This has numerous advantages. First, it saves you a great deal of labor. It can be extremely labor intensive to line all of your grow trays or buckets with your medium every growing season. It can also be difficult to clean out your medium to make sure that there isn't any leftover organic material. Second, it is more beneficial to the environment. With no medium to dispose of, less hydroponic waste gets dumped in landfills. Since most bacteria that can potentially damage your plants usually grow and multiply in your medium, this can be less of a concern with aeroponics. And of course, it can be much easier on your pocketbook over time. You don't need to worry about purchasing more growing medium every growing season so there is no need to purchase any.

Efficient Use of Water - The plants grow in an aeroponic system by dangling their roots in a growing chamber that is kept at one hundred percent humidity. This is maintained by using misting nozzles that periodically spray more misted nutrient solution into the growing chamber. This means that very little water has to be used because the roots only suck up as much moisture as they need. This means you won't waste any of the nutrients or fertilizer you use in your reservoir. In fact, one of the reasons NASA became interested in aeroponics as a means to grow food aboard space shuttles is its efficient use of water.

Constant Contact With Air - With more traditional hydroponic growing, you have to sometimes bear in mind that some media hold air better than others which might require the mixing of the media or changing the medium entirely in order for your plants to properly thrive. This is never an issue with aeroponics. Since your roots dangle in the air, you can always be assured they always receive enough oxygen to grow to their full potential.

Faster growing - Some studies have shown that this method of growing can actually help your plants germinate and grow faster. When combined with the right type of nutrients, this can translate into extremely fast harvests and can allow you to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor much much sooner.
About the Author
Michael Straumietis is co-founder of Advanced Nutrients, an international marketer and manufacturer of agricultural, home & garden, hydroponics and soil less fertilizers and plant nutrients. If you would like to know more about aeroponics, read our feature article in the hydroponics gardening section at http://www.advancednutrients.com.
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