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6. Hydroponics

Our crops revolve around a hydroponic growing system (or hydro-culture), in which cultivation takes place outside of the soil. The earth is replaced by an inert substrate (expanded clay, perlite, vermiculite, coconut ber, mineral wool, zeolite, etc.). The plant is irrigated with a nutrient solution consisting of water and compounds necessary to provide all the necessary elements for normal mineral nutrition. Hydroponics allows you to control production from both a qualitative and hygienic point of view throughout the year.

The role of the soil in relation to plants is mainly reduced to three functions:
• Physical and mechanical: the soil allows you to x the plants, protecting the root system from atmospheric agents that can aect its viability (atmospheric humidity, lighting, insolation).
• Trophic: the soil is the physical environment that naturally provides the plant with almost all the mineral elements it needs by being absorbed by the roots. Only carbon and oxygen are absorbed by the carbon dioxide feed, taking carbon dioxide from the air through the stomatal openings of the leaves.
• Ecological: the rhizosphere is a part of the soil biocenosis that has a more or less direct connection with the root system of the plant. These relationships are the result of a complex system of antagonisms and synergies. Among the antagonisms, we mention interactions with phytophagous, parasites, phytopathogens, agents of allelopathies, or, more simply, competition with other plants occupying the same ecological niche. Among the synergies, we mention interactions with mutualistic symbionts and with stimulants.


Conventional tillage techniques can only partially optimize soil functions:
• Working and adding soil improvers can increase the softness of the soil, contributing to the deepeningmof the roots.
• The addition of fertilizers (fertilizers, soil improvers, corrective agents) and irrigation are operationsmthat, adequately integrated into a methodology that uses synergy, improve the trophic conditionsmof the soil.
• Traditional cultivation techniques have a signicant impact on the telluric ecosystem, transforming it into an agroecosystem. Natural soil goes back to the culminating stage, when biodiversity is able to maintain internal balance and guarantee the natural depletion of the ow of matter and energy.

Advantages over traditional cultivation

Groundless cultivation has obvious advantages in ecological situations where the substrate is not able to optimally grow the crop, and less use of water to produce the same result, by about one-tenth compared to tillage, making this system particularly useful in cases where environmental situations where water scarcity makes cultivation dicult or even impossible.

The ecological aspect should not be underestimated, since fertilizers are used purposefully, andthere is no dispersion in the soil; the use of herbicides is absent, and the use of pesticides is significantly reduced.

Currently, organic fertilizers are available on the market, which make it possible to obtain an organic product using a hydroponic system. In terms of quality, the product demonstrates uniformity of size and characteristics, as well as consistent organoleptic qualities throughout production,qualities necessary for an organized distribution among fruit and vegetable producers.