Articles

Multiponics author(s) have been published many times during the past decade in the world's leading indoor gardening and modern farming magazine: Modern Farmer - Maximum Yield Magazine. Here is a sampling of the content. Other articles and magazine links are available in our "Learn" section. 

Aeroponics article by MultiponicsAeroponics article by MultiponicsAeroponics article by MultiponicsAeroponics article by Multiponics

Below is the text of the illustrated print article sampled above: 

 

“All About Growing with Aeroponics”

by treefrog@multiponics.com

 

Intro

A basic, comprehensive approach to aeroponics begins with a distinction between aeroponics and hydroponics. Hydro plants grow using a medium other than soil. Aero plants grow with no medium, their roots hanging in the air. They only need an anchor, such as a net pot or small rockwool cube, secured by a lid, and a misting chamber. With these and a few other items from your favorite grow store, you will be on your way to growing big with aeroponics! 

 

Setup

Start with good grow lights and a climate controlled room. Temps matter more than ever with aeroponics because although plants grow bigger and faster, they are also more susceptible to environmental stresses. The saying, “more risk, more reward” rings true, more with aeroponics than any other style of growing. However, when basic parameters such as temperature and humidity are well controlled, plants really take off with aeroponics! Crop turnover times are minimized and yields are maximized.

Use lights manufactured specifically for growing. Begin with a well lit, climate controlled room. Build it the same as if growing with any method. Next add the grow system. This will consist of a root chamber, pump, misting nozzles or spray manifold, trellis and of course - nutrients! 

Choose your favorite brand of nutrients, just as you would with hydroponics, but remember that aeroponics can uptake more nutrients when roots are really thriving. In this case, be sure not to burn plants by starting at ½ or ¾ strength. Maintain cool water temps, which prevents problems with pathogens and disease. Generally keeping ambient room air temps below 75 will suffice. Target a humidity range of 35%-55%. Place aeroponic pumps on a timer to allow a well aerated, humid environment for the roots. Common aeroponic timer settings are on for about ¼-⅓ of the time they are off, for example, 1 min on, 3- 4 min off or 5 min on, 15-20 min off. These settings can be adjusted as desired, depending on other factors such as humidity or stage of growth. 

The equipment for growing aeroponically is the same as any hydroponics room, except the plants are held in place on a lid by a net pot, as the roots are allowed to dangel and grow freely in a humidity controlled root chamber. A trellis supporting the plants from above will also help to allow for large growth and heavier fruits. A quick internet search will yield many DIY aeroponics plans and projects available for studying. Don’t get overwhelmed with the more intense projects. Although fun for some, if that’s not your thing, start with a basic setup. Rely on the equipment mentioned above, available from your favorite grow shop, and just get going! Give your plants what they need and they will thank you.

 

Troubleshooting

If aeroponic plants begin to slow their growth and vigor, this is the first sign of the need to pay closer attention. Start with the environment first. What are the temperature and humidity levels? What is the pH level of the water? Depending on the type of plants being grown, pH levels should be maintained in a range between 5.7 and 6.5. Remember that with aeroponics, there is no soil or other grow medium to act as a buffer. While adjusting, most growers target a pH of about 6.0. Again, check the needs of your specific crop. Are the above parameters providing the plants with the environment they need to grow? Usually, one of these can easily be adjusted to correct most crop problems. 

As with any style of growing, be on the lookout for common garden issues, and especially keep a close eye on the roots. They need to be healthy and thriving at all times in order to maximize benefits offered from aeroponics. Roots beginning to rot will brown and develop a slime coating, with the leaves quickly losing their vigor. 

Discoloration can also when using certain nutrients that have a tint to their color, such as humic or fulvic acids and organically mixed nutrients. For this reason, coloration is not as important of a factor as general plant health and vigor. This can be seen by observing the ends of the roots to verify that they are healthy and growing new tips that are able to easily uptake water and nutrients. General environmental control equipment will usually prevent these types of problems. 

 

Conclusion

Remember to clean your system thoroughly after each crop to prevent gunked up equipment. This can be easily accomplished with little effort by continuing to run the system after harvest. Instead of nutrients and cool water, use warm water with a little cleaning solution such as H202. Doing so prevents the cakeup of old nutrients, which later break off into tiny pieces that clog your equipment up when you need it most, right as the next crop is starting to thrive. Prevent headaches with little effort by planning ahead and using these simple cleaning steps.

Remember when starting aeroponics to have fun with it! Just get a kit, system or parts and follow the steps laid out in this article. The rest is not much different than hydroponics or other styles of growing. Aeroponics works great from seed or clone to harvest! Just follow these steps to get growing today.

Happy gardening!