Hydroponics is an innovative method of farming that involves growing plants without the use of soil. It is applicable in cities, rural areas, and anywhere in between. While some setups can be quite large, smaller, personal kits are available for those who want to try their hand in growing vegetables of their own. Hydroponics is commonly used in greenhouses, along with aeroponics and aquaponics, which are two variations of hydroponics.
As soil is not involved in the growing process, the roots are supported using perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite. The main idea behind hydroponics is to allow the roots to directly absorb the nutrient solution while simultaneously having full access to oxygen, which stimulates plant growth further. This is effective because plants can more easily accept and use the nutrients when they are fed directly than when they must be absorbed through soil. The idea is that the plant focuses more on flowering and producing, rather than growing the root system.
There is a wide range of plants and flowers that can grow hydroponically throughout the year. This method makes growing a variety of food and flowers accessible to everyone, from cauliflower to cannabis, no matter where you live. This method allows you to grow tomatoes, mint, basil, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, and much more. If you are a novice gardener and are interested in creating your hydroponics system at home, it can be quite a challenge. However, the payoff is worth it – a bountiful harvest of high-quality fruits and vegetables. There are numerous advantages to this innovative farming method.
Studies show that with the proper setup, plants grown hydroponically mature up to 25% faster and produce about 30% more than the traditional soil method. Of course, this is possible with careful monitoring of the nutrient solution and pH levels in the water. Additionally, hydroponics uses less water thanks to the enclosed root containers. These containers reduce waste and pollution that soil runoff causes.
Plants that grow in soil run the risk of soil-borne diseases and pests that damage crops, but with no ground, there is no need to worry about these potential threats to a healthy harvest. Switching to hydroponic growing helps alleviate soil erosion, and allows land to recover its nutrients. And, like other methods of innovative farming, plants can grow year-round in a climate-controlled environment.
While there are many advantages to using a hydroponics system to grow plants, there are several disadvantages to take into account. The first is that investing in a quality hydroponics system is expensive, and will cost more than opting to grow produce in the soil.
Also, setting up a more extensive system can take quite a bit of time, especially for newer growers. Hydroponics is not a setup you can build and leave alone. It requires frequent monitoring to make sure the balance of the pH and nutrients don’t kill the plants. The plants need fresh water, and a part failure such as a pump failure can leave your plants dead within hours.
Despite these factors, a hydroponics system is still a good choice for hobbyists, farmers, and companies who want to switch to an eco-friendly method of growing fresh produce. A hydroponics system that is cared for and maintained will give some of the best quality produce in some of the highest numbers over conventional soil methods.