Develop a foundation of skills and knowledge, enabling you to confidently advise customers buying hydroponic supplies; and provide support through developing guidelines for the successful culture of plants.
A Course For
- Hydroponic Shop Managers and Staff
- Hydroponic Equipment and Materials Manufacturers and Suppliers
- Others working with hydroponic growers who need a better knowledge of hydroponics; such as irrigation suppliers, greenhouse suppliers, environmental equipment suppliers.
This course does overlap significantly with Hydroponics I and with Home Hydroponics, and you should avoid doing more than one of those three. The difference is that Home hydroponics is a less intensive academic load, and geared to the hobbyist; while hydroponics I is a broad based course, while this course is written specifically for people who are in a position of supplying services or products to hydroponic growers, both amateur and trade.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Hydroponics – Nature and Scope
Types of Hydroponic Systems
Introduction to Plant Nutrition and Understanding Nutrient Labels
Introduction to Growing Media
Basic Hydroponic Systems and Components
Climate Management Equipment
Common Pests and Diseases
Deficiencies, Toxicity and pH Control
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.
Understand the nature and scope of hydroponics and hydroponic systems.
Compare a range of hydroponics systems.
Understand plant nutrition requirements and interpret nutrient solution labels.
Compare different types of growing media for use in different systems.
Describe the components needed for different types of systems.
Explain the basic management of nutrient solutions in a hydroponic system.
Become familiar with methods of climate control and equipment required.
Develop awareness of common pest and disease problems in hydroponics and products to control them.
Describe means of controlling plant deficiencies, toxicities and system pH levels.
Review methods for controlling problems to maintain system and plant health.
Hydroponic Services are a Big Industry
Understanding hydroponics is essential to anyone who works in the industry whether in sales, marketing, system design and installation, or growing produce. Even those who sell components online or part time will benefit from a sound understanding of what successful hydroponics involves.
Anyone who grows hydroponically, hobbyist or commercial grower, needs to buy equipment and materials not only to build their system; but also to operate it. Hydroponic suppliers are the shops and manufacturers who provide these things that are needed to grow hydroponics.
So, what is hydroponics? Hydroponics can simply be said to be the process used to grow plants without soil. It literally means ‘working water’. The grower is taking ‘control’ of the plant's root environment, and losing the benefit of 'mother nature's' finely-tuned mechanisms which normally control that part of the plant's environment. A hydroponic grower provides the optimal levels of food and water that plants need for growth in the form of nutrient solutions. They can also control the environment in a variety of ways to influence plant growth, such as by providing artificial light, humidity, or by manipulating temperatures.
Hydroponics is not an easier way to grow plants! It is a more controlled way of growing plants!
Although all the various components of a hydroponics enterprise can be bought ready made and imported to the site for use, some components such as grow beds or benches for NFT channels, reservoir tanks, sump tanks and crop support can be made on site. It very much depends on the grower's budget and the availability of materials. Other components such as pumps and pipes will need to be purchased but these can be installed by the grower to save on outside labour costs if required. The choice of materials required will also be governed by the type of system to be installed.
A wide variety of different components can be used to create a hydroponics system. These include specially constructed tanks which could suit commercial grade systems as well as small home systems, through to plastic barrels or bottles for introductory and backyard systems. Some growers recycle materials for use in homemade systems but they should not use anything which has been in contact with poisonous chemicals, anything which has been painted, or anything which has corrosive metal parts since these might all harbour harmful residues. Plastics such as PVC which are safe for use with drinking water are best. Other plastics may degrade and break down over time releasing harmful chemicals.
Choosing the Right Sized System
Obviously, the size of the system a grower chooses will be dictated by factors such as the amount of available space, the amount of produce they wish to harvest, material costs, construction costs, running costs, maintenance costs, and so forth.
If they only intend supplying produce for themselves, family, or friends, then clearly a small system is all that is needed. If they are looking to sell produce, then they might need to have a good idea of how much they can realistically offload for profit without having wastage.
WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR?
- Hydroponic equipment and materials manufacturers
- Managers and senior staff of hydroponic shops
- Any other suppliers who service hydroponic farms or growers; and who need to develop a greater ability to understand and interact with hydroponic growers.
- Horticultural consultants, teachers, or anyone else providing advice, who want to expand their knowledge into the area of hydroponics.