Hydroponics, as a system, has been known to man since the early nineteenth century and has been successfully done since the early 20th century – but, needless to say, it has recently enjoyed more popularity because the many improvements and the progress in technology and science has meant that farmers can now produce enormous yields in a much faster time, all year round. In fact, agriculturists claim that hydroponics, combined with renewable energy and carbon cuts, will be the next revolution in sustainable growth – and the end to world hunger. But what exactly does hydroponics mean, and what are its benefits?
Hydroponics: the system in a nutshell
Those who have a bit of a green thumb and enjoy gardening outdoors will surely want to try their hand at indoor gardening, and there is no better way to be assured of success than with hydroponics. The word ‘hydroponic’ was coined around 1940 and comes from the combination of the words ‘hydro’ (water), and ‘geoponic,’ meaning growing or gardening. Basically, the term ‘hydroponic’ means growing with water – without soil.
With a hydroponic setup, the plants are anchored in a soilless medium (such as rockwool, perlite, or clay pallets) and the roots hang down into a basin, free and uncovered. Simply put, the roots of the plants are exposed. They are periodically fed directly with a nutrient solution, which is dripped, sprayed or poured over the roots directly. This, then, results in faster growth and a higher yield. To understand it in its simplest form, picture uprooting a plant, holding it by the stem so the roots dangle down, and then spraying or pouring a nutrient solution directly onto the roots now and again.
The nutrient solution given to plants and vegetables in a hydroponic setup contains all the essential elements – such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as a wide range of micro-nutrients. Because the roots are directly exposed to the air and to the nutrients, they absorb them much better and so the plant grows faster and stronger than you would normally achieve with normal or traditional growing in soil.
Here are some other benefits of hydroponics which you should know about:
The benefits of hydroponics
- You don’t need outdoor space. That’s right – a small room in the house, or even a closet, is more than space enough for an indoor garden, if you start small.
- You can grow all year round. Because you create your own environment for your plants indoors, and there are some really genius plants,you are no longer dependent on the seasons. No matter how hot or cold it is outside, your plants and vegetables will no longer be affected.
- You control the process. You will be the one to decide how many nutrients the plant receives, how much light, and in what temperature and humidity it grows.
- It’s affordable. Although the setup is a small investment in itself (just like any other task or activity that produces a good yield), the process of growing hydroponically costs almost next to nothing.
- You save water. Did you know you that you can save up to 90% of water by using a hydroponics system compared to outdoor gardening? That in itself is one great benefit indeed.
- You get greater yields in less time. Since it’s a scientific process, plants grow faster and stronger, and you have a better idea of what you can expect from your crops.
- You enjoy what you grow. You see the benefits of them every day, and get to eat it too. There’s nothing compared to the feeling of watching your plants and vegetables grow and knowing that they are receiving all the right nutrients they need. This brings with it a clear sense of achievement and accomplishment.
- It’s a relaxing, stress-free endeavour. Ask any gardener or hydroponics enthusiast – they will definitely confirm that hydroponics brings with it a certain degree of relaxation and is not stressful at all.
There’s no doubt about it – more and more gardeners, both professional and amateur, are going green with hydroponics systems. And considering the benefits, it’s no wonder. For more information about hydroponics and hydroponics supplies, you can always seek help and assistance from Chesterfield Hydroponics Centre.
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