We will dedicate this article to hydroponic cultivation with rock wool or coconut fiber and the importance of controlling it by sensors of moisture Plantae.

Hydroponic crops are growing in many countries, mainly in hot climates with many sunny days and especially if the terrain is not adequate.

The map below shows approximately those with the most hydroponic greenhouses in the world. In Spain abound in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Murcia. Especially in the province of Almería.

The crops that best adapt to hydroponic greenhouses are:

  • Tomatoes.
  • Peppers.
  • Zucchini
  • Melons and watermelons.
  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries and red fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
  • Green beans.
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbages and cauliflower.
  • Broccoli.
  • Peas beans and tirabeques.
  • Cilandro, parsley and other aromatic herbs.
  • I eat the banana tree.
  • Ornamental flowers

What is a hydroponic culture with rock wool?

Hydroponic comes from the Greek words hydros (water) and ponos (cultivation). In other words, we do not use land, but it is convenient that the roots of the plant take root in some way and at this point the rock wool .

Cultivo hidropónico con lana de roca

Macetas de lana de roca para cultivo hidropónicoRock wool cubes prepared for planting or planting must be at least 24 hours submerged in water and with a controlled pH.

Once the plant is rooted, it is ready to be inserted into the rock wool support, which in turn is arranged in trays. In the pot we can place the sensor that will transmit the humidity and temperature information.Esquema de cultivo hidropónico con lana de roca

Hydroponic scheme with rock wool

Coconut fiber for hydroponic cultivation

Coconut fiber can also be used and the difference is in the pH control.

Coconut fiber comes from the crushed shredded coconut nut. The plant is easily rooted because the fiber is quite porous, in addition to having the property of retaining water and organic substances that are well supplied.

It can be used in several crop cycles because it is quite resistant.

 

Fibra de coco
Coconut fiber

Greenhouse Preparation

  • We isolate all the ground perfectly smoothed with a plastic, preferably white because it gives more light.
  • We close the greenhouse ensuring that no insects enter. It is good to put yellow ribbons with insecticide that catches those that can be cast in the installation.
  • The greenhouse must have a good ventilation system.
  • Properly protect the rock wool panels and make the holes conveniently to introduce the plant or the pot.
  • Place sensors that measure temperature, humidity, luminosity and pH.
  • Install a drip irrigation system that at the same time feeds the plant with the necessary nutrients.
  • If the amount of irrigation is not controlled, it leads to the need to incorporate a reuse system for excess water. Otherwise this excess water is very polluting because of the nutrients it carries.

Different ways to put the hydroponic crop

cultivos hidropónicos en vertical y en suelo acolchado

cultivo hidropónico de cilandro y tomateras
Pepper panels placed on raised trays

Advantages of hydroponic cultivation with rock wool or coconut fiber

Rock wool pots embedded in rock wool panels also offer many advantages:

  • Total control of the water needed by the plant and nutrients, avoiding water stress of the plant. Rock wool retains moisture very well and should not exceed 80%. This humidity can be controlled with Plantae sensors that send information in real time. The same goes for coconut fiber.
  • It allows the measurement of pH, salinity, luminosity, temperature and oxygen. The more controlled everything is better for the quantity and quality of production. Conductivity sensors to control salinity give us real-time information. The same temperature sensors.
  • Weeds do not grow.
  • Absence of pests and diseases if there is an exhaustive control of the humidity and temperature factors that we can do with the Plantae sensors. Ponding can cause root damage that deteriorates the plant.
  • Sterilization of facilities is very easy, usually with steam.
  • The quality and quantity of the crops is much higher.
  • It saves water and energy.
  • Several crops can be made per year if the weather permits or the greenhouse is properly conditioned with temperature.
  • The products obtained are much cleaner.
  • Cultivation can be carried out anywhere: terrains of all kinds, terraces, rocky lands, deserts.
  • In rock wool and coconut fiber, the sensor readings are every 2 minutes since they are micro-irrigated.
Sensores en cultivo hidropónico de lana de roca
Sensors in tomato cultivation in Portugal with hydroponic rock wool
Sensores en cultivo hidropónico de lana de roca
Sensors in coconut fiber hydroponic culture

Disadvantages

  • Initial investment quite high.
  • It requires adequate training to handle the constants mentioned above.
  • Significant production damage if there is a system failure and it is not controlled in a short period.
  • Ways to recycle rock wool should be sought once it is undone. In some countries it is reused for insulation in construction.
Sensores de temperatura en cultivo hidropónico de lana de roca en fresas
Temperature and humidity sensors in hydroponic cultivation of rock wool with strawberries

Plantae after testing and testing with this type of crop throughout the summer, installed in Portugal sensors with subsoil temperature in strawberries and tomatoes. The precision wireless technology and the monitoring of parameters controls the humidity of the crop in real time and adapts to the micro-risks that must be carried out in this type of crops.

Cultivo hidropónico de fresas
Hydroponic strawberry cultivation