In this video Dr. Santos talks about SNAP Hydroponics. A transcription in English follows.
Hydroponics from the Greek word “hydro” or water and “phonos” that means labor. It is a system of growing plants that uses mineral nutrient solution in water and without soil.
We grow plants in hydroponics in order to avoid using soil. Because, there could be issues with your soil. If your land is flood prone or you don’t own land around your area where you can grow plants, you resort to hydroponics.
That means, instead of soil, you grow plants using for example, coconut coir dust, sand or gravel or a mixture of them. And you grow plants on them. However, the problem is, they are almost devoid of nutrients. Therefore, you need to use a nutrient solution. You use nutrient solutions so that they can provide the nutrients that the soil is supposed to provide the plants in order to grow.
Hydropononics is a very useful technology. Particularly to those do not own farmlands. However, traditional hydroponics is labor intensive and expensive. They require a greenhouse that costs millions.
With the goal of introducing hydroponics to the public, Dr. Primitivo Jose Santos and Dr. Eureka Teresa Ocampo of UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding Developed Simple Nutrient Addition Program or SNAP Hydroponics.
We developed SNAP Hydroponics with the help of Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture. It has been around since 1999. Many has already benefited from it because, in my opinion SNAP is very simple compared to commercial hydroponic systems that can cost millions if not thousands. But in SNAP Hydroponics, you can do hydroponics in a box that only costs less than a hundred pesos (USD 2).
What makes SNAP Hydropononics system unique is that, you can build it out of materials around you. Just look around and you can get the materials you need.
Just like these. These, as you can see are just styrofoam boxes that were used in imported grapes. You can get them for free or at a very low price. You can’t do the same if you use other hydroponic system.
You even help in recycling. Because in super markets these are just dumped or thrown away. They are almost non-biodegradable.
That is why this is very useful to us in reducing the waste products of imported grapes.
Secondly, because it is very simple, it doesn’t use electricity. It doesn’t use pumps. So you can save on electricity while still be able to grow plants.
Imported hydroponic technologies depends on electricty. You can’t run them without using electricty. Now why aren’t we using electricity when plants require aeration in their roots.
How are we able to grow them without pumps? Well, we discovered that you can train plants to grow on water when you start training them young. That means, plants can develop floating roots. Floating roots because they float on the surface of water. So they are not underwater and they can breathe. In that situation, the plant is able to breathe that is why it grows. That is the secret of SNAP Hydroponics.
Third, SNAP Hydroponics is very low cost and very efficient. For example, one head of mustard such as this uses less than 2L of water until harvest. Whereas, when you grow them in soil, they’ll use at least 50L. Especially during the dry season.
Being soilless, you don’t affect the surrounding soil while you grow plants. Some use fertilizers as they grow plants. That can ruin the soil environment. Because, we are not not using soil, we can say SNAP is eco-friendly. Because soil stays virgin if it is untouched, yet you produce vegetables.
Those are just some of the advantages of SNAP Hydroponics.
SNAP Hydroponics is suitable for growing lettuce, pak choi, mustard, swamp cabbage, tomatoes, melon cucumber, egg plant and many more.
Many are interested in SNAP Hydroponics because they have seen that it is set-and-forget. Once you set it up you are not required to keep an eye on them because you don’t have to water them everyday, you don’t have weeds to remove, you won’t be exposed to chemical sprays, and your harvest therefore will be pesticide free. In addition, even when you are physically challenged. For example, if you are a senior citizen or you have a disability. You can set this up. In fact, we had trained groups of people with disability and senior citizens. They make projects out of this.
SNAP Hydroponics have huge potential to help reduce food shortage, specially vegetables, for our people.