Hydroponics is a form of gardening that does not use the soil but it instead grows the plants in water solution and nutrients. This system grows plants and vegetables faster all year round.
Some of the plants that do well in hydroponics include basil, tomatoes, lettuce, coriander, wheatgrass, rice and many more.
The main idea behind hydroponics is to ensure the plants get into direct contact with the solution that has nutrients, while also accessing oxygen which is very important for proper plant growth.
There are several advantages of hydroponics as well as disadvantages.
They are explained below.
Advantages of hydroponics
- You do not need soil
You can actually grow crops where land is limited or where the soils are heavily contaminated. Hydroponics is also considered as gardening for the future.
For example, in space where there is no soil according to NASA, to provide food for the astronauts in the space.
- Climate control
Like in the case of greenhouse farmers, who have control over certain things in their crops like the lighting, temperature and even humidity. Hydroponic farmers get to have control of the temperature, intensification of light and the air composition.
Here the farmers have the liberty to grow food throughout the year without minding the seasons.
- It ensures better use of extra space and location
Hydroponics has made it easier for anyone who wants to garden, to do so freely. This is because all the needs of the plant are catered for and maintained in a system.
You can do hydroponics in your apartment, backyard or in that extra bedroom for as long as you have space. With the use of indoor hydroponics kits or systems like deep flow technique you can grow your plants anywhere.
- Hydroponics help to save on water
As compared to plants grown in the fields, plants grown in the hydroponic system use 10% of water. This is because in this method water is recycled and it is recirculated.
In this method, plants only take the amount of water they need then the runoff water is captured, returned to the system and taken through to the plants again.
The only situation that may cause water loss is when maybe there is a water leakage and evaporation. Otherwise if the system is efficient it saves on water.
- Effective use of nutrients
Here in hydroponics one has absolute control over nutrients that plants need. Before you plant, the hydroponic farmer should check the nutrients that these plants may need.
Then you ensure you get the specific amounts to then mix the nutrients that the crops will need at that stage of growth with the water. These nutrients should be conserved in a tank so you can be assured no change of nutrients or nutrients loss like there is in the soils.
- There is better rate of growth
Hydroponic crops grow so much faster than the plants that grow in soil. Here plants are placed in a very conducive environment and great conditions as the nutrients are distributed in right amounts.
The plants thereby do not waste their energy looking for nutrients unlike plants growing in the soil hence they concentrate their energy in producing more fruits.
Disadvantages of hydroponics
- It requires experiences and technical knowledge
A hydroponic system requires expertise because of the devices being used. Any mistake in setting up the garden may end up ruining the whole progress and setting.
- System failure
If one does not take the necessary preliminary actions in case of a power failure, then the system may stop working hence making the plants wither quickly.
Mainly, electricity is used and if you set up a hydroponics system then make sure you have a backup system that will go on conducting the whole process if there is an issue with the power.
- Pests and diseases may spread quicker
In this case you are growing plants in a closed system using water. In case there is a pest outbreak the plants in the room may all get affected.
At the same time in case of a disease the plants share one water and nutrients reservoir hence a disease would spread very fast. However, if you decide to do hydroponics then you better have good pest and diseases management.
- Electricity and water risks
Hydroponic systems use water and electricity to run their processes. Water and electricity combination are not really the best to work with. If at all you are using this system as your gardening option, then you better put safety first.
- Initial expenses
It is expensive to set up a hydroponic system. The initial expense of setting up the whole thing until it starts running and conducting the whole process as it is supposed to, is expensive. You need to purchase the equipment, pumps, containers and you need to set up a timer.
Then you also need electricity for lighting purposes. However, once the whole system is up and running the only cost you will incur is only the nutrients and the electricity to light up and pump the water for the system.
- Management of algae
When algae forms in your hydroponic PVC pipes it can pose a great danger to your plants. Algae can easily choke your plants thus denying them air.
Getting rid of algae can be a tedious process. But with proper management you can easily control the growth of algae in your hydroponic system.
Is growing hydroponic worth it?
Absolutely! In everything, there is a dark side and a bright side. Despite the disadvantages of hydroponics, you can overcome most of them after gaining experience and some bit of planning.
Hydroponics has a lot of potential and its market is really expanding at an incredible rate. If you are interested in hydroponics do not let anything stop you, proceed with it. Despite all we still have to admit hydroponics is part of the modern agriculture.
Consider all the advantages of hydroponics then you will see its really worth it to practice the same. Hydroponics has proven very advantageous since there are no weeds to deal with, few cases of pests and disease, stable and very high yields, and limit in the fertilizers being used.
It is easy to transplant crops grown in a hydroponic system. Hydroponics is among the things promising a bright future. It helps us conserve, reuse and even recycle water that we may find as waste.
This helps us to be in control of our environment. If you want to turn to the soil-less farming, then hydroponics is the best option to turn to. Considering that its gaining favor each and every day then you should consider starting out in hydroponics.