Why Grow Hydroponically? Why Not Use Dirt?

Yummy Food

Why Grow Hydroponically? What’s wrong with growing in plain old soil or dirt? Why go to all the bother of hydroponics? Do plants grow any better? Let’s take a look at growth rates, yield, control, and water conservation.

Growth Rates and Yield

The growth rates with hydroponics can be up 50% faster than in soil. Hydroponic plants grow in a nutrient-rich solution. Plants get what they want when they need it, feeding on demand, so-to-speak. Energy is not wasted in having to grow large root systems. So where does that excess energy go to? It goes to leaves and fruits. Once a hydroponic system gets going, there really is no stopping it. More leaves = more photosynthesis = more energy available = faster growth rates and yields. A big plus is that hydroponic plants are usually are at less at risk from soil-borne diseases such as pathogenic fungi and viruses.

You Are in Control

Can you plant and forget? Unless you have a smart hydroponics system that tells you when to water and when to feed – you’ll need to keep tabs on your hydroponic systems. Being able to intervene at that moment, is ideal for the control freaks. If your plants are looking a little pale and are getting enough of the right kind of light- then adjust the pH level. Lettuce looking a little wimpy, not as crisp as it should be – check your nutrient levels and adjust.  You literally can adjust quickly and see results almost immediately.

Water Conservation

A big plus is that hydroponics on average uses 10 – 20% of the water that traditional agricultural methods require. Passive systems are just that – plants sit in solutions. Circulating systems circulate water within a closed system. The result is that water is only lost through evaporation or plant transpiration (the word for the day – it means the plant’s exhalation of water vapor. No kidding it’s a real word and process.)

Plan Accordingly

Hydroponic Gardening 2016

The problem I have run into is that forget how fast and how much hydroponic plants can produce. Take tomatoes for instance. I like cherry tomatoes – while not for slicing, they are plentiful and ripen quickly. For the last few years, I have forgotten to just plant a few plants each year I’ve planted way too many.  As a result, low and behold I’ve ended up with more than an overabundance of cherry tomatoes. Don’t plant everything at once, stagger your planting so that everything does ripen at one time. I promise to do better this year – well maybe. Hey, it’s a goal and that is all I am saying.

Wrapping Up

Hydroponics is a wonder – you can be as involves as much as you would like to be. A great way to growing your veggies and becoming a little more self-sufficient.

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