Aeroponics is one of the newest developments for the indoor gardener. Aeroponics is where you are growing plants in little or no medium, the roots simply hang in an open space. The feeding is done via misters that mist nutrient solution onto the root mass, the finer the mist the better absorption.
This all takes place on a timed schedule, the reason for this is you want the roots to have time to partially dry out between watering’s this basically makes the plants hungry and they take up the nutrient solution much faster.
Plants grown in aeroponics tend to have a greater dry weight as they are not constantly in water, meaning basil grown aeroponicly will weigh more when dry than the same plant grown in hydroponics.
Aeroponic Roots Systems
Plants the are grown in aeroponics have slightly different root systems than most other systems. Aeroponic root systems have fewer “tap” root and more of the finer “hair” roots these tiny hair roots are the ones that absorb most of the nutrients. Furthermore Aeroponic root systems are huge allowing the plant much greater access to the available nutrients.
When picking an aeroponic system there are a few key things to keep in mind.
In my experience Aeroponic tube systems tend to be problematic, the typical tube system is built out of 6″ PVC pipe as you can imagine there is not allot of room for root mass, the inside of the pipes tend to be quite hot leading inevitably to root rot and crop failure.
There is also no real way for the grower to inspect their root systems after a short time the root systems tend to get to big to fit through the standard 3.5″ net pot, hole
The next thing to keep in mind is the number of plants you want to have in your aeroponic system, for smaller plants like herbs i.e. basil, thyme, rosemary etc you might well want to place a greater number of plants in a given space.
For larger plants that are producing i.e. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers etc I would suggest fewer plants say 12 to 16 in a 4X8′ space this allows the plants to receive more light which will translate to greater production as well as make your life easer when it comes to the constant pruning.
I have had great success with Aeroponic table systems, these systems are built on the standard horticulture grade flood tables and have a plastic top that raises up off the table. The raised top allows approximately 5 to 6 inches of space inside the table for root development. One of the nicest features of these tables is the accessibility of the root system, the tops of these tables may be lifted up for easy inspection and diagnosis. The tables tend to take up more space than a pipe system, but yield is directly related to the amount of light you have in a given space not the number of plants.
*More light with Less plants = Less work More Yield*