Growing food plants hydroponically relies on chemical inputs to feed and protect the plants as they grow. Biotechnica produces biological and biostimulant inputs that help to move the process closer to nature.
Nutrients and Availability
Using a stock solution of nutrients based on N: P: K will enable a plant to grow and will provide a food source with only basic nutrient value. In healthy soils plants take up a whole spectrum of minor nutrients as well as these macro elements.
Seaweed extracts provide a whole spectrum of micronutrients which will help protect against disease and most importantly will improve the plant’s nutrient content as well as its colour and flavour.
Nutrient uptake occurs through the roots of a plant, so well developed root systems are vital. In the soil mycorrhizae (naturally occurring fungi) live in and around a plant’s roots and make a very significant contribution to nutrient uptake. Also present in the soil are organic molecules that absorb and balance nutrients supplying them to the plant as required. These humates directly influence root growth and maturity.
Plants grown in relatively sterile hydroponic systems are somewhat protected against diseases. However pathogen introductions occur via the water supply, through ventilation or on the clothes and footwear of people coming into the glasshouse.
The presence of beneficial protective microbes specifically introduced to protect the roots and foliage of plants is already widely used by seedling growers and can be introduced into the substrate for hydroponic production and also sprayed regularly on foliage as the plants grow and mature. The beneficial microbes out-compete potential pathogens and prevent their establishment and proliferation.
Bio - Boosters
A plant’s energy will vary according to its growth curve and its climatic conditions. The driver for energy conversion is phosphorous and at times plants may need an extra supply of this nutrient, over and above that provided by the stock solution. Phosphites are soluble foliar feeds that can be used at times of high crop demand.
Plant cell walls contain silicon to give them rigidity. This affects the plant’s ability to prevent fruit drop and splitting. Stock solutions often do not contain available silicate and the application of a foliar silicate can significantly improve the plant’s ability to photosynthesise and to yield produce with good stability and shelf life.
Biotechnica products that can be used in hydroponics include:
Mycortex™ - Root extensions to acquire more nutrients
A granular mix of mycorrhiza, humates and beneficial microbes. Added to growing mixes at 2-3 kg/m3.
BactoLife™ DP104 - Soil & foliar probiotic inoculants
A soluble powder used to drench growing mixes and also to produce foliar sprays. Biotechnica distributors can provide mixing details.
AlgaFlex™ - Concentrated seaweed extract (30%)
Ultra high performance seaweed extract. Added to nutrient solution at 1:2000 ratios to provide micronutrients and growth stimulants.
BioHumate™ - Increases cation exchange capacity & soil organic matter fast
Soluble humates used to balance nutrients uptake. Added to nutrient solutions at 1:5000 ratio.
BioSilicate™ – Bio-available silica source for plants
Soluble silica foliar applied to promote photosynthesis, reduce fruit drop and spitting and help to sap sucking insects. Use a 0.05% solution every 7-10 days