If you are like me, you know very little about hydroponics except that water is involved and so are plants.
I have since learned that although there is an initial learning curve, the benefits of growing your plants hydroponically make the endeavor well worth it.
Growing up and I was familiar with seeing plants growing in the soil of our garden. I thought this was the only way growing was done.
My own small garden depends on the compost that I add on a regular basis and the removal of weeds that I do on a less regular basis.
Having seen hydroponic systems, it seems to me that this is the way to go.
The way hydroponic systems work is that they utilize mineral nutrient solutions in water to grow plants.
Water takes the place of soil. Who knew?
The thought of this being possible is counterintuitive at first. Plants always grow in the ground, and you always put ketchup on hot dogs (sorry Chicago!).
There are many reasons to start a hydroponics garden.
We know the importance of eating fresh, healthy food.
When you grow it yourself, you have complete control and know the quality.
If you decide to try growing vegetables with a hydroponic system, these Heavy Duty Mesh Pots will be valuable in getting you started.
And if you do give it a try, you won't be the only one.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been researching how hydroponics in space will benefit exploration or even colonization.
Once I took a dive into the matter, I found many good reasons why growing hydroponically makes sense. Here are seven of them:
See if you agree:
Scientifically, Hydroponics Is The Way To Go
Because hydroponics use closed, recirculating systems, you have complete control over the nutrient solution and know exactly what your plants are being fed.
Depending on the plants that you're growing, you can specially design a nutrient formula for them.
Based on what stage your plants are in, growing, flowering, or vegetative stages, you can tailor the nutrients to what the plants need.
As you can control these nutrients, your plants will be healthier, and you will get higher yields than those grown traditionally in the ground.
Healthy plants are also naturally more pest-resistant than plants that don't receive optimum nutrition.
No soil, no problem!
When you eliminate soil from the equation for growing, you also eliminate some of the problems that soil can bring.
Soil-borne pests and diseases are non-existent. When you don't have soil, you don't need to use large amounts of pesticides.
When you have a traditional type of soil-grown garden, any pesticide that is used can end up being carried by rainwater into a runoff that enters rivers and streams, harming fish populations.
Even if your garden is not near a water source, pesticides contribute to soil erosion.
The chemicals in pesticides will increase the soil's alkalinity or acidity, thus degrading the soil quality. In turn, this causes soil erosion.
With hydroponics, there is no soil, no erosion, and less pollution.
No soil also means no pulling weeds!
Like all gardeners, there is a lot of work associated with creating and maintaining a garden.
To start, the soil needs to be tilled before planting.
Once the soil is readied after tilling, needed nutrients like compost must be added to the soil and tilled again to distribute them evenly.
Then comes the planting of the various crops. Weeds need to be controlled so that they do not take the necessary nutrients from the crops.
There is also the watering of the garden essential to the plants' growth if Mother Nature doesn't lend you a hand.
Your garden growing in the soil is like a 24-hour delicatessen for bunnies and other critters who appreciate your effort.
Gardens are beautiful things but also come with back-breaking work. Hydroponics requires no tilling, no weeding and no bending over to tend to the plants.
In addition, the footprint that a hydroponics system takes in comparison to a traditional garden for the same result is fractional.
With hydroponics, you can set the system up to grow plants vertically. Crops can be grown in almost any area.
Those with limited soil, snow-capped soil, in the corner of your back or front yard, or even a shed.
You would be able to grow your own food all year long regardless of the weather.
Conserve and Sustain
Hallmarks of the hydroponics method, conservation and sustainability help you as the grower and the planet as a whole.
The nutrient solutions that are used in the hydroponic system are recycled in recirculating systems.
Those solutions can be used for house plants or lawns. Some of the growing media used in these systems can be sterilized and reused in potted plants or soil gardens.
This reduces the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill.
Another way hydroponics conserves and sustains is with water.
It may seem like growing plants in water would use more, but it uses substantially less.
Water is one of the earth’s most precious and necessary resources.
The World Health Organization (WHO) feels that by 2025, half of the world's population will live in water-stressed areas.
Because a hydroponics growing system is controlled and the water is always circulating, much less water is used than traditional gardens.
There is no leaching and no runoff or evaporation. You will be protecting one of our most valuable resources when you grow hydroponically.
Hydroponic gardens produce higher yields
Plants that are grown in a hydroponics system produce higher yields because they have a shorter growing cycle.
You could have a smaller garden than your regular soil garden, and it will produce more.
In a hydroponics system, you have the right nutrients and the perfect light. You have eliminated pests, lousy weather, and bunnies.
Plants mature about 25% faster and can have an increase in yield of 30%.
Leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, and watercress can be ready in a little over a month.
Head lettuce will be available in six to eight weeks.
Others, like romaine, bibb, and buttercrunch, can grow to harvest in as little as three weeks.
Automation is your friend
One of the beauties about a hydroponics system besides the vegetable you grow, is that you can automate much of the system.
Water pumps, essential to hydroponic systems, can be set on timers to circulate water to the parts of the system where plants are located.
LED lights can be programmable and the technology for these lights has made huge strides in recent years.
You can also configure your lighting to come on when the sun goes down.
You can regulate the temperature in your growing area as needed.
Once you are set up and ready to go, tending to a hydroponics garden is less labor-intensive than a soil garden.
Hydroponics maximizes space
Hydroponic systems can be set up almost anywhere.
Even if you live in an area where the soil conditions are not conducive to growing, a hydroponic system will work.
These systems do not depend on external conditions like sun, rain, and temperature.
Well suited to urban environments where space is tight, and areas of cultivated soil are scarce, a hydroponics system would be a viable option.
You can grow a more significant number of plants in a hydroponic garden than outside in a field.
Hydroponics is a rewarding way to grow your healthy food. You have so much more control over the finished product, and your growing season is year-round.