• May 28, 2024

Ten Advantages of Hydroponics and Their Effect on Agriculture

If you’ve lately been in the agricultural or ag-tech industries, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about vertical greenhouses and hydroponic farming. However, why are these ways of expanding such talking points? What are hydroponics’ advantages and benefits? In any case, what does the term mean?

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What Is Gardening in Hydroponics?

Using water instead of dirt to grow plants is known as hydroponic gardening. Hydroponic food is produced with roots hanging in water as opposed to being planted in the ground or even in raised beds full of dirt. Growers then add nutrients to the water to feed the plants and ensure they have everything they need to thrive.

Vertical gardening: What is it?

Vertical gardening, often known as vertical greenhouses, is another phrase we use frequently. Although a lot of hydroponic gardens are cultivated in vertical greenhouses, the words aren’t synonymous.

Any arrangement in which plants are piled on top of one another is referred to as vertical gardening. This can involve soil trays that are illuminated by grow lights and put atop shelving units. It can also include hydroponic tower systems grown in a greenhouse to harness the sun’s rays as much as possible. Naturally, it might also encompass everything in between.

What Advantages Does Hydroponics Offer?

After learning the terminology, you might be wondering why there’s so a buzz around the growth process. What are the benefits of hydroponics, and what makes this technique of growth so fascinating?

The many advantages of hydroponic farming make it a desirable technique for today’s environment. Such systems benefit the planet, offer ways to feed the growing population, and offer food supply protections against climate change. Ten of the most notable advantages of hydroponics are listed here.

1. Does not require soil

The first and most obvious advantage of hydroponic gardening is that it doesn’t require soil. Why is this relevant? One of the biggest issues confronting agriculture and the globe today is land degradation. Gardening in degraded soil is increasingly challenging.

Degradation of land can occur through chemical and physical processes. Physical deterioration is related to physical disturbance by gardening equipment and natural erosion. Pollution and other forms of contamination cause chemical deterioration. Degradation of either type leaves the soil devoid of nutrients and unfit for producing nutritious crops.

Because hydroponic vegetables don’t exacerbate soil erosion, they can mitigate the effects of land degradation. Since the nutrients for these crops come from good topsoil, they are also unaffected by the crisis’ outcomes.

2. Preserves Water

Conserving water is a major issue in the modern world. In a hydroponic system, replacing soil with water can seem odd. Since the water utilized in such a system may be recycled several times, it really consumes a lot less water than typical soil-based growth techniques.

A lot of water is lost in outdoor gardens due to runoff and evaporation. Additionally, their water may be contaminated by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Water waste is minimal in a hydroponic greenhouse that is designed to eliminate humidity from the air since the system recycles it. Dangerous pesticides are not necessary with this method to keep pests away from the plants. Clean water is maintained by appropriate filtration and treatment.

3. Makes a Microclimate Possible

With the assistance of technology, gardeners may tailor the ideal growing environment for each crop in a hydroponic greenhouse. Growers may create the optimal microclimates for each type of crop they grow by adjusting the environment appropriately in an enclosed system.

A hydroponic greenhouse may have a section where spinach is kept at a cool 55°F. Closer to 70°F, romaine lettuce could be grown in another location. Growers may produce more types in a single system when they manage the microclimates surrounding each crop.

4. Seasonality and Predictability

The majority of crops are limited to growing in particular seasons and climates. Grocers import summer vegetables from around the world when consumers demand them in the dead of winter. This exacerbates the transit-related greenhouse gas problem.

The topic of predictability is another. Crop output is influenced by a plethora of factors. An entire field of crops can be destroyed by an early frost, drought, flood, or storm, and the farmer is frequently unable to stop it.

With an indoor hydroponic garden, producers may consistently harvest their produce all year round. Regardless of the season, these crops grow all year round. Additionally, the yields are much more predictable since they are shielded from issues that might lead to crop failure.

5. Faster Crop Growth

The capacity of hydroponic technology to harvest crops more quickly than conventional techniques is one encouraging advancement. Larger and quicker crops may be produced when every plant is grown under ideal circumstances.

Many farmers who use hydroponics claim that their crops mature in half the time—or even less—than those that are produced on soil. Green leafy vegetables exhibit this speed the most, however advances may be made with almost any type of hydroponic plant.

6. Makes the Most of Space

You will want a lot of room if you intend to engage in large-scale soil-based gardening. Because the cost of land in highly populated regions is too high to make the endeavor viable, the majority of traditional gardens are located in rural areas. Once more, this means that crops must be transported across the nation from their place of cultivation to their point of consumption.

To make growing crops in an urban or suburban region economical, you have to make the most of the space that is available. Hydroponic vertical gardening is a great option for urban farmers. More plants may be grown at once in the same amount of area by stacking them vertically. Considering that hydroponic plants grow more quickly, this is a fantastic method to make the most of your available area.

7. Generates Greater Yields

Food shortages occur frequently enough that we should be ready for them on a regular basis. Growers may produce healthier food with considerably higher yields in less time by using a hydroponic greenhouse.

Yes, hydroponic greenhouses optimize space use while growing produce more quickly. However, crop losses due to issues like pests and pollution are also uncommon. All of this results in more crops to harvest, higher yields for farmers, and more consistent food supply for humans.

8. Need Less Work

Gardening on soil requires a lot of work and may be rather taxing. A human touch is still required in certain processes, such as harvesting fragile crops, even though many aspects of this growing method may be automated.

Although human labor is still required in hydroponic greenhouses, the smaller size of the buildings makes it possible to complete chores more quickly, allowing you to do more work with fewer workers. Furthermore, no harmful chemical pesticides are used on the workers at these sites. Careers in hydroponics are performed in environments similar to laboratories and offer respectable pay and benefits in place of the risks associated with traditional garden labor.

9. Reduces Supply Chain Length

The distance that fresh goods must travel from the rural areas where they are gathered to the grocery store shelves where they are sold is one of the biggest challenges in our supply chain. If you frequent your neighborhood farmer’s market, you are surely aware of how much nicer fresh produce tastes. Growing fresh food via hydroponic farming allows you to do so minutes or hours before the final customer gets to enjoy them.

Grocers may offer fresher foods—often grown in a matter of hours or days—thanks to hydroponic gardens. In order to provide white-label food choices like bagged salads and fresh herbs, they can also collaborate with hydroponic greenhouses. They may provide food right from the garden to their clients thanks to this reduced supply chain, which eliminates the need for intermediaries.

10. Generates Food of Higher Quality

Many people think that food cultivated hydroponically will taste blander and be deficient in vital nutrients. While certain hydroponic home growing systems could benefit from this, professional hydroponic gardens usually produce higher-quality crops than their soil-based equivalents.

The water supply for hydroponic vegetables is enriched with precisely balanced nutrients and meticulously regulated surroundings. They are not exposed to other toxins, insecticides, or pollution. Lastly, because they are usually farmed around where they will be eaten, they are usually far fresher when they arrive at your table. All of this results in crops that are at least as healthy as those of the same type that are produced conventionally, in addition to tasting amazing.