Home Hydroponics

Course CodeAHT107
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Open Learning Course, self paced home study

Grow vegetables, fruit, flowers; or even indoor plants at home, hydroponically

You don't need a lot of space, or even a piece of ground. This method of growing can allow anyone to have a productive garden even if you have no more than a balcony. Hydroponics can be carried out on raised tables or in containers humg on wall brackets; making it feasible for even disabled people.

Explore the possibilities.

This is a good starting point for those who have little experience in horticulture or hydroponics; whose main interest is in growing AT HOME. Unlike our other courses, this course is NOT intended for commercial growing in any way. You will learn the theory behind hydroponic culture, as well as receive first hand practical experience as you set up your own basic hydroponic system.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Hydroponics and Plant Growth
    • Scope and Nature of Hydroponics and terminology (Water Culture, Sand and Gravel Culture, Rockwool, Vermiculaponics, Hydroculture, etc)
    • How it Works
    • A Simple Manual System to Create
    • History of Hydroponics
    • Understanding How Plants Grow
    • Understanding the Water Requirements and Management
    • Photosynthesis
  2. Basic Chemistry, Nutrition & Nutrient Solutions
    • Significance of understanding chemistry for hydroponics
    • Understanding Basic Chemistry
    • Atoms and Compounds
    • The important Plant Nutrients
    • Writing Chemical Names
    • What concentrations of different nutrients does a plant need?
    • Nutrient solutions
    • Preparing Nutrient Solutions
    • Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake
  3. More on Nutrient Solutions
    • Understanding differences between Soil Culture and Soil less Culture
    • The nitrogen Cycle
    • Mycorrhyzae
    • Summary of fertilizers used in Hydroponic Nutrients
    • Calculating Chemical Formulae
    • Hydroponic Nutrition
  4. Media and Types of Systems
    • Classification of Hydroponic Systems
    • What Makes up a System; system variables; Solution Dispensation, Closed or open, Drip, slop, capillary feed, wicks, misting, dry fertilizing etc, Automatic or Manual Operation, Type of Medium, Construction Materials, Rate & Frequency of Irrigation & Feeding, Air Injection (In water culture), Plant Support, Environment controls.
    • Choosing a System
    • Types of Media
    • Rockwool
    • Vermiculite
    • Sand
    • Leca, (Expanded Clay)
    • The Bentley System
  5. Designing a System
    • Nutrient Film Technique
    • Alternative NFT Layouts
    • Solution Dispensation Options (closed or open system, drip, slop, flood, capillary, dry, mist, etc)
    • 16 Other System Options
  6. Problems in Hydroponics
    • Pest and Disease
    • Nutrition
    • Environmental
    • Diagnosis of Nutritional Problems
    • Controlling Acidity
  7. Plant Culture
    • Flow Charting a Crop
    • Greenhouse Management
    • Controllers (Salinity, pH)
    • Adjusting Solutions using an Electro Conductivity Meter
  8. Solid Media vs Water Culture
    • Indoor Plants
    • Berries
    • Gravel Culture compared with NFT
  9. Growing Vegetables in Hydroponics
    • Fresh Cut Herbs in Hydroponics
    • Lettuce
    • Tomatoes
    • Cucumber
    • Review of all other common vegetables that are suited to hydroponics
  10. Growing Cut Flowers in Hydroponics
    • Overview
    • Roses
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Carnations
    • Review of many other common flowers that are suited to hydroponics

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


SUGGESTED READING -books written by our principal John Mason and the staff
click for details or to purchase
          

 
What is Hydroponics?

 

 A HYDROPONIC SYSTEM COMPRISES THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS: 

The Location

This is a KEY FACTOR, because it influences everything else.

If the system is indoors, then the environmental conditions are being controlled. The temperature may fluctuate less than normal. Wind may be reduced etc.

If the system is outside it will be exposed to rain which may dilute nutrient solution etc.

Pest and disease problems are reduced by keeping the system isolated from those problems in doors, raised off the ground or in isolated locations.

Outdoor systems may be dug in by dogs, cats or other animals.

 

The Container or Bed

The roots (as well as the nutrient solution and medium) need to be contained by something.

You may have gravel, sand or perlite contained by bags, pots or tubs.

You may have rockwool fibre or scoria contained in a raised bed built from timber, metal or concrete.

You may use polystyrene boxes, hanging baskets, prefabricated fibreglass tanks etc.....the list of possibilities is endless.

 

Watering/Nutrient Application Equipment

Nutrient can be applied dry on the surface and then watered in or mixed with water and applied as a nutrient solution.

Solution may be applied automatically at predetermined times or as required.

It may be applied at the bottom of the media and allowed to move up via capillary action, or alternatively at the top and allowed to filter down. It may be pumped on, or moved manually or by gravity. Excess may be collected and reused, or allowed to be lost after passing through the media.

 

Trellising

This is not always included.

When growing tall plants or creeping plants (eg: Tomatoes, cucumber, Chrysanthemum, Carnation, Roses etc), the root medium may not be strong enough to support the plant....or perhaps it might be necessary to control the plant and make it more manageable.

A trellis of wire mesh, strings or stakes may be necessary to just prevent the plants from falling over and being damaged.

 

Root Media

The media which the roots grow in affects your decisions about all of the above. You must consider rooting media with respect to it's ability to hold water, air, nutrients, support the plant etc.