Whether producing plants in an urban garden or a commercial greenhouse environment, it is easy to forget just how vital the correct plant growth substrates can be. They are an essential tool that can help promote the best development of whatever plant you are growing, whether for commercial use, decorative purposes or even human consumption.
Gelponics are an eco-friendly growth substrate that is an ideal choice of growing media for your plants. Growing media is a term given to the mix of components that provide everything your plants will need to grow well: air, nutrients, water and support. They are simply the medium you place in a container to help a plant grow.
What can the right plant growth substrate do?
Choosing the right plant growth substrate is essential to ensure that you are providing your plants with the best physical support, access to water, and aeration and by adding the most appropriate fertiliser the correct mineral nutrients. These essential factors can help your plants grow strong and healthy.
The water-holding capacity of any growing media you choose, and the air porosity is essential. These things give the root system of your plant the space it needs to “breathe” and grow. Oxygen and water are, of course, essential for healthy roots. Good drainage is also essential, as any excess moisture can prevent oxygen from reaching your plant’s roots. When this happens, you can end up with root rot.
Generally, the soil type in most fields will differ from the type most suited to vertical farming (growing plants in containers). This soil type will not offer the drainage, aeration and capacity to hold the water needed for healthy, happy plants.
What types of growing media are there?
There is a range of different growing mediums, the most common being:
- Rockwool – made from molten rock spun into fibre, a lightweight hydroponic material. It is not biodegradable and, when cut, hazardous to humans.
- Peat – partially decomposed plant material found in places like moors with waterlogged conditions. Peat damages the environment, and its sale is set to be banned in the UK.
- Coir – made from the pith that is found between the fibres of coconut, this is a peat-like substance. It cannot be used independently due to its high-water retention properties.
Choosing a proper growing medium to provide your plants with a growing environment is vital. If you are working in a commercial setting, picking a growing medium is essential to help you achieve a uniform product in both looks and quality.
A medium that is organic in its origin is made up of organic materials like peat, compost, coir or other organic materials and mixed with ingredients that are inorganic in nature is one that will promote better health in your roots.
Gelponics is a growing medium that has developed a nitrogen and carbon-rich hydrogel product. It has properties that allow it to improve the moisture-holding capacities of a plant whilst stabilising the moisture to ensure a better yield. It can also assist in the increase of nitrogen and carbon in the soil. It is also an eco-friendly and renewable material meaning it is a sustainable alternative.