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.
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
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 grow then 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. 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.
One Stop Shop
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.
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