The gravel flow technique hydroponics systems have big advantages in terms of results and costs
The balanced nutrient supply ensures that the plant is being perfectly fed and watered, resulting in rapid, even growth, larger yields and very nutritious and tasty produce . The quality and cleanliness of hydroponically produced plants has to be seen to be appreciated. No special gardening skills are needed to use the system which means that everybody can enjoy these results.
Because the system is so efficient, the costs of growing are much lower than growing in soil. A reticulated hydroponics system will use about one tenth of the water and fertiliser required to grow the same plants in soil. The pump's electricity consumption is negligible.
For good growth results, a plant needs a balanced nutrient supply. Soil, supplemented by additional composts and fertilisers, is the nutrient source in normal soil culture. It is not easy to identify exactly what salts and trace elements are in the soil. Often fertilisers are used to try to create the balance, eg superphosphate to add phosphorous. Very little of the fertiliser added to soil is ever actually used by the plants. The FlowGrow system delivers a completely balanced nutrient solution to the plant resulting in savings on fertilisers. All of the nutrients are used by the plants - none are wasted. No crop rotation is required.
Other than a small loss by evaporation, all water used by this system goes into the plant growth process, either to be stored in the plant or released through transpiration. With soil culture 90% of the water is not used by the plants - it just drains away.
The provision of oxygen to the root system is an essential element of growth. The bubbling of the nutrient solution as it passes through the gravel medium creates excellent aeration.
The plant root size develops according to the amount of nutrient available. Poor soil will result in a big root system. Good soil will result in a smaller root system. With hydroponics where the nutrient solution is perfect the root system does not grow large and the energy goes into the plant body resulting in quicker growth.
Eliminating soil to a large extent eliminates weeds. Wind or mechanically introduced weeds are easily removed. With soil culture there is a lot of fertiliser wastage on weeds.
No soil preparation is required. Weeding is minimal. There is no watering required. Planting and harvesting are quick and simple.
It is great fun and very rewarding to grow your own food. Many of our users also say they find spending time with their system is very therapeutic.
Because the root systems do not grow massive, plants can be planted much closer together than in soil. Enough space has to be allowed for the top structure only and not for the root system. In soil the root system is usually about twice the diameter of the plant. With hydroponics it is about half the diameter of the plant.
This system can be set up and used anywhere. Outdoors in the open, under shade cloth or plastic, on a verandah, patio or sunroof, or indoors under special lighting.
The elevated system brings the working height to a standard counter level, completely eliminating bending and crouching working positions. Being elevated improves air movement around the plants, and reduces disease and pest risks.
The exclusion of all dung and compost from the fertiliser program eliminates the danger of spreading diseases such as gastro-enteritis. All produce grown in the system remains clean and hygienic from planting to harvest.
Provided there is an uninterrupted electrical supply to the system, it only requires topping up with nutrient and water and very occasional maintenance.