Do plants grow best in hydroponics or in soil?
Hydroponics has been in the news a lot these days. But it is not entirely sure whether this technique really contributes to sustainable agriculture and food security or not? Debating on the ground against hydroponics can be a controversial issue.
Here we will explain the difference between hydroponics and soil and compare them based on some factors:
What is hydroponics?
It is the process of growing crops in water instead of growing them in soil. Here, the roots are usually exposed as the plant grows because the roots are fully or partially submerged directly into the water or nutrient mixture, or are sprayed daily in some niche cases.
Nowadays, these nutrient blends are increasingly available for purchase as related companies have started to manufacture formulas in varying proportions. Alternatively, you can always try mixing your own.
In hydroponics, plants are usually grown indoors, sometimes on vertical farms. In this type of atmosphere, most of the external factors such as temperature, lighting and humidity can be controlled with laser precision.
What is soil farming?
This is exactly what we think of a traditional cultivation field. It includes all plants grown for consumption in the soil. The requirements of growing soil are about the same as those of hydroponics. Soil-based crops always need adequate nutrients, light, water, and oxygen to thrive.
In soil cultivation, crops are planted in the ground, usually at regular and spaced intervals. The primary method of providing nutrients to the roots is through the use of mineral fertilizers in conventional agriculture, or compost and mulch in organic systems.
Why choose hydroponics over soil?
Vertical growth is the easiest way to expand your “area” 3x, 5x, or even 10x depending on how many levels you have prepared in your vertical farm. Even horizontally, hydroponics is still on top in terms of spatial efficiency as its roots do not need to spread out in search of nutrients like they do in soil growing systems, so that plants can be planted much closer to each other.
Time saving :
There are many advantages to saving time with hydroponics. First, hydroponic farmers don’t have to deal with weeding, pest control, and watering. Second, plants have been shown to grow 30-50% faster in water than in soil. This means that you can adapt to more harvest cycles each year, so not only will your profits increase, but you will also learn faster as a farmer, as you will gain more experience in a shorter period of time.
Hydroponics allows your crops to grow faster and better as well as to grow crops all year round. This results in both lower production costs and higher profitability.
Hydroponics takes much less water than growing soil. This makes hydroponics the most feasible solution for farming in arid environments or in areas where excessive soil salinity has made the soil infertile for planting.
As soil farming takes place in the open, exposed to all kinds of pests, weeds and diseases beyond your control while the hydroponics system works indoors, the environment is totally in control. , pests and diseases are therefore a negligible problem.
Due to the ability to grow vertically as well as more closely together in a hydroponic system, yields per square foot are immensely higher in a well-managed system than in a soil-based farming system.
Builds hyper-local food systems:
Since hydroponics is very productive and doesn’t require a lot of space, this makes it the perfect candidate for a hyper-local food movement. In heavily populated urban areas, food deserts or any other area where people do not have easy access to healthy food, indoor vertical hydroponic farms could build community, resilience against food insecurity and economic prosperity in a locality.