Look Ma, no soil! Aeroponics is a carefully cultivated system of growing plants in air, using only nutrient mist to farm crops horizontally or vertically. NASA has been working with plants in space since the 1960s, but they have really kicked it up a notch by working with Aeroponics
Aeroponics systems can reduce water usage by 98 percent, fertilizer usage by 60 percent, and pesticide usage by 100 percent, all while maximizing crop yields. Plants grown in the aeroponic systems have also been shown to uptake more minerals and vitamins, making the plants healthier and potentially more nutritious.
Tomato growers traditionally start their plants in pots, waiting at least 28 days before transplanting them into the ground. Using an aeroponic system, growers can start the plants in the growing chamber, then transplant them just 10 days later. This advanced technology produces six tomato crop cycles per year, instead of the traditional one to two crop cycles.
Aeroponic integration in Vietnam agriculture began by producing a low cost certified disease-free organic minitubers, which in turn was be supplied to local farmers for their field plantings of seed potatoes and commercial potatoes. Potato farmers benefited from aeroponics because their seed potatoes were disease-free and grown without pesticides. Most importantly for the Vietnamese farmer, it lowered costs of operation and increased their yields. Potato farmers in Peru are also finding significant results from aeroponics.
Benefits of Aeroponics
- Less nutrient solution throughput, less water used
- Greater control of plant environment
- Improved nutrient feeding
- More user-friendly
- More cost effective