Hydroponics: stone (basalt) wool application
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a modern method of growing various plants, when the root system is not in the soil, but in a humid air environment. Typically, a substrate is used in this case. It is made of porous and chemically neutral material which allows the roots to “breathe” and, at the same time, makes it possible to saturate it with necessary amount of minerals to facilitate active growth. Fibrous structure of stone wool, which contains up to 18% of air, is the most suitable for this purpose.
It is not surprising anymore to use basalt wool as an insulation material. Indeed, thanks to excellent insulating and operational characteristics, this material is actively used almost in all construction sectors. However, the exceptional properties of stone wool, which are ascribed to the properties of basalt fiber, enabled its usage in one more sphere that is hydroponics.
Basalt wool application in hydroponics
Recent studies have shown that stone wool perfectly fits almost all modern methods of plants hydroponic growing. Seeds are sprouted in it, as well as seedlings and plants are grown. Moreover, its usage is not only productive but also makes soilless cultivation economically beneficial.
Stone wool as a hydroponic substrate was used for the first time in Denmark in 1969. And by the mid-90’s many advanced farms around the world had almost completely switched over to growing garden crops of small amounts in mineral wool substrates.
Despite the fact that methods have dramatically changed over the years, this material still has not lost its topicality. It should be pointed out that the use of basalt wool in hydroponics enabled the aeration of under the root layers, progressive drip irrigation and many other innovative solutions.
Today, gardeners are offered a huge amount of stone wool products of various shapes (cubes, plugs, mats, blocks, etc.) that can be used at home and in large farms. The best thing is that the same basalt wool substrate may be used for growing plants more than once. After washing and disinfection (UV treatment), this material does not lose its operating properties. Therefore, at the time of planting new plants mineral base is completely ready.
This is not the only advantage of basalt wool substrate.
Advantages of basalt wool substrate
- Since basalt wool fibers are resilient, mineral wool substrate allows roots to breathe, evolve and get all the necessary nutrients from the feed solution;
- Mineral base provides the best air-water balance of the root system of plants;
- Seeds sprouting in the mineral wool substrate is much faster and more efficient than in other types of substrate;
- Almost all plants, except for root crops, can be grown in the mineral wool substrate;
- Basalt wool is biologically stable, so no fungi appear on it, which means that plants will not have root rot or other diseases.
Remarkable results of using basalt wool as a substrate in hydroponics once again prove that stone wool insulation material is environmentally friendly and it is harmless to human health or environment.