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Hydroponics vs Soil: Which One Is Better?
The surge of organic gardening has boomed lately and people are looking for ways to grow their own food at home.
There is no shortage of methods to grow a garden. The days of making rows are almost forgotten. Among these new gardening trends, there is a method with great potential.
Hydroponics! Which one of these methods best fits you? Let’s look at the comparison of Hydroponics vs Soil.
Is Hydroponic System Better than Soil?
Generally speaking, hydroponics is often considered a better growing system than traditionally gardening using soil. One of the main reasons that it is considered to be better is that it uses less water in growing the same crops.
You can also grow way more food using less space because hydroponic systems can be stacked, attached to existing structures, and even run along fences to make use of every square foot of space.
In addition to hydroponic systems saving space and water, you will also be able to grow more food, faster. You can control the nutrients down to a specific nutrient and make the adjustments necessary.
This speeds up the process as you aren’t waiting for the plant to search for that nutrient in the soil.
Advantages of using Hydroponics
To understand the advantages of growing with hydroponics vs soil, first, you must understand what hydroponics is. Hydroponics is simple.
Hydroponics is growing with water instead of soil. Typically a user adds concentrated nutrients into the water, simulating the fertilizers found in soil.
Related: What is hydroponic gardening
Hydroponics vs Soil Pros And Cons
Here is a look at the differences between growing in a hydroponic gardening setup vs growing in a traditional soil garden.
Hydroponics provides more control
With hydroponics, you have much more control over your growth than you do with soil because simply adding the right amount of nutrients in the water guarantees that you will have the right amount of food for your plants.
Growing in soil can be much more difficult to diagnose when you are short trace minerals, because you really don’t know what was missing to begin with.
When growing in soil, I highly recommend getting a soil test done once a year to see the progress of the soil structure.
You can take samples of your soil to your local Ag Extension for the analysis to be done.
When using hydroponics nutrients, they can be pre-mixed with exactly the right amount of trace elements or you can get them in separate parts so you can control right down to the individual nutrient.
So by simply adding the proper amount of hydroponic nutrients to your water in the hydroponic system, you know that the nutrients have been mixed correctly and the plants have all the elements they need to survive.
If you experience yellowing leaves or other issues, that could be due a nutrient deficiency and all you have to do is change out the water in the reservoir and replace with fresh nutrient water.
With soil gardening, you would need to look up the nutrient deficiencies in a book or guide to figure out what type of nutrient is actually deficient or missing. Based on your findings, you can make corrections.
Hydroponics is much easier because you can simply flush your hydroponics system and re-fill your hydroponics system with fresh water and fresh nutrients to fix the problem. It can be much more difficult to correct an issue where there is too much of something in your soil.
Hydroponics produce faster
Another huge advantage to hydroponics over soil is that in hydroponics you can grow your plants up to 10 times faster than soil.
In soil methods, your plants have to develop a very long and very integrated root system to get all the water and nutrients it needs out of the earth.
So a plant grown in soil you would see a very large root system under the ground, but a very small plant above ground.
Hydroponics is exactly the opposite. Because it is so it easy for the plants to get the water and nutrients directly out of the water in your reservoir the plant can grow a much smaller root system and obtain the same amount of nutrients, if not more.
In a hydroponic system you can expect to see a plant with a very small root system to get a very large plant above the ground.
Extreme Temperatures, no problem!
Hydroponics is also very useful for people that live in parts of the country with extreme environment conditions.
People living in a part of the country that is too hot, or too cold can make it very difficult to grow your plants.
However because hydroponics can be used indoors you can regulate the temperature by using either a heater or an air conditioner.
Plants like to be at a comfortable temperature just like people do. If you can keep your plants right around 75 to 85° they will grow like wildfire all year.
It would be impossible to try to maintain these conditions outdoors but it becomes very easy when using hydroponics.
It is important that your plants do not get too hot or too cold during any part of the year or you will stunt their growth.
Anyone can do it
Hydroponics makes it quick and simple for anyone in the world to grow their own food. Hydroponics makes growing organics available to anybody with a source of fresh water and electricity.
Hydroponics is even being used by NASA on the space station.
Hydroponics essentially gives your plant everything they want but spoon-fed, easy fashion making them grow very fast.
This makes hydroponics a very interesting, fun and viable way for people all around the world to use to grow their own food.
If we can maximize how we use hydroponics, we can put a dent in world hunger by setting up ‘hydroponic community farms, but that is another discussion.
What Are Two Disadvantages of Hydroponics?
There are a few disadvantages of hydroponics that you have to think about when considering setting up your own hydroponics system.
Set up cost
There is a bit of a setup cost to getting into hydroponics that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you were growing a garden in the soil. These costs would involve buying or building a hydroponic system.
Buying nutrients, testing supplies to check water pH and nutrient levels, and more. These costs although not a deal-breaker could cause you to save up money which would take additional time.
In addition to the setup costs, there is a bit of a learning curve trying to figure out how to set up a hydroponics system, how to adjust your pH and nutrient levels, how to maintain a system, and how to mix up nutrients, well you get the idea.
There is a learning curve but if you devote a few hours to reading and trying out a few things, you will gain some knowledge and experience that you need to keep moving forward.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some commonly asked questions about hydroponics:
Are Hydroponic Vegetables Healthy?
If you’re a health-conscious eater, you’ve probably wondered if hydroponic veggies are really as healthy as their traditional counterparts.
After all, hydroponic farming doesn’t rely on soil, so how can the plants possibly get the nutrients they need?
Well, it turns out that hydroponic veggies are actually very healthy – and in some cases, even more so than traditional crops. Here’s why:
Hydroponic plants are typically grown in a nutrient-rich water solution, which means they have direct access to all the nutrients they need to grow.
This results in healthier plants that are packed with vitamins and minerals. In contrast, traditional crops often have to compete with weeds for nutrients, which can lead to deficiencies.
Hydroponic farms also have much stricter control over growing conditions than traditional farms, which results in fewer pests and diseases.
This means that hydroponic crops are less likely to be exposed to harmful chemicals or contaminants.
So there you have it – hydroponic veggies are not only healthy, but in many cases, they’re even healthier than traditional crops!
So next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t hesitate to stock up on your favorite hydroponic produce.
Do Hydroponic Tomatoes Taste Different?
There is a common misconception that hydroponic tomatoes taste different than tomatoes grown in soil. In reality, the taste of a tomato is more affected by the variety of the plant than the growing method.
For example, some varieties of tomatoes are bred for sweetness, while others are bred for acidity. That said, there are a few factors that can affect the flavor of hydroponic tomatoes.
First, Hydroponics systems can be designed to deliver nutrients directly to the roots of the plant. This can result in a more concentrated flavor. Second, hydroponic tomatoes typically mature faster than tomatoes grown in soil.
This means that they may not have as much time to develop their full flavor profile.
Ultimately, whether or not hydroponic tomatoes taste different is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the intense flavor of hydroponic tomatoes, while others find it to be too strong.
There is no right or wrong answer, so it’s important to try them for yourself and see what you prefer.
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