Getting the right mix of conditions for optimum growing success is crucial for commercial horticulturists growing food crops for sale.
Plants and most other entities on the planet, including humans, need the scientifically proven combination of air, warmth, light and water. Getting the combination wrong, even by a small margin, can result in poor or even no yield, which is why some are turning to gelponics technology to help them get better crops.
Here we will discuss each component that impacts plant growth and explain why they are necessary.
The most vital requirement for crop production is water, without which plants will wither and die. Water plays a crucial part in photosynthesis, along with sunlight and carbon dioxide. The moisture from the air and the soil or growing medium is converted into oxygen and helps the plant to make nutrients. Too little or too much water can hinder or even halt the growth of plants.
From the germination of a seed through the growth stages and up to maturity, a plant requires particular temperature ranges to succeed. Fruiting plants, in particular, must have warmth to enable fruits to form and mature. Too little heat can stunt growth and inhibit fruiting; conversely, too much warmth can adversely affect some plants as the process of photosynthesis becomes unbalanced. Plant leaves can become scorched, and fruit production starts to drop. Different plants need different temperature ranges according to where they are acclimatised can make growing certain crops difficult in some parts of the world.
Plants take in carbon dioxide mainly through their leaves as part of the photosynthesis process, so plants, just like humans, need clean, fresh and unpolluted air to perform at their best. Smoke, gases and other airborne pollutants can hinder growth at every stage.
Light and, in particular, natural sunlight are crucial for photosynthesis and the growth and maturation of plants and fruits, with most crops needing around a minimum of 3 to 6 hours of light per day. Plants will always search out the available light, and any plant deprived of adequate light will grow tall and spindly in the quest for light. If not enough light is available, the plant will weaken, be unproductive, and die off. This is why commercial growers will need to use artificial horticultural growing lights if no natural outdoor light or any access to sunlight, for example, through a bright window, is available.
For plants to thrive and reach total production, they need three essential nutrients, and these are:
- Nitrogen enables above-ground optimum growth and is involved in giving foliage its natural green colour.
- Phosphorus is vital in developing a healthy root system, enabling flower seed production and helping in the division of plant cells.
- Potassium helps to resist disease and enables the growth of strong stems. It plays an integral part in the biochemical processes of plants. Potassium deficiency shows itself in stunted growth, chlorosis of foliage and reduced resistance to changes in temperature.
It is clear then that the successful growth of plants is an exact science requiring perfect conditions for all types of plants. Traditionally, commercial growers have been at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather, an issue which is all the more pertinent with advancing climate change.
Many growers are turning to Gelponics technology, a range of hydrogel formulations which can significantly assist in maximising plant growth under regulated conditions. This can help improve results for a wide range of growers.
Read more: The 5 Most Dependable Plants For Your Garden