Aeroponics is a misted root system of growing plants. The most important factor in plant growth is the size and health of the root system
The most important factor in root growth is the amount of Oxygen that is available for the roots to take up. Misting the roots provides the ultimate in root Oxygen supply.
In an aeroponic system the roots are continuously sprayed with an extremely fine mist of nutrient. This ensures that the roots are in an oxygen rich environment, with nutrient present at all times.
Because the nutrient is misted it is able to absorb about 20% Oxygen instead of the 1% it would absorb as a straight liquid nutrient mix.
Research done in holland in the early 1990s noted that plant roots absorbed only about 0.2% of their Oxygen out of the dissolved Oxygen in the nutrient. The remaining 99.8%
came from the substrate that the plant was standing in. This is the essence of Aeroponics because the plant roots are in effect standing in air and just being misted to keep them moist.
One of the benefits of growing in this way is that the plants have a better dried weight to fresh weight ratio. Hydroponically grown plants have a very high fresh weight because of the water availability but when dried out they weigh almost the same as soil grown plants. The plants grown with misted roots should not develop a large bulk in water weight.
The art in Aeroponics is to maximise the air available and keep the water and nutrient to a minimum sufficient for the growth and wellbeing of the plant. This is achieved by judicious use of the on/off timing of the nutrient spray. A little experimenting with the adjustment of this control will pay dividends.
More information is available in a excellent article from Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses Issue 5 entitled
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