Saturday, 5 July 2014

Literature Review [Chelsea]

Which method is better for the growth of plants - Hydroponics or natural environment? Why?

BBC (n.d.) investigated what hydroponics is. According to them, it is a form of growing crops in glasshouses where soil is replaced by a mineral solution pumped around the plant roots. Without soil, there is no risk for any disease by soil organisms but the plants have to be supported. Growth can be controlled by making changes to the concentration of minerals in the solution. Food products are grown there to increase productivity, for example growing tomatoes in glasshouses. An advantage of this artificial environment is that the growing conditions are observable and is within control to improve productivity. Furthermore, it allows crops to be grown where there is no soil. Hydroponics is a costly method of growing plants, so it is only used for high-value crops.

ncagr (n.d.) investigated what mineral nutrients were required for plants to grow. The primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They usually are lacking from the soil first as plants use large amounts of them to grow and survive. The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. There are usually enough of these in the soil. Lastly, there are the micronutrients, which are only needed in very small quantities, but essential for plant growth. They are boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 
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