Quintessential traditional farming involves soil filled in pots, grow bags or planting the trees directly in the ground. However, ever wonder how today a farmer can grow crops without using soil altogether?
Aeroponic farming is a soilless farming technique that grows more crops faster with limited use of water and other resources. It is similar to hydroponic farming. Even tubers like potatoes, which are grown under the soil, can be cultivated using this method. A potato technology centre located in the Karnal district of Haryana is paving the way forward with soilless farming.
The farm gets a good harvest through aeroponic potato farming and thus, the Agriculture Department has decided to make farmers aware of this technique in other states too.
There are multiple advantages of practising aeroponic farming. It not only overcomes the issue of land shortage but also increases the yield up to 10 times. It utilises less amount of water and nutrients, which again reduces the farming cost.
Agriculture expert Anil Thadani says, “In aeroponic potato farming technology, nutrients are provided to the plant through hanging roots. The Institute of Agriculture is also able to collect healthy ‘seed potatoes’ by employing this method.”
Aeroponic v/s Hydroponic
Both aeroponic and hydroponic farming techniques have become popular in recent years. Even though they share a similarity of not involving soil, the way nutrients are delivered to the crops are different.
In hydroponics, the plants are always kept in water, to which nutrients are supplied. Whereas, in aeroponic farming, nutrients are provided by spraying water.
Anil says, “The potato plant is grown in a closed environment with the plant facing upwards and the roots below. Water fountains are installed at the bottom, to which nutrients are mixed and transported to the roots. In short, the plant gets sunlight from above and nutrients from below similar to that on land.”
He opines that the technology is amazing in terms of production, but the initial setup involves many expenses.
If you are experienced in gardening, aeroponic potato farming can be easily done at home. Here are a few tips by the expert:
- First of all, it requires a polyhouse covering a small space as the farming is done vertically.
- Install an aeroponic farming system with the help of those experienced in the field or make one of your own under their guidance.
- Plant healthy potato seeds in foam stuffed tiny pots and hang them in a position where they receive sunlight.
- In a few days, the roots will show. Make sure it touches the water below it.
- At definite intervals, mix nutrients in the water.
- The first harvest can be made in 70-80 days.
Read this story in Hindi here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao