Hydroponics is a term you’ve probably heard about if you’re interested in agriculture, innovations, or both.
Yet, even if you were first exposed to the concept, your reaction was probably a mixture of curiosity and enthusiasm.
Simply put, hydroponics is the art of gardening without soil. It requires a lot of careful planning and preparation, but the effects are well worth the effort. One could argue that this is one of the most important discoveries urban innovation,
Since hydroponic cultures lead to the highest biomass and protein production compared to other growth substrates, these systems could revolutionize our approach to agriculture. With their help, we can grow plants in harsh environments with less accessible water or underground.
Here’s an in-depth look at hydroponic systems and their many benefits:
What is hydroponics?
The word “hydroponics” is derived from two words: “hydro,” meaning water, and the Greek word “ponos,” which translates to labor. In other words, it is a method of growing plants using water instead of soil.
The absence of soil allows for better overall control over the plant’s environment as it makes it possible to regulate all the physical, chemical and biological factors that promote growth.
But hydroponics is not without its own set of challenges; For example, maintaining the proper pH level and nutrient balance is a constant battle.
Hydroponic systems can be either passive or active. The former rely on the force of gravity to deliver essential nutrients to the roots, while the latter use pumps.
How does hydroponics work?
Hydroponic systems work by suspending plant roots in a solution of water and nutrients. The slurry is then pumped through a system of tubing, where it flows back into the reservoir.
Since there is no soil, most of the nutrients needed by plants to grow are dissolved in the water. This nutrient solution may be carried directly to the plant, or it may flow through a wick system. The nutrients then travel through the root system into the plant, where the roots can absorb them.
Inoculants are often added, as these substances contain probiotics that enhance the plant’s immune system and disease resistance.
The most common type of hydroponic system is nutrient film technology (NFT). In NFT systems, the roots are suspended in a shallow stream of water that contains all the necessary nutrients.
What are the advantages of hydroponics?
Hydroponics has many advantages traditional farming ways. For one, it doesn’t require large tracts of land. You can set up a hydroponic farm in an urban environment with little space.
Hydroponic systems are also more efficient in terms of water and nutrient use. Since the roots are continuously bathed in the nutrient solution, there is little or no wastage. In addition, hydroponic farm Use up to 90% less water compared to conventional farms.
Another advantage of hydroponics is that it allows you to control the environment in which the plants are grown. This means you can optimize conditions for maximum growth. For example, you can control temperature, humidity, light, and CO2 levels.
Finally, hydroponic systems are not subject to seasonal changes. As a result, you can grow crops all year round regardless of the weather outside.
What are the disadvantages of hydroponics?
Despite all the advantages of hydroponics, it also has some disadvantages.
Setting up a hydroponic system can be expensive. You will need to purchase a pump, tubing, reservoir, and grow lights.
In addition, hydroponic systems require regular maintenance. The water and nutrient solution need to be changed every few weeks, and you should clean the system regularly to prevent algae and bacteria build-up.
Finally, hydroponic systems are sensitive to power outages and equipment failures. If the pump or lights stop, the plants are likely to die.
How can hydroponic systems save the world?
In today’s world, we take for granted how abundant resources really are; we throw away the food It spoils in a few days, we buy new items every time we need them, and throw away plastic bottles without a second thought.
Even though we are not necessarily aware of such extravagance, yet it is a part of our lives. It makes us feel like we have an unlimited supply of anything, so there’s no reason to think about the future.
Unfortunately, this idea is false, and the truth is that we are running out of resources. The more we use them, the more there is a need to replace what was once abundant in our world.
Hydroponics can help solve this problem as it allows plants to be grown anywhere with minimal water and soil. By doing so, it could solve food shortage problems in parts of the world where it is nearly impossible to grow crops.
With hydroponic systems, we can produce food even while living in space. In this way, we will be able to expand our living spaces beyond the limits of our planet.
Similar to the above, growing food with hydroponics requires significantly less water than conventional agriculture. In fact, as mentioned above, it can reduce the amount of water used for irrigation by up to 90%.
Plus, studies show that plants grown using hydroponic systems have higher nutritional value than plants grown in soil. For example, tomatoes grown hydroponically in a study from 2021 They had higher lycopene and β-carotene content than their soil-grown counterparts.
As you can see, hydroponic systems are a great alternative to traditional agriculture. They allow us to grow plants in any environment, helping us to overcome the challenges that may come in the future.
Yet, there is much more to this approach than simply growing fruits and vegetables in unorthodox ways. It is also eco-friendly and sustainable, which are two important factors we must keep in mind when growing our own food.
Overall, hydroponic systems are the future of agriculture. By rapidly growing plants in harsh environments, these systems could end food shortages and hunger.
These systems are currently used in many urban gardens, but also revolutionize food security in rural areas. As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, hydroponics can become an important part of sustainable living.