The use of the parameters of the pH and TDS from Table 1, the researchers obtained better results in all hydroponics techniques especially in DFT method. The yield was satisfactory in all techniques proved to be promising and resulted to be fruitful in the study (Maurya et al., 2017).
The results and findings of the study are reported in Table 1.
Effect of high TDS water on plants growth
Table 1: Growth of Plants in Kratky from July 2020 to March 2021 with variation of temperature from 10ºC to 36ºC.
The suitability of water had been studied using four types of water-rain, ground water with high TDS, Distilled water and ground water with TDS less than 250 ppm. The best results were obtained in distilled water and low value of TDS to make nutrient solutions for plants. The pH level and TDS were maintained by adjusting the quantity of nutrients to make the solutions. The growth of plants was greatly affected in high value TDS of nutrient solution at different stages (Hakim, 2019)
. Therefore, use of high TDS water to make nutrient solution and feed to the plants, the plants almost dead.
The following points were discussed during the study:
An extended growing season
The working person attains an extended growing season due to controlled environment. These vegetables and plants can be grown hydroponically under controlled conditions of temperature, light and nutrition supply, obtained best results of different vegetables throughout a year.
Higher plant density
The hydroponic systems to deliver more nutrient charged solution to the roots of the plants. Therefore, the plants can be grown faster with competing for root space.
Plants can grow anywhere
It is easily incorporated in outdoor as well as indoor because it can be possible on the roof of houses, verandahs, balconies and free space available at home/office or anywhere.
Less water consumption in the hydroponics systems
More than 80 to 90% water saved when using hydroponics agriculture farming. Therefore, it helps in water conservation.
Use of low TDS drinking water, distilled water and rainwater
These type of water qualities have great effect on the growth of plants hydroponically. Because water is the primary carrier of nutrients, it is critical that it be free of pollutants. Plants may suffer from stunted growth, nutrient deficits, bacterial contamination and other issues as a result of poor water quality. Unfortunately, drinking water, distilled water and rainwater are frequently treated with chemicals to make it safe for human use.
Use of waste plastic bottles and containers
In Kratky and wick systems, we can use waste plastic bottles and containers.
No use of pesticides
Absolutely, it is a great technique to try growing plants at minimum vacant space of the home/verandahs/anywhere hydroponically. Just remember, to observe the nutrition management according to the growth of the plants like pH and TDS of the nutrition solution, temperature etc
. Therefore, requires constant monitoring and nutrition management, maintenance of the growing environment, vigilant about pH and TDS and refill the nutrition solution in pipes or containers after a regular interval of time. In the view of the demand of more consumers, the selection of hydroponic techniques to grow healthy and nutritious plants and get safe food from hydroponic plant is increased day by day because it is free from pesticide residues.
Hydroponic farms provide a way to a more sustainable food ethic that focuses the health of our food, bodies and environment while limiting the use of dangerous chemicals. Hydroponic farming is far from a pipe dream; it is currently being actively integrated into present food networks. Hydroponic farming had not yet been established at the time of the revolution. Only 20 years later, the industry has gained traction and is already influencing agricultural methods and the future of our food industry.
Suggestions and challenges
1. Flowing solution culture systems can provide a consistent nutrient environment for roots (Viljoen et al., 2021).
2. Rapid plant desiccation happens if the flow of the solution stops or the efficiency of the solution is affected for any reason. Thus, frequent attention is required.
3. Controlled temperature, TDS and pH range of the nutrient solutions need to be maintained. In this technique, the right temperature range, PH and proper TDS with growth must lie up to ~30°C. After 30°C, many plants did not grow and got damaged, but some vegetables and plants like capsicum, tomato, daisy, marigold grew at more than 30°C temperature (Meric et al., 2011).
4. The plants grown through hydroponics are eco-friendly because no waste product was produced.
5. Only plants and vegetables grew no extra weeds were grown, hence, no use of pesticide was observed. If any species of insect is grown, an organic compound pesticide was used. But in traditional farming more weeds grow with the crops and more use of pesticides and insecticides is inevitable (Muda et al., 2020).
6. This technique is very helpful in water conservation because the same quantity of water is recycled for the crops and vegetables i.e.
Water conservation. Hence, keeping in view the future, hydroponics will be the biggest necessity.
7. This technique can use waste plastic bottles, tubs, glass and glass pots so that it helps in green chemistry (Sharma et al
8. Initially, the cost is involved to set up, however, once launched only the cost of seeds or nutrients for the plants will be a recurring cost.
9. It demands technical expertise; hence competency can be enhanced through training only.
10. The water will be changed after 20-25 days otherwise the growth of microorganisms and algae would affect the growth and production of the crops (Sardare and Admane, 2013)
Challenges related to temperature, nutrient flow in setup, High intensity of sunlight and rain were faced in Kratky and Wick method (Suryaningprang et al., 2021).
The experiments proved to be successful in all techniques. Mustard plant and other plants (Tomatoes, Ladyfinger, basil, peas, Cauliflower, broccoli, paper mint, spinach, cucumber and marigold) were grown successfully by all techniques. So when these initial costs are met, more challenges must be solved in order to make sure a profitable and secure hydroponic farm.
There are some challenges (Raviv et al., 1998)
for adopting hydroponic as an advanced agricultural technique due to the following reasons:
a) Less interest of farmers because of the uncertainty of yield (Sisodia et al., 2020).
b) It demands a high initial cost, but once a setup builds up, no more infrastructure is required, only demand of nutrient solution will be required.
c) Initial training is compulsory for setting up an infrastructure and must feel the experience of hydroponic growing crops (Suryaningprang et al., 2021).
d) The crops grown by hydroponics methods should be considered organics if follow the USDA guidelines.
Disadvantages of hydroponics
Hydroponics has some disadvantages also. Technical training at the initial stage is very compulsory. The high-cost setup requires a skilled and trained farmer with great care of plant health control and then only a high yield can be obtained. Otherwise, the hydroponics system fails. Finally, courage, moderation and determination inputs are necessary to run the system (Khan, 2018)
, (Sisodia et al., 2020), (Sayara et al., 2016), (Cifuentes Torres et al., 2021).
Advantages of water culture
There are many advantages of growing plants in water culture over traditional soil-based culture (Raviv et al., 1998).
Hydroponics farming produces the healthiest crops with more yields over traditional soil-based culture. These are considered reliable because this farming is safe for the environment and wants 3-5 hours in a day for the work, so it is very easy farming with very little effort (Silberbush and Ben-Asher, 2001)
. The nutrients are supplied through the roots of the plants as a result plants grow faster than traditional farming. Water should be changed only with the supply of nutrient solution, no more water be used again and again like traditional farming. It can be started from a small area and then exceed in scale. It requires a small area as compared to traditional soil-based farming (Silberbush and Ben-Asher, 2001)
. It is also very effective for the regions of the World that has a range of human and climatic factors including degradation, climate change, soil constraints, urban encroachment and unequal land distribution and low water level, high pH value of soil or fertile land for agriculture (Cifuentes Torres et al., 2021), (Asao, 2012)
Several studies of hydroponics suggested that it is the best agriculture technique for crops and vegetable production as well as fit into environmental scenarios (Sharma et al., 2018), (Pandey et al., 2009), (Upadhyay et al., 2019).
In 2007, Euro fresh farmers grew more than 200 million pounds of tomatoes by hydroponics system (Allaby et al., 2020).
In India, Hydroponics was introduced in the year 1946 by an English scientist, W.J. Shalto Duglas and he established a laboratory in the Kalimpong area, West Bengal. He collated his work in the form of a book named ‘Hydroponics: The Bengal System’. During the 1980s, many automated and computerized hydroponics farms were established around the world. Home hydroponics kits for the kitchen and yard became very popular during the 1990s. As in 2017, the Government of Canada acquired a land on large scale for hydroponic greenhouses system and producing peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers (Upadhyay et al., 2019), (Meric et al., 2011).
Due to a decrease in land proportion with the increase in population, the food security and management system requires new ways and means of production (Pandey et al., 2009) (Yeole, 2016) (Sharma et al., 2018).
Therefore, this technique will be highly helpful in the future. Especially, in a country like India, where the urban and industrial sector is growing each day, there is no option but to adopt a water culture to help improve the yield and quality of the product so that the food security of the country can be ensured (Khan, 2018) (Cifuentes Torres et al., 2021).
The establishment of the new market for hydroponics crops and vegetables in India is a great challenge as the market demand is driven by traditional or terrestrial farming (Cifuentes Torres et al., 2021) (Muda et al., 2020).
Therefore, the main aim of the researchers is to be spread the knowledge and its scientific attitude of different agricultural techniques such as hydroponics methods, which will be very helpful in solving the food scarcity (Tom et al., 2021)
in our country and also helpful in water conservation in an eco-friendly way.