Hydroponics: Do the Pros Really Outweigh the Cons?
Hydroponics: What Is It?
Hydroponics is a word that is becoming more frequently used in the gardening world, although not everyone may be familiar with the concept. It is essentially the art of growing plants without the use of soil. It may seem a little crazy, as we usually grow our plants directly in soil! But if the plant is receiving what it needs in the proper amounts, the plant will still be incredibly healthy! This is a trend that is quickly becoming popular amongst seasoned gardeners to grow product indoors all year long.
A Brief Overview
Hydroponics is a method of growing a plant in a water-based solution, with the root systems being supported by some sort of soil-less medium. These could include perlite, clay pellets, or vermiculite. The concept behind it is that it allows the roots to come in direct contact with a nutrient rich water solution while also having access to oxygen. Roots are suspended in this water solution, while the use of an air pump prevents the plants from drowning by providing the roots with oxygen. The extra oxygen available to the root system helps stimulate faster root growth.
Pros of Hydroponics
If using hydroponics, you can see an increased rate of growth in your plants. Your plants can mature 25% faster. This is because they do not need to work quite as hard to get the required nutrients! It can actually be better for the environment as it reduces waste and pollution from soil runoff. Hydroponic gardening typically requires less space, as the plant root-systems are smaller. This means there needs to be less space between plants.
Cons of Hydroponics
If you are looking to use hydroponics at home, a system will cost you significantly more than traditional soil. A system can range anywhere from $400-$3000+. This all depends on how many plants you are hoping to grow. It is also more work, as you have to constantly monitor and balance pH and nutrient levels. If your pump fails or you experience a power outage (with no backup generator), your plants could die within a couple of hours. This is because these hydroponic growing mediums cannot store water the same way soil can.
While hydroponics is a neat concept, here at BigYellowBag we prefer to garden the old fashioned way! There is nothing quite as satisfying as preparing your garden with fresh soil and watching your plants grow. For growing fresh vegetables and flowers we suggest our Black Garden Soil as it provides proper nutrients for your plants! It is also a much cheaper alternative to hydroponics, and will still provide you with a bountiful garden!