The benefits of growing using hydroponics
When you eat as much fruit and vegetables as I do, growing your own vegetables is the best way of sourcing your food. Not only can you tell exactly what has been used for pest control or fertilizer in growing your produce, you can save a small fortune on your food bill. This was even clear after I started growing using hydroponics.
What is hydroponics? To put it briefly, hydroponics is a way of growing without using soil. Instead, the plants get their nutrients from a nutrient rich water solution which feeds the roots. The nutrients and water introduced to the system are much more efficient, as there is no wastage running into the surrounding soil. Instead, the nutrient solution can be recycled into a reservoir and then pumped back up to feed the plants again.
Growing using hydroponic methods can produce plants three times faster than with soil-based growing. So you get to harvest and eat your produce much sooner, as well as increase the amount you can grow in a year. This also means that you can change your crops to what grows best in different seasons easily as well. And if the water gets too cold during winter, you can add a water heater to the nutrient solution to keep your plants happy.
Another great aspect of growing using hydroponics is that you do not need a large block of land for planting your crops. You can grow your fruit and vegetables using a hydroponic wall garden placed on a balcony, or even grow your kitchen essentials indoors by introducing the right UV rays from a grow light. For people renting houses and apartments, this means that you can still make your own vegetable garden, and be able to take it with you when it’s time to relocate.
Automated systems can make hydroponic growing easier and less stressful. By having a system where the water is located in the reservoir and gets pumped up to the roots of your plants, you do not need to remind yourself to water the plants every day. All you need to do is keep an eye on the water, pH, and nutrient levels in the reservoir every now and then, to keep growing conditions optimal.
When you buy fruit and vegetables, it is impossible to know what chemicals and pesticides have been used to grow your fresh produce. Did you also know that your soil can contain harmful run-offs from other farming activities including animals and livestock? Even when buying organic produce, the growers are allowed to use a certain amount of pesticides to combat harmful pests. When growing your own hydroponic food, you know exactly what has been used for growing your vegetables. And since the growing cycle is a lot shorter than for traditional growing, there is less time for the pests to get a foothold. And instead of pesticides, you can use a range of natural methods of preventing pest invasions, including pest predators that eat the pests, but not the plants.
Finally, for all of us who hate getting down on our hands and knees to pull out weeds from our garden beds, weeding will basically be a thing of the past when turning to hydroponics. No more annoying weeds that you need to pull out, or even worse, poison with chemicals whose fragments are inevitably bound to infiltrate your soil and plants.