Most people embark their journey on gardening in soil. The black gold has served humanity well for growing crops. However, times are changing, and no more gardeners are embracing hydroponic growing systems for a variety of reasons such as greater profits and higher yields. In this article we will pit hydroponics vs soil so you can judge which one is best for your needs.
The Downsides of Soil Gardening
Yes, soil smells fantastic – rich and robust, but it is not without problems. First, it’s messy. In addition, it is prone towards fungal problems, bacteria, and pest infestation. If you don’t remain vigilant, the soil can also dry out quickly starving your plants of water. You’ll constantly have to pH test the soil plus add fertilizer to maintain its robust nature so it can continue to nourish plants and crops.
Controlling how much water and nutrients your plants receive in soil is a juggling act and you’ll probably fail dismally because there is no way to make any precise calculations. The soil acts as a sponge by rapidly absorbing the nutrients and water which flows through the soil’s porous nature into the drain pan or deep into the earth if it does not undergo evaporation.
The roots of the plant must push through the soil to spread out to garner as many nutrients and water as possible. This means that plants require a great deal of room, so growth space is a serious consideration when gardening in soil. You’ll need an abundance of room.
Looking at Hydroponics: The History
Hydroponic gardening is not an invention. The famous hanging gardens of Babylon from 650 B.C. were a form of hydroponic gardening. The lush gardens that were located beside Nebuchadnezzar II’s palace became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The plants were said to grow on a terrace that stood 750 feet tall and were kept alive by a cascading waterfall which flowed across the plant’s root system thus bringing water, nutrients, and vital oxygen so the plans flourished.
Hydroponics Promotes Water Conservation
With drought widespread across much of the world, the quest for water conservation has become a very real crisis. Hydroponics uses extraordinarily little water. Soil grown plants use 10 times the water as crops cultivated hydroponically. Growing crops hydroponically boosts the efficacy as the plants flourish in a nutrient rich soil.
Virtually Disease Free
Soil is rife with diseases and pests. Infestations root rot, grubs, and powdery mildew all hide in the soil from year to year and will afflict each season’s crops. Growing in a hydroponic environment bypasses costly diseases and pests. You never have to worry about passing on diseases from one crop to the next. Hydroponics is an extremely clean and controlled way to grow plants, so you won’t run into the same problems that you do with soil. Your plants will be healthier and more robust.
Greater Space Savings
Soil cultivation takes a great deal of room. However, hydroponically grown plants can be cultivated vertically saving a great deal of space. You can pack the plants close together in a ridiculously small area. The root system only requires a small amount of nutrient rich solution unlike soil.
Hydroponic gardeners can use a spare room, lighted window area, or closet to grow an abundant crop of produce. Without a doubt, the cultivation method offers extensive farming opportunities even for apartment dwellers. You don’t need an acre plot of land to farm produce for your family if you use a hydroponic system.
Imagine having complete control over your crop. You decide on the nutrient levels, humidity, space, and light needed to ensure that your plants flourish and produce. It is much easier to control water and nutrient uptake using a hydroponic solution.
When you farm outdoors, you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Sunlight, rainfall, and the seasons can all have an impact on your harvest but if you hydroponically grow food indoors then you have complete control so you can increase your yield.
No Messy Digging or Weeding Required
One of the biggest things about hydroponics vs. soil is that there is no messing digging or weeding required. You don’t have to deal with dirt. Hydroponics medium is wonderfully clean and easy to handle. Also, no weeds grow around the plants, so everything is kept singular and weed-free.
Faster Growth Rate
With hydroponic cultivation plants grow faster, bigger, and better. From seed to harvest, a head of lettuce takes one month versus soil which will take two months. NASA conducted a study that found that hydroponic farming produced 80 percent higher yields compared to soil cultivation. Yes, the NASA study involved the use of cutting-edge hydroponic systems but even the average home hydroponic grower can expect to increase their yield by 20 to 25 percent.
With a greater and faster yield, it becomes a win/win for everyone involved! You can squeeze in an even greater number of harvest cycles with improved plant growth when farming hydroponic vs soil.
Cost of Hydroponics.
The cost of hydroponics is more than soil when you are first starting out with the farming practice. The initial investment is higher, but one established the main cost is the nutrition solution and water which is remarkably affordable.
The initial cost of growing in soil is cheaper than hydroponics but the maintenance expenses start to climb when you consider pest maintenance, weeding time, fertilizer, excessive water use, and more. Season after season, you will end up spending a substantial amount farming in soil vs. hydroponics.
Hydroponics vs. Soil: The Future of Farming
Most will agree that hydronics is the future of farming instead of soil production. With greater control, space saving, reduced water use, and impressive plant yields, it becomes a win-win situation. When you hydroponically garden, you are no longer a slave to the wrath of Mother Nature. You can grow what you want anywhere in the world and never have to worry about the seasons.