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.
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.)
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.
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.