Less is More

by Wanjun Gao August 20, 2019

This is a short blog about the over-saturation scenario with the aeroponics method, most often encountered in Low-Pressure Aeroponics.

This past month has been busy. Got the kits shipped out from the manufacturer, then experienced unexpected logistics delays in LA, Califonia. Well, on the positive side, I learned new things every day.

Here is what I encountered recently in a real grow test. One of my friends was testing out Kratky version of Deep-Water Culture systems and Aeroponics systems.

As expected, the Kratky method enabled fast growth. However, unexpectedly, his aeroponics crops were under-performing. So I got a chance to have a look.

I am, by no means, an experienced grower. Even so, I noticed there were only a handful of roots, the yellow sticks without “root hair” that I would like to see.

Two things I discovered: one, the root temperature was about 78F; second, the roots were dripping water. The spray pattern was directed towards the roots, covering 100% of the root system. It appeared to me the plants were “drowning”. I suspected the second one might be the primary issue.

So we moved the plants to our AeroKIT (Latest incarnation: AeroXPS) and tuned the spray patterns so that the roots were getting nutrients from the floating mists generated by High-Pressure Nutrient Regulator. No direct sprays. That gave roots ample exposure to the air.

In three days, you can see the clear differences made by High-Pressure Aeroponics. New roots coming out are healthy, white, and with the signature “root hair”.

Very interesting results, for sure. It also makes me think about the Kratky method and aeroponics in general.

With aeroponics, if parameters like spray duration, intervals, and patterns are not set up correctly, roots could be constantly covered by water and “drown” (even in the name of Aeroponics). This could be more likely with Low-Pressure Aeroponics because the roots are fully sprayed and saturated. With such systems, it’s important to use a more robust and precise controller/timer, and make sure you allow the roots to dry a little bit between the cycles.

Drowning could happen in all growing methods: with soil, deep water culture, and even with aeroponics. The Kratky method specifically asks for gaps between nutrient level and root top, so roots can get a chance to breathe, and grow happily.

So the lesson learned: overcome the fear of not supplying enough nutrients, make sure roots get a chance to breathe. And that applies to any growing method.

If you are using an aeroponics method, make sure you have a quality controller with precision control and atomizers that can generate floating mists.




Wanjun Gao
Wanjun Gao

Author




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