Most conventional gardening containers are too small. As a result, the soil dries out quickly, preventing the plants from getting enough water and nutrients. Another disadvantage is that the roots become too cramped into a compact soil ball.
This automatically will trigger plant dormancy and loss of productivity unless plants are repotted into larger containers. The cycle repeats itself later on, as the new recipient gets too small again. This paradigm can be eliminated if plant roots can find enough room to grow and expand, just like in nature. Thus, the entire container has to be redesigned into a scientific system, namely, the BIOPONIX approach to plant growth, in order to foster complete plant development and enhance crop productivity.
The first experimental plant container that was designed to prove the concept of the BIOPONIX approach to plant growth is the BioTop recipient. It is a prototype product that is slightly larger and deeper than a conventional plant box, with external dimensions of 72 cm long X 23 cm wide X 25 cm high. It is made of two growing cassette inserts that sit just atop a 10-litre water reservoir, to hold the plants.
You can see that the bottom of the cassette inserts is pierced with numerous slits for the purposes of drainage, air circulation, root formation and expansion.
The idea is to create a high porosity drainage area at the bottom part of the cassette inserts that will act both as a sieve for effluent water filtration from the compost phase to the water reserve, and as a wick for capillary uptake of water from the water reservoir to the upper soil compartment. The roots will in turn be irresistibly attracted to reach this wick and the water it holds, as they explore further downwards, a process known as geotropism. The presence of this hydrophilic wick creates three distinct rhizosphere zones in the planter: the upper compost phase, the interface zone, and the water reserve located at the bottom. The maintenance of a perpetual air layer located in and around the wick, or interface zone, is of the essence. Thus, the interface region allows bidirectional air and water movement, unidirectional root expansion in the water reserve, and permanent soil retention in the compost phase, thus preventing mud formation in the water reserve. The maintenance of these three zones is paramount.
This diagram shows a cross-section of a cassette insert, with its three rhizosphere zones:
The upper part should be filled with treated potting compost. A high porosity mix of compost and peat moss is recommended, but a standard potting soil mix that is readily available in most gardening retail outlets is acceptable. The compost should also be supplemented with any commercially available high performance preparation of beneficial mycorhizae. Another soil supplement that is highly recommended for use in the system is vermicompost, which contains a considerable amount of beneficial microflora for healthy plant growth.
The concept of culture inserts that are placed inside of a larger container allows the creation of a double wall. It means a double protection for the fragile roots, as root mortality and morbidity through overheating are obviously prevented. Some roots will be allowed to expand outside of the cassette insert through the numerous slits at the bottom.
Hence, it is not a hydroponics or hydroculture system but. bioponic system!
This is because it does use real potting soil or compost AND a consortium of beneficial micro-organisms for root health . It is one of the rules of thumb in organic agriculture.