We are living in amazing times where there is an app for anything and a myriad of options to choose from, so if the thought of getting your hands dirty has kept you away from Agriculture, you will find these modern farming methods amazingly refreshing.
Without further ado, here are three modern farming methods that are changing the way we practice agriculture.
What if we told you that plants could be grown while suspended in air? Seems farfetched, but that is exactly what aeroponics farming is about. Aeroponics doesn’t require a growing medium unlike geoponics, which involves growing plants in normal soil.
Here is a simple breakdown of the Aeroponics Process
Aeroponic system, Image courtesy of Idea Foundry
Plants grown aeroponically are suspended in a reservoir or apparatus that can support the plant but there is minimal contact between the device and the plant which makes this 100% grown in air. The plants dangling root can then be sprayed with a nutrient-rich solution.
Nearly any plant can be grown using the aeroponics process, however, herbs like ginger and vegetables like lettuce, basil, and tomatoes have been especially successful using this process.
Some of the benefits of using the aeroponics system include:
- Ease of working with your plants
- Cost effective since you won’t have to spend money on irrigation channels
- Aids disease-free cultivation as plant-to-plant contact is limited and if a plant does become infected, it can be easily removed from the support structure without disrupting the other plants.
So, fancy yourself a little garden? Try the home aeroponics system as it’s a suitable method for growing plants indoor; though the aeroponics system is a great way to avoid disease-free cultivation, it is important you keep your farming accessories like sprinklers, pipes thoroughly clean to avoid fungal growth
The hydroponics method of farming is a soil-less type of farming because it requires no soil for the plants to grow. Instead, it uses water as its growing medium.
Image source: https://www.citycrop.io/tag/hydroponics/
For this type of planting to be successful, three things are required:
Light: without light, plants will not be able to produce the energy it needs to grow through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy which can be later released to fuel the energy needed by plants. Light is therefore essential to the growth of the plant. A typical hydroponics system setup will come with its own grow light (lamp) since it may not have access to direct sunlight.
Water: This is the growth medium and this is where you also apply the nutrient-solution that the plant needs to grow. Asides some other micro-nutrients, the main requirements of the nutrient solution is Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).
Nitrogen (N) – is a significant component in amino-acids, the basis of protein and also aids in the compounds that aid storage and use of energy.
Phosphorus (P) – encourages root growth, contributes to structural strength and crop quality.
Potassium (K) – contributes to crop quality, shape, size, colour, and yield.
Also to get the correct proportions of this mix, the PH level (test for acidity/alkalinity) and Electrical conductivity (test of the strength of the nutrient solution) needs to be carried out on a regular basis.
Air: Since plants need carbon dioxide (CO2) present in air to convert the energy it gets from sunlight into sugar and water (the photosynthesis process), air is also an essential component in the hydroponics system and is provided by the fan and filter system.
The different types of hydroponics system include:
- Wicks system
- Water Culture
- Ebb and Flow system
- Drip system
- N.F.T system: which is the most common type of the hydroponics system
Hybrid Seed Technology
The hybrid seed technology is an interesting method of farming that involves the cross-pollination of two different, but related plants to produce new plants with desirable traits.
Hybridization has led to crops like grapefruits, sweet corn, seedless watermelons, cantaloupes as well as tangelos. You can click here to learn more about the hybridization process.
This list will be updated as we discover more modern farming methods but these different farming methods get us excited about the future of agriculture and agricultural technology!