Why Grow Hydroponically
What's wrong with growing in plain old soil or dirt? Is it organic? Isn't hydroponics expensive? In short, why go to all the bother of hydroponics?
Here at SpaceHydro, we embrace technology-technology that really makes a positive difference to our growing endeavours and to the wider world. And, if there's one technology that gets us really really excited-it's hydroponics. Here's why:
Growth Rates and Yield
Hydroponics is great for impatient gardeners! Growth rates are up to 50% faster than in soil-this means that you can literally see differences in your plants on a daily basis. Just because something grows faster, that does not mean it will yield more. However, as far as hydroponics is concerned, is a definite YES!
The key to the success and vigour of hydroponic plants is simple: they get what they want, when they want it, delivered to them on a plate. The grower feeds their hydroponic plants a nutrient-rich solution. It looks pretty much like water, but it contains all the nutritional elements their plants need. Whereas in soil, a plant has to expend a lot of its energy resources producing large root structures in order to fully exploit the resources around it.
So, hydroponic plants tend to develop smaller root structures because everything they need is right there. This means that there's a lot of spare energy left over that needs to go somewhere. Where? You guessed it: stems, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Once a hydroponic plant gets into its stride, there really is no stopping it. More leaves equals more photosynthesis which, in turn, means more energy available to the plant. It's a positive feedback loop that results in staggering growth rates and yields.
Fresh water is arguably the most important resource on our planet. So it makes sense to take really good care of it! Growing plants in hydroponics typically uses 80 - 90% less water than conventional agricultural methods! This is a truly amazing figure! How? Active hydroponic systems re-circulate the nutrient solution instead of allowing it to seep away into the ground or a drain. Thus, input water is only lost through evaporation and transpiration.
If you're a bit of a control freak, hydroponics is definitely a gardening technique you should look into! Foliage looking a little pale? With hydroponics you can instantly increase the levels of nutritional elements (such as nitrogen) available to your plants by adding more nutrients. You don't have to wait for inputs to be broken down in the soil - you can remedy the situation right away.
It works the other way too. If conditions in your garden become too warm for some reason you can dilute your nutrient solution to reduce stress on your plants.
Hydroponic growers can also steer their plants by changing the amount of moisture available in the root zone. Sure, this is possible to some extent with soil-based gardening, but it's so much easier in hydroponics. A dryer root zone will push many plants towards generative (flowers and fruit) development whereas a wetter root zone will encourage vegetative (stems and leaves) development.
Cleanliness and Ease
Dirt is dirty! Many people don't want to cart bag after bag of bulky potting mix in and out of their homes. Hydroponics uses clean, inert growing media (some methods, such as Aeroponics and Deep Water Culture, don't use any growing media at all!) Hydroponic plants are also generally less at risk from soil borne diseases such as pathogenic fungi and viruses.