Hydroponic farming is a boon for those who love gardening but are unable to do so because of lack of space. Hydroponics method allows soilless gardening with the help of water. The roots of the plant are submerged in a water solution that contains nutritious minerals required for proper growth of a plant. Most terrestrial plants can grow in the absence of soil with their roots exposed to nutrients, water, and sunlight. This method is one of the unorthodox techniques followed by backyard gardening lovers for decades. But what exactly makes it one of the most preferred techniques and should you adopt it? Let’s discuss.
Pros of Hydroponic Farming:
1. Better Space Management
The most prevalent reason that saw a growth in the number of people adopting Hydroponics is because you do not need massive farms and gardens to grow your plants. Unlike growing in soil, plants do not spread their roots to a great extent when are growing in water. This helps in growing multiple plants in a small space. You can decide to grow your veggies in your bedroom with Hydroponic Farming and wake up to a fresh environment.
2. Grow Without Worrying About Soil and Sunlight
The technique of growing with water is also beneficial in places where there is a lack of soil to cultivate or direct sunlight. This means you can grow your plants in a basement or, futuristically, on other planets as long as you can give them oxygenated water and artificial fluorescent lighting. Hydroponics has been used throughout history to grow food where the land is contaminated; especially during war periods or in the sea. Moreover, plants like leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. can be produced with the help of artificial lighting. So, as long as you have pure water and electricity you can cultivate in virtually any place possible.
3. Control on climatic conditions
Just like Greenhouses, you can control the climate conditions you provide to your plants in Hydroponic Farming. Thus, you can grow your favorite foods all year round regardless of the season. If implemented at a large scale, it can also help farmers produce foods appropriately and maximize profits.
4. Better growth rate
In Hydroponic farming, you control the conditions you provide to the plants. You have full control of the temperature, nutrients, climate, light, and moisture. Thus, if you take care of the plants under ideal conditions, they will definitely grow faster than in soil. Under totally curated ideal conditions, plants will get the minerals directly and will not waste time searching for the nutrients in the soil. This results in rapid growth and food production.
5. Efficient Use of Water
Hydroponics can help save water efficiently. In comparison to the plants grown in the fields, hydroponic plants use only 10% of the water required for the same growth. All the water delivered to plants is reused again and again in hydroponic farming until it gets evaporated or leaks away.
6. No Unwanted Weeds, Pests, & Diseases
Apart from your plants, a lot of other unwanted agents are present in the soil of your garden. The ever cumbersome weeds, pests, and soil-borne diseases are common among the plants in the garden. But when the setup is soil-free, there is no chance of such agents that depend on the soil to act. For example, the weeds will not grow on their own in the water. Similarly, the pests and diseases are not likely to affect your plants in a controlled environment.
7. Nutrient efficiency
The nutrients that you provide to your plants in Hydroponic farming are utilized at their maximum capacity. Every small bit of the mineral you provide gets consumed by your plants. The nutrients stay in the water of the tank so there is no loss as seen in the case of gardening in the soil. Moreover, there is no change in the nutritional value of the minerals over time as they do not get absorbed by the soil.
Cons of Hydroponic farming:
1. Responsible attitude required
The biggest downside of hydroponic farming is that you need to take proper care of plants all the time. Unlike, the conventional planting methods, you can not leave your plants without proper attention in hydroponic farming. The soil retains the water and nutrients for longer periods of time so it is possible to leave your plants at home. The soil-borne plants also get balanced nutrients because the soil regulates. In hydroponic farming, on the other hand, you have to take proper care of the plants and the conditions they are growing in. Even minute negligence can cause your plants to die soon.
2. Technical Knowledge Needed
Hydroponic farming is not for amateurs. You are responsible for the nutrients and minerals they receive. Therefore, it is crucial to have proper knowledge about the plant you want to grow and its needs. If you fail to provide the required system, the plant will die. Proper research about the equipment, type of plant, and its necessities is required before setting up a Hydroponic garden.
3. Initial Expense
To start your setup, you have to purchase a lot of stuff like pipes, containers, a pump, a timer, a medium to grow plants, etc. This can cause a dent to your wallet. But after the initial phase, all you have to take care of is that your plants are getting nutrients according to their needs. So, the initial cost is a little on the higher side, but that’s just a one-time investment for a sustainable future.
4. Waterborne Diseases Spread Fast
In Hydroponic farming, the whole system is a closed and controlled environment. The complete farming system is connected through water. Thus, if there are any waterborne diseases, they will affect your whole crop faster than in the soilborne counterparts. It is important to take care of the water and the containers periodically to stay safe from such issues. A small mistake can kill all your plants before you’ll be able to act against them.
5. Power Outages and Technical Malfunctions Affect Plants Drastically
As the whole system is under our artificial control, the circumstances like power outage and technical issues can cause the plants to dry out. The flow of water and lighting depends on electrical power. So, in case of a power outage, the work of the whole system collapses. It is crucial to keep power backup ready.
6. Electrical Risks
It is a well-known fact that the combination of water and electricity is fatal. Eled is even more dangerous when you have a whole system that works only on water and electricity. It is essential to take care while working with Hydroponic plants for the same reason. Every point should be provided proper earthing and also, the connection should be checked every once in a while to prevent any accident from happening.
Just like every technology, Hydroponic Farming has its own positives and negatives. But if you can act responsibly, it is a boon for farming with highly positive results.
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