Hydroponics is a method for growing plants without soil, using only water, a nutrient solution and a medium to keep plants in place. While different types of water culture have been practiced for several thousand years, it is only in the last 100 years that the science behind hydroponics has been more thoroughly understood.
This has encouraged both domestic and commercial growers to cultivate plants in new ways that have particular advantages and disadvantages.
This article will tell you more about the positive aspects of hydroponics that have undeniably contributed to a rapidly expanding demand for hydroponic cultivation.
Hydroponics is part of a wider push to improve agricultural productivity, yield and lower food production costs. Domestic hydroponics grew close behind this with an increasing number of enthusiasts growing all kinds of plants at home.
Here are some of the most appealing features of hydroponics:
1. Improved Space Allocation:
Hydroponically growing plants need 20% less space than soil-grown plants. This means that you can grow more plants in a given area, or you can grow plants in very small areas where it would not be feasible to grow soil-based plants.
This has a drastic effect on the farming industry, where many plants are grown in expensive indoor greenhouses, where effective use of space is necessary for a good return on investment.
The main explanation is that hydroponic plants need less space than soil-grown plants, and the roots do not have to expand throughout the soil to search for nutrients and water. Water and nutrients are supplied directly to the roots, either intermittently or continuously, depending on the individual hydroponic technique. As a result, Roots are more compact and can grow closer together. Since less land is required, growers can achieve much higher yields with less infrastructure.
2. No Need for Soil:
The idea of increasing landless development was once a foreign concept, but it is now a reality for both domestic and commercial growth.
Growing plants without soil has a range of advantages. There is a broad difference in soil quality from one area to another and many plants have strong preferences for a specific soil type. If you do not have this type of soil available, it will be costly and labour-intensive to import suitable soil or to change your existing soil.
There are even a range of places around the globe that do not have access to land, or where soil is scarce. One of the first commercial hydroponic farming activities was on Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean which is a rocky atoll that has no soil suitable for growing plants.
This island was used as a refueling stop for Pan American Airlines in the 1930s. It would have been prohibitively costly to import fresh produce, so that hydroponics was successfully used to develop the necessary supplies.
Other countries with limited arable land, such as desert or rocky areas, will no longer be limited by how much they can expand. This is a driving factor for the transition to hydroponics, which is primarily the reason why future farming is being considered. In these areas, the possibilities for cultivation are greatly increased. They will minimize the need for fresh products to be imported and reduce water use, which can also be a problem in many countries.
3. Conserve Water:
Hydroponic plants can grow with just 5-10 per cent of the water required to grow with soil. This benefits tremendously in areas with limited water supplies and is a significant environmental advantage of hydroponic cultivation.
Hydroponics capitalizes on recirculated water, where plants consume what they need, and runoff is collected and added to the system. The only water that is lost is from leakage and evaporation, so an effective setup would mitigate this if possible.
Some hydroponic systems use even more technology to further minimize water pollution. The truth is that of all the water that plants take in from their roots, 95 per cent of it is transpired into the air.
As a result, some commercial hydroponics systems use water vapor condensers to recover this water and return it to the system.
Global food production continues to grow year on year and uses more water than ever before. If we use technology such as hydroponics to make agriculture more sustainable, we are endangering the climate of our world.
4. Climate Control:
Hydroponic conditions have complete regulation of the atmosphere. You can change the temperature, the light intensity and the length, and even the composition of the air, all in accordance with what is required for optimal development.
This provides an incentive for production to grow regardless of season, which ensures that farmers can increase production all year round and customers can access goods whenever they want.
5. Quick Harvest:
What is surprising about hydroponics is the capacity for development. You would think that hydroponics would lead to lower yields, but the reverse is true. There is space for growing faster than with soil, encouraged by the ability to regulate temperature, moisture, light and nutrients.
Creating optimal conditions ensures that plants obtain the right amount of nutrients that come into direct contact with the roots. As a result, plants do not need to spend precious energy searching for diluted nutrients in the soil. Instead, they may turn their focus to growing and producing fruit, resulting in better growth rates and larger plants.
6. More Control Over pH Levels:
pH levels are often ignored by growers, but it is a crucially important aspect of cultivation that ensures that your plants have access to the sufficient amounts of nutrients they need for healthy development.
Unlike growing plants in the soil, the growing solution contains the necessary minerals for growth. The pH of this solution can be modified easily and calculated precisely to ensure that the maximum pH is preserved at all times.
Ensuring maximum pH would improve the plant's ability to absorb important minerals. If pH levels vary too much, plants may lose their ability to absorb nutrients. While some plants thrive in slightly acidic growth conditions, pH levels should typically range from 5.5-7.
Growers would be wise to investigate the optimum level of pH for the plant in question and consider how hydroponic growth would make successful control possible.
7. No Weeds, Pests, or Diseases:
Weeds are time consuming to be cleared from the soil and can have an effect on the growth of the plants you cultivate. Hydroponics is no longer a matter of concern. Likewise, soil-borne pests are not a concern.
As a consequence of the soil-free climate, most hydroponic growing systems do not need pesticides, which can make the production more safe for human consumption and avoid problems that pesticides can bring to the environment. In a closed system of hydroponic cultivation, it is easier to monitor the surrounding variables.
8. Less Labor-intensive:
While the construction costs of the hydroponic system are certainly more costly, either for domestic or commercial usage, the labor involved in the cultivation of plants is greatly reduced.
This frees up time to concentrate on other things, not tilling, hoeing, plowing, and so on. It can also reduce operating costs over time, but this depends on the system in question.
9. Weather isn't a Concern:
If you're using a simple hydroponic system to grow a few tomatoes on your windowsill, or operating a commercial hydroponic far you can remove a big cause of plant growth uncertainty.
Since most hydroponic plants are grown either indoors or in greenhouses, and all the water and nutrients needed are supplied manually, the uncertainty associated with erratic weather is removed.
And sunlight doesn't have to be a problem, as artificial rising light can replace or complement sunlight. Using artificial growing lights will allow you to grow plants all year round.