Biochar is a high performance, carbon-rich organic fertilizer, produced by burning organic biomass a temperature of 300-1000°c.This is done in an environment with either low oxygen or one completely devoid of it (pyrolysis). It could also be produced in an environment with partial absence of oxygen (gasification). Biochar is used as a better alternative to chemical fertilizers for growing all kinds of crops. It is applied by mixing with the choice growth substrate in a suitable proportion, e.g 40%-60% or 30%-70%, with the biochar being the lower component.
AGRIPRENEURS: The Emerging Millionaires
An easy to read book that starts you on a journey on why you should consider agriculture to some startling statistics that reveal that the major players in this field in Nigeria and Africa at large are the older folks. It poses the questions-Where are the youths?.
The ride progresses by intimating you with the technologies that now exist in Agriculture, which makes it more attractive and should bring the youths in. Rounds it all up with the different opportunities in agribusiness and leaves you convinced that agriculture is really what you should think about and embrace as fast as possible.
Vertical Grow System
Ever desired to grow what you eat very close to you? Then this Vertical Grow System is just what you need. The availability of space or lack of it need not be a delimiter in the realization of such dreams anymore because it is built to stay on your veranda or balconies with or without a greenhouse.
Easy to Use: Simply immerse the pH meter electrode in the solution to be tested; readings are quickly display on a large LCD display.
Auto Calibrated: Features in-built calibration with two buffer powders (included).Just press a button to finish the calibration. This pH meter is factory calibrated. Users can use it directly.
Fast and Accurate Results: No need to work with those annoying color charts and test strips. Resolution: 0.01 pH, Accuracy: ±0.01 pH
Compact Portable Design: Pocket fitting pH meter that is also lightweight and compact. Fits in your bag or pocket for easy, casual carrying.
Wide Application: Ideal instrument for hydroponics, any aquarium, the fishing industry, swimming pools, spa, school laboratories, food & beverage, drinking water etc.
Cocopeat, which is made from coconut husk, is an excellent growing medium for hydroponics, soil mixes and container plant growing. The cocopeat is an absolute organic product, which is sterile and has natural rooting hormones, as well as anti-fungal properties. All of these properties make it the ideal growing medium. It also has the ability to store nutrients and release it to plants for extended periods. Its high oxygenation properties ensures plants develop healthy roots.
The use of cocopeat also guarantees the slightly acidic environment plants need for growth since it has a neutral to slightly acidic pH of 5.0-6.8.
Hydroponics Technology is an old technique, dating back to about 2600 years ago. It has its roots in the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the initial Seven Wonders of the World and the Floating Gardens of China. Though humans used these techniques thousands of years ago, the general theory behind hydroponics remains the same and modern technology enables plants to be grown even faster, stronger, and healthier.
In 1936, Dr. William Frederick Gericke of the University of California began to popularize the idea that plants could be grown in a solution of nutrients and water instead. He came up with the name, ‘Hydroponics’ an amalgamation of the Greek names ‘hydros’ (which means ‘water’) and ‘ponos’ (which means ‘working’). With hydroponics, plant roots absorb balanced nutrients solutions which is already dissolved and diluted in water for the optimum growth of the plant, so it is correct to refer to it as “Working water”.
The public, as well as his colleagues in the university,doubted this idea of his and raised many criticisms over it.Dr. Gericke remain undeterred and carried on with more experiments to prove his claim. The breakthrough and acceptance came when he was able to grow twenty-five foot high tomato vines using only water and nutrients. At this point, other scientists in the University of California joined in performing more research and they uncovered a great deal of benefits related to soil less plant cultivation.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil. Water, which contains nutrients, is used in place of soil. Consequently, the plants are grown in this nutrient solution with or without the use of an artificial medium, such as sand, gravel, vermiculite, rockwool, perlite, peat moss, old rubber tires, coir and expanded clay aggregates, to provide mechanical support. The nutrient solution is what actually makes the hydroponics technology what it is.
How it works
The minerals that the plant needs, like nitrogen, potassium, calcium, etc., are dissolved into the water. This is then watered directly to the plants. Hence, the plants draw these essential minerals from the water used to feed them, as opposed to having to search throughout the soil for them.The heart of hydroponic farming is the nutrient solution.
With Mineral and Allied’s hydroponic systems, soil is not required for the growth of fodder and vegetables crops, thus allowing them to be resilient to climate change and grow faster. Hydroponic technology methods are more efficient and allow for higher amounts of production than traditional field farming. For example, with hydroponics technology, one can grow fodder in just seven days as opposed to twelve weeks and vegetables can be grown 30% faster than when grown in soil.
Advantages of Hydroponics Technology
- Greater yield in a lesser time than using traditional agricultural methods
- Plants can be grown more densely
- Same plant species can be grown repeatedly as there is no soil depletion
- Plants have a balanced supply of air, water and nutrients
- Cleaner, healthier and fresher products can be reaped
- Production can be timed more effectively to satisfy market demand
- Products are more resistant to diseases
- Natural or biological control of pests and diseases can be employed
- Soil borne diseases can be eliminated
- Troublesome weeds and stray seedlings which usually prompt the need for the use of herbicides and increase labour cost can also be eliminated
- Reduction of health risks associated with pest management and soil care
- Reduced turnaround time between planting as no soil preparation is required
- Stable and significantly increased yields and shorter crop maturation cycle
- Can be utilized by families with small or no yard space
- The water stays in the system and can be reused, thus lowering water costs
- The controlled ystem ensures there is no nutrition pollution into the environment
- Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of because of container mobility
Disadvantage of Hydroponics Technology
Despite the fact that there are lots of advantages to using the technology of hydroponics farming, it is not without its own few downsides.
- Technical knowledge and a good grasp of the principles of hydroponics farming are required to practice it on a commercial scale
- The initial investment is relatively high when it is done on a commercial scale
- Great care and attention to details is required, particularly in the preparation of formulas and plant health control
- A constant supply of water is required as plants depend on a fresh supply
Plant roots need three major things for growth to occur. These are Water (moisture), nutrients and Oxygen. How these three things are delivered to the plant roots is what distinguishes one hydroponic system from the other. In deciding on the right hydroponics system to use, one has to consider if the need is for home use or commercial structures. There are seven main types of hydroponics systems.
- Responsive Drip Technique (RDT)
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Systems
- Wicking System
- Ebb and Flow
- Drip Systems