Hydroponics – there are AT LEAST 10 reasons
Hydroponics is not simply an obscure process rebel youths practice in their dorm room closets. Hydroponics is a scientific way of growing plants that makes use of more precise measurement of inputs than traditional soil gardening. In hydroponics you are essentially growing plants without soil. By providing nutrients in the water solution and a light source whether it be sunlight or grow lights as well as proper air flow, plants can potentially thrive under these conditions. Hydroponics can be practiced outdoors but is most often done indoors, often in a greenhouse type of environment. Because hydroponics most often occurs in a controlled environment this can present additional benefits over traditional outdoor agriculture. The benefits of hydroponics most likely exceed this list of ten however these are some of the main benefits.
10 reasons for growing with hydroponics
- stay clean and out of the dirt
- faster and greater potential yields
- more efficient use of resources such as water
- easier to harvest
- minimize pests and pesticides
- zero weeds (unless you grow them)
- can be done year-round
- potential for better automation and management
- knowing exactly what went into or onto the plants
- because it is fun!
Stay clean and out of the dirt
Most hydroponic gardening takes place indoors or in a greenhouse. Hydroponics also is inherently soil-less. This means you don’t have to get too dirty like you would in a traditional garden.
Faster and greater potential yields
Plants grown hydroponically tend to grow much faster and larger than plants grown traditionally in soil. The reason plants grow better in hydroponics is not because they are being fed strange chemicals but rather because the plants can receive exactly what they want in the right proportions in order to thrive. Hydroponically grown plants will often be fed a precisely controlled strength of nutrient solution and the proper PH for optimal plant uptake at the perfect temperature range that the plants prefer all while often adding oxygenation in some manner to the root zone. All this adds up to optimal plant growth.
More efficient use of resources such as water
Plants grown hydroponically usually are grown in systems that constantly recirculate the water nutrient solution. This means that the water usage for hydroponics outperforms traditional soil gardening. According to a study certain hydroponically grown plants used 35% less water than soil grown plants of the same variety. This is a great reason why hydroponics is a wise choice especially for regions where water is a scarce resource.
Easier to harvest
Many hydroponics systems can be designed with the workers in mind. Unlike in a field where the worker must bend over constantly and toil with the soil, a hydroponics system can be designed to be at a more optimal position. Strawberries for example can be grown higher than ground level and the mature fruit dangles down for easy picking. The hydroponic system can always be customized for better ergonomics and productivity.
Minimize pests and pesticides
When crops are grown in a controlled indoor environment and they are healthy, pest issues are far less common. Cleanliness can go a long way to ensuring that potential problems do not occur.
Zero weeds (unless you grow them)
In most hydroponics systems with perhaps the exception of a media filled bed style of system there will be almost no opportunity for weeds that were not intentionally planted to find a place to grow. This eliminates the need for herbicides in these operations.
Can be done year-round
Most hydroponic growing environments are inside of greenhouses or even indoors. In these types of environments there will often be additional climate control features such as heaters or chillers to keep the grow area in the optimal temperature range. For hobby hydroponicists, growing in the house near a sunny window or anywhere with a good grow light is an option.
Potential for better automation and management
Hydroponics can be measured more precisely than traditional gardening and there are many devices that can be utilized to that end. There are a wide range of PH monitors and conductivity meters that can constantly monitor your nutrients and even systems can can automatically dose the tank for the desired ranges. Wireless cameras can deliver live shots of your garden to your smartphone, and CO2 can be managed by devices as well. Of course there are also the timers and temperature gauges. There are all sorts of fun management toys for the hydroponicist.
Knowing exactly what went into or onto the plants
When you grow outdoors in the dirt there are all sorts of things that can get onto your plants that you would probably not want to eat. In some situations you may not know what might be in the dirt you are using. When growing in a controlled environment as in most hydroponics setups you will be able to prevent contamination much better. No bird poop and much less necessary use of pesticides if at all.
Because it is fun!
I am a happy cultivator for a reason and I would not recommend hydroponics if I did not enjoy it and see the many benefits that it can provide. Hopefully you will consider trying hydroponics especially if your green thumb grows restless in the winter months while your soil garden goes untended.
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