Can Hydroponics be A Better Option Than Soil Farming?

According to our science books, you need soil to provide nutrition to any plant. However, there is one more way to do gardening. The hydroponic system, which is the basis for urban farming installations like Farmlyplace, uses water to provide the essential nutrients for your plant. It is a water-based fertilizer system that aims to replace the conventional soil-based fertilizer system.

This is a new technique for farmers around the world but is already prevalent in greenhouses.

There is a big difference between growing a plant in soil and hydroponics. Both methods can give you excellent results if managed properly.

As long as fertility is not compromised; it doesn’t matter which medium you are using to yield your crops.

The advantages of hydroponics seem to be visible in the long term. There are a few difficulties such as pest invasion, diseases, fertility reduction and the like which occur within a few years in soil. Comparatively, if you are using hydroponics, you can start fresh every year with a clean growing medium and nutrients.

Process of Hydroponics:

In hydroponics, seeds are inserted into a seedling plug or a sponge cube. This plug is then placed in a holding device or structure which has some pH balanced water available for germination. A small amount of nutrient solution (approximately 1 part to 4 parts of water) is then added to the water to feed the roots of the plants.

After a few days, the seedling is transplanted into an appropriate hydroponic system.

Types of Hydroponic Systems:

hydroponic methods at a glance
hydroponic methods side by side

From commercial to homemade systems, there are numerous ways to set up a hydroponic system. They are broadly divided into three forms: One of the methods is that these roots are grown into a solid medium (drip-system). This method is most widely used in greenhouses. The drip system is mostly considered if you want to grow fruiting crops.

For leafy crops, liquid mediums (DRFT, NFT) are applied directly to the roots. But further developments bring aerosols and innovative substrates in, which put nutrients and roots into the most efficient constellation. Furthermore, to reduce the labor and expenses, you can consider even the vertical substrate flow technique (VSFT) as a sincere water culture system.

Advantages of Hydroponic System:

There are several benefits of using a hydroponic system.

●     Soil Is not needed as a Resource

farming without soil - urban farming

In case the land is highly concentrated, non-fertile, or limited- this technique is beneficial. In the year 1940, hydroponics was successfully used to supply fresh vegetables in Wake Island, which is a refueling stop for Pan American Airlines.

Hydroponics is also considered as an option to grow food in space to provide fresh food for the astronauts.

●     Better Utilization of Space and Location

Since all the plant needs are maintained within the system, this system can be utilized in a small apartment as well as in a balcony garden as long as you have some space.

Plant roots usually expand in search of food and oxygen in the soil. This is not the case in hydroponics.

In hydroponics, roots are sunk in the full of oxygenated nutrient solution and are in direct contact with the minerals. So, you can grow your plants much closer, which results in a lot of space-saving.

●     Climate Control

Like greenhouses, hydroponic growers have total control over the climatic factors like temperature, humidity, and the composition of the air. In this sense, you can grow all kinds of food all year long regardless of the season.

Farmers can produce food at the appropriate time to maximize profits by yielding irrespective of the season.

●     Hydroponics uses Water Moderately

low water consumption of vertical hydroponics systems

Plants grown hydroponically use 10% of total water compared to plants grown in the field. The water is reused and recirculated in this method.

Plants will use the amount of water they need, and the runoff water will be collected and returned to the system. The water loss in this system can be caused due to two factors – evaporation and leaks from the system. Having an efficient hydroponic setup will minimize water loss due to leaks.

Water is going to be a critical issue in the future. This technique is the future of farming.

●     Effective Use of Nutrients

In this technique, you have 100% control over the nutrients that the plant needs. Before planting the grower can check the specific amount of nutrients required at every particular interval of time. At Farmlyplace we go even on step further and let the systems literally “talk” to plants, in order to provide them what they need, and not more.

All essential nutrients are circulated in a closed loop with a main sump tank so that there are no losses or random changes in the nutrients levels like they happen in the soil.

Due to the very balanced nutrition management, there are obvious health advantages and furthermore the superior taste and texture of hydroponic greens, comparing to the soil yielding method.

●     pH Control of The Water

All the minerals are present in the water. That means you can measure and adjust the pH level far more quickly. This will ensure optimal nutrient intake for plants.

●     Growth Rate is Better

The growth rate of plants is faster in hydroponics than in soil. Growing plants in hydroponics is like a science experiment. You can control the growth of the plants in every aspect like nutrients in the medium and climate control.

You can control all the elements to perfection, so the plants won’t waste their valuable energy searching for nutrients in the soil. Instead of that, they can shift all the focus on growth.

●     The Problem of Weed is Eliminated

If you are familiar with growing plants in soil, you know how irritating weeds can be. It is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any gardener. Grass is mostly associated with the ground. Thus, if the soil is eliminated the problem of weed will be removed.

●     Reduction in Pests and Diseases

Like weed, getting rid of soil also make your plant less vulnerable to pests like birds, gophers, groundhogs, and any diseases which are spread due to these factors. Even when we are growing plants in a closed system, the gardener can easily take control of the surrounding variables.

●     Cost and Time Efficient

Instead of spending time on tilling, watering, and eliminating weeds and pests- most of your time is saved if you use hydroponics. The growth of the plant is proven to be higher in hydroponics. When agriculture is planned on a new, sustainable and technology-based level, hydroponics is one of the most discussed techniques. We hope this article has given you some insights about hydroponics. This technique is a significant part of modern agriculture and can be the future of farming. It is an efficient technique which saves your time and efforts as well as space.

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

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