Hydroponics is not a new idea in farming or gardening. For those farming or gardening for many years, you have most likely worked with hydroponics in some form. However, a more modern view of hydroponics in farming today has developed into a method of growing more food by utilizing fewer resources, which is pretty impressive.
There are many different farming methods, but the hydroponic technique has become by far one of the more advantageous forms compared to traditional agriculture. The previous ways of farming and gardening have presented numerous issues. Therefore, hydroponics is being used by more and more farmers and home gardeners worldwide.
Hydroponic farms, while not new, is the farming technology of the future. So, what is hydroponics, and what are its benefits to farmers and gardeners today? First, let’s explore all of the advantages that hydroponics offers farming.
What is Hydroponic Farming?
A hydroponic farm or garden is where water is used instead of soil or dirt. Systems for hydroponics are closed, and they recycle the water that is not used by the plants. It allows growing food indoors, where temperatures, lighting, and climate can all be in a controlled environment.
Solutions are added to the water source to provide nutrient-rich water for healthy, growing plants including edible plants. Some of the hydroponic nutrients added to the water include nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and more, depending on what is being produced.
There are a few different types of systems you can use for indoor hydroponic gardens.
The basic types include:
- Wick system
- Flow system
- Deep water culture system
- Nutrient film technique system
What Benefits Come From Hydroponic Farming?
There are multiple benefits when using hydroponics to grow food. First, they can solve many problems that farmers or gardeners face when planting outside utilizing traditional growing methods and conserving many things, which is a significant benefit for the environment.
Therefore, it is no surprise that this method of agriculture is quickly becoming the primary source of food production in farming.
So, what benefits can you expect from using hydroponics in your gardening or farming? Here are some of the most significant advantages that you can expect.
It Conserves Water
Growing plants directly in water is an effective method to utilize less water, even though that doesn’t seem the case. However, hydroponics plants can genuinely grow with up to 98% less water than when using traditional growing methods with soil.
What sort of impact can conservation of water have? First, conserving water is most likely to become crucial as time goes on. The World Health Organization report from 2019 shows that only 71% of the world’s population has drinking water, and half of the people will be water-stressed by 2025.
With the food production increase each year, more water is being consumed as well. Using traditional agricultural methods, it takes an estimated three gallons of water to make a single cup of lettuce. On average, just a couple of ounces of broccoli and tomatoes use eight to eleven gallons of water. Hydroponics has taken an enormous leap to help conserve water for the future.
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It Saves Space
Saving space is another benefit of hydroponics since it requires far less room for plants grown in soil. When hydroponics are combined with vertical farming indoors, they use considerably less space than any other typical farming or traditional gardening techniques. Making hydroponic gardening systems great for a smaller garden.
When utilizing the hydroponic growing system, the plant roots don’t have to spread out in search of moisture or necessary nutrients like they do in soil. Instead, water and nutrients are given to the plants and fresh herbs directly, usually fairly consistently.
Meaning the plant’s roots system will take up less of an area, which gives hydroponic gardeners and farmers the ability to grow more plants and fresh produce in a smaller space. Vertical farming also helps with smaller areas since you just stack the plants upward on a wall or area.
It Produces More Plants/Food
Creating an ideal environment for your plants and leafy greens to grow gives you healthier plants overall and should bring no surprise to the benefit that you end up with being able to produce more food more often. Another advantage to using hydroponics indoors is that you can grow your healthy plants year-round since the climate is controlled, so there is no stress about weather problems.
Your plants will also grow faster than traditional farming methods.
It Utilizes Little To No Pesticides/Herbs
Another reason you’re able to obtain higher yields is due to the elimination of pesticides. Growing indoors provides you with an enclosed area away from rodents or other wildlife that could come and eat or destroy your crops.
In addition, there is the advantage of having food traceability or knowing exactly where your food is coming from, without any added plant growth hormones or being sprayed with a lot of harmful chemicals. You’ll see where you get your seeds from and feel confident in what you are eating.
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It Requires Less Work
Gardening and farming in soil usually require a lot of labor-intensive activities like weeding, soil packing, tilling, and more. With hydroponics, the need for any hard labor is considerably less. In addition, your time will be freed up to do other things since just one indoor greenhouse could be managed by just one part-time person.
There is also no need for managing any soil-borne or airborne diseases that can occur, no need to spray tons of pesticides or chemicals, and no need for any watering of the plants. When you realize how much time goes into traditional farming, it is easy to see how hydroponics can save so much of it for you.
What Is The Cost Of Hydroponic Farming?
While hydroponics is an excellent option for farming and gardening, an investment needs to be accounted for when you begin. Initial costs can be upwards of thousands of dollars or more due to equipment, led lights and lighting, grow lights, submersible pump, water pump, net pots, water tank, racks, CO2, and other nutrients for growth.
They do have hydroponic kits to make things easier.
However, hydroponics are among the most environmentally friendly growing systems for food production. Although the systems themselves can cost a lot of money initially, the advantages of having more food in a shorter period, saving work time, using less space, and conserving water can be of great service to the environment and climate.
So, consider moving to a hydroponics system for your farming and gardening needs and enjoy the many advantages that it brings you.