11 Jun What are the benefits of Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the emerging science of cultivation of crops without soil. Many cultivators are now turning to hydroponics. They have discovered that it offers a host of advantages over other forms of farming. So, what are the benefits of Hydroponics? Let’s find out.
This technology uses nutrient-enriched water to supply growth factors to the plants. This eliminates the need for vast stretches of land for cultivation. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Here’s why it’s the best kind of farming to do.
The benefits of hydroponics make it ideal for the future where land and water are scarce. Hydroponics is gaining popularity today, Yet, it is not a new concept. The floating gardens of Aztecs and hanging gardens of Babylon are examples of ancient hydroponics.
Plant growth y delivering the nutrient solution directly to the plant, the growth is made faster. Further, recirculating water and nutrients mean a drastic reduction in the amount of freshwater required. Also, the versatility of this agricultural method makes it possible to grow vegetables easy. This is applicable to both commercial and home gardening as well.
Benefits of Hydroponics over Conventional farming
The benefits are plentiful for hydroponic farming. This is why many countries have been adopting it on a large scale. India too is exploring the possibilities of hydroponics, although in niche territories. But, why is hydroponics fantastic technology? (source)
Economic Space Utilisation
With land available for agriculture dwindling, space becomes an expensive commodity. The area required for commercial food production is very high. In hydroponics, the average area required for each plant is 4 inches in the pot. You need space for a reservoir and enough room overhead for artificial lighting. Further, planters use tray stacking and even grow the plant vertically using hydroponics. This brings down the space necessary to produce the same number of crops effectively. Here, one should note that commercial hydroponics yields the same amount of crop from 1/5th of the land as traditional farming. (source)
Affordable in the long term
Any technology, if not profitable, doesn’t make sense. Hydroponics can grow food on an effortless scale using a few plastic pipes, nutrient solutions, natural light, and in spaces with no humidity.
Commercial hydroponic farming needs a significant investment at the beginning. Yet, the profits make up for it. Also, home gardening using hydroponic kits is an affordable solution. It’s a great way to make your kitchen garden. Moreover. it grows faster, with higher yield and cost you much lesser.
Lower pesticide use
Hydroponics involves soil-less farming; This way it helps eliminate the menace of pests and insects. Also, one doesn’t need to spray herbicides as the plants grow in spaces with closed greenhouses. Pesticides sprayed in farms not only affect the crop but the consumers too. These pesticides may get swept by rain and leach into the water sources. It contaminates the ecosystems nearby. Moreover, most plants that grow within an optimal pH range of 5.8 to 6.8 and a pH of 6.3. It is easy to measure and optimize the pH in a hydroponic system than conventional farming. Several types of pH readers are available that give digital readings of the pH. (source)
Better control and monitoring
Hydroponic farms cover a smaller area and organised vertically. This makes it easier to keep an eye on the plant’s growth. CCTV cameras and sensors monitor the health and growth rate in sophisticated hydroponic gardens. Since the water channels feed hydroponic plants with nutrient solution, it’s concentration can be fine-tuned easily.
Hydroponic yield is higher
Hydroponic plants get their essential nutrients through the water medium. Therefore, unlike soil, plants do not have to pull the right nutrient from it. This means they take less time to grow. These plants grow almost twice as fast as it would in farmlands. Hydroponics promises higher productivity as the growing cycle is shorter. Thus, a better nutrient delivery system than in soil results in larger and better-tasting vegetables. (source)
Further, you can multiply the farm yield if the right control measures are in place for a certain plant. The temperature and climate-controlled atmosphere of hydroponics make it possible to grow off-season and exotic plants in any location at any time.
A study on the impact of urban hydroponics on the environment, focused in Europe compared the lettuce produce from a vertical hydroponic garden to both a heated greenhouse and a cultivated field. It clearly showed that hydroponic cultivation delivers higher yields even when the environmental impact of it is on the same lines as that of the onfield agriculture and a heated greenhouse. (source)
Reduced Carbon footprint
Conventional farmlands require acres of land to produce an adequate amount of crop. It is therefore located in remote areas. The produce is then transported via trucks or shipped to long distances. However, this is an expensive endeavour.
Since hydroponic gardening requires a smaller land area, this becomes a point of profit for growers by cutting costs on transportation over long distances. It is difficult to grow exotic fruits and vegetables like avocados in certain climates. Therefore, they are imported which drives up the price and transportation cost. The vegetables are also fresh and tastier this way because they don’t travel long distances after they have been plucked. This can be saved by growing plants in a totally controlled environment by using hydroponics.
Savings in Labor
If there is one thing that farmers cannot afford to spend too much on is labour. With lower yields and higher investment required, most farmers are stepping away from their profession to move on to better-paying jobs. Which is why, even in India, it is getting more difficult to source labour for farming. Hydroponics might be the solution to this too.
With a reduction in cultivated area and highly controlled growth of plants, mechanization by using sensors, control switches and monitoring via cameras is easier. Hereby, the labour required in the field is very less. Pruning and trellising (in case of climbers) is the only maintenance in Hydroponics that needs a human touch. For example, cucumbers need occasionally pruning for quality produce and to ensure optimal growth. (source)
Environmental advantages of hydroponics
Uses less of precious water
The world is looking at a significant water crisis in the future. Some major cities are seriously feeling the heat already. Agriculture is a water-intensive process. Also, freshwater is an expensive resource. Hydroponic farming requires 10% less water than that of farmlands. The only water loss here is through evaporation and the occasional water change.
Hydroponic technology is the saviour of agriculture. It brings huge savings in the water required for agriculture. This is one of the top benefits of hydroponics. The water used in hydroponics is recirculated and refreshed only when needed. Combining aquaponics with hydroponic enhances the yield from the same water. (source)
Reduces Wastage of Land – ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF HYDROPONICS
As we said, conventional agriculture requires a vast spread of land. Growing plants in an area repeatedly deplete the soil nutrient content. To continue farming, it has to be enriched chemically, or the farmer has to move to a new area. Hydroponic soil-less growing is more sustainable in this regard. it doesn’t cause the soil to deplete and the crops grow strong in the water-based nutrient medium.
Productivity is higher- Economic benefits of hydroponics
Hydroponics gives significantly higher productivity compared to soil-based agriculture, This is because of two reasons,
- Firstly, the plants grown hydroponically require a minimum area for farming. You can do it in an apartment balcony or a terrace.
- Secondly, the nutrient solution is circulated directly to the plant root. This ensures that the plant needn’t stretch its root system far in search of nutrients. It also makes it possible to space the plants closely. Therefore, you get more yield from an even smaller space. (source)
No Harmful chemical input – ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF HYDROPONICS
The no-soil farming translates to no pesticides and a closed greenhouse setup. This puts a stopper of insecticide and pesticide use.
As pests and insects become more resistant, higher quantities of pesticides have to be sprayed over time. Powerful chemicals can keep resistant pests away. However, these chemicals may become part of the water stream and contaminate the soil. They have been the reason for many severe diseases in humans who do the pesticide spraying. So, by hydroponic gardening, we aim to bring safe and uncontaminated vegetables to the consumer. (source)
Benefits of HydroponicS
The benefits of hydroponics as a gardening technique are fascinating. The possibility to do agriculture in small spaces makes it a great way to farm for the future. Even you can set up a hydroponic garden easily in your backyard. This way, you can get fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers year-round. That too, without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. Also, fast-growing and durable plants are most suitable for hydroponic farming.
You can choose to grow vegetables like leafy spinach, lettuce and tomatoes. They thrive with little care and attention. One can even grow root vegetables like potatoes and beets. Herbs like basil and thyme do well with hydroponics. You can furnish your home with house plants. (Thanks to hydroponics techniques). Hydroponic vegetables are also bigger than plants grown in soil. So, that’s a bonus!
Further, you can grow smaller plants through hydroponics. You can also cultivate trees by this method. We can grow fruit trees like bananas and even apples indoors. However, it will take extra care, patience and certain expertise. If you have the right equipment, seeds and extra space, you can grow a fruit tree at home. Moreover, ensure a stable supply of electricity to maintain the optimum growing conditions.
So, the farming of the future is here. It is high time we took up Hydroponics. Triangle Farms is a step ahead. We are growing fresh vegetables from our sophisticated hydroponic facility. With hydroponics, we assure to offer high-yielded and fresh produce throughout the year. Also, by conserving water and reducing space, we pave the way for a green and sustainable future.