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Hydroponic Gardening: Advantages, Disadvantages, Trends, and More

Hydroponic Gardening

Many of you might be hearing this term for the first time. Well, the concept behind hydroponic gardening is very simple. You might want to raise a plant, but you might be lacking the time and patience to do so. It might pose a great problem. Plants do not grow just like that but require a great deal of attention and care, which you cannot afford to five them owing to your hectic schedule. Moreover, it is not easy to watch your plants die. To nature lovers it is a dreary sight. However, if you opt for hydroponic gardening, this is a sight that you might rarely notice.

The good, the bad and the ugly: Hydroponic Gardening

In order to provide the necessary nutrients to in plants, it is not necessary that you have to use soil. There are various other techniques wherein you can still grow plants. If gardening is your favorite hobby, then you can defiantly try Hydroponic Gardening for a change. For those who do not know what hydroponic gardening is; this article will help you out. This is a very interesting and fascinating concept to use if you want to grow plants. Before we start with the advantages and disadvantages of this form of gardening, first let us understand what the concept is all about.

What is hydroponic gardening?

It is an interesting way to grow plants without the use of soil. The idea is to grow plants in water containing soluble minerals. Using the help of water, you will still help your plants to get all the nutrients it needs without using soil. Through this method, the water absorbs quickly and helps the plant to grow.

The good part of Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic plants

Just like any process, hydroponics too has its own advantages and disadvantages. Many homeowners choose hydroponic gardening for the benefits it offers. We also use this concept while growing vertical gardens.  Given below are some of the advantages.

  1. You require less space for developing this garden, and, it takes lesser time for the plants to grow.
  2. The best way to grow the plants well is by using a grow tent. You can easily buy the tents from the market according to the size you prefer. Therefore, you will be able to control the plants according to your convenience.
  3. Other benefits of hydroponic gardening are that you can reduce water usage because the water used initially stays in the system and can be reused always. You may only need to add very little water whenever required.
  4. Garden maintenance and labor costs can be reduced greatly.
  5. You may get higher yields due to fast growth.
  6. The nutrition costs are less because you can easily control the amount of nutrition.
  7. Since the containers used for the plants are mobile, you can prevent the attack of pests and disease-causing organisms.
  8. Another important aspect is weeds. There is no soil required; hence, there is no need to worry about weeds as well.

Understanding the bad side of Hydroponic Gardening

Setup of the garden

Though hydroponic gardens offer many benefits, there are some disadvantages associated with them. Some of the negative sides of this method of gardening include, high costs, maintenance, disease etc.

Cost: High cost is one of the biggest disadvantages of hydroponic gardening. The initial setup cost is very high because you may need to purchase all the necessary equipment. The setup cost is more when compared to the normal gardens.

Maintenance: Unlike the soil-based gardens, you may need to take care of your hydroponic garden more frequently. The time you spend on the garden depends on the kind of system you use, the active or the passive system. You may however need to spend more time daily.

Disease: Many people believe that hydroponic plants are free from diseases. This is not true because most of the plants share the same solution. So, water-borne diseases can spread easily throughout your garden. The chances of contacting disease are more when compared to the normal gardens.

The ugly side of Hydroponic Gardening

Ugly side of hydroponics

There are some ugly sides of hydroponic gardening too. Unlike other gardens, these gardens rely on power supply. They are easily vulnerable to power outages. The machines used for providing nutrients to the plants require power for working.

A power outrage can easily damage your plants; this is because the devices will not function properly. Due to which, the plants will not get the necessary nutrition they need. In some cases, they may die as well. Therefore, you have to work manually to overcome such situations. This means that you will have to spend more time with your hydroponic garden.

Trends in hydroponic farming

1. NY’s first hydroponic rooftop farm will supply 30 tons of green veggies annually

hydroponic rooftop farm

Gotham Greens, a start-up of New York City, has built a hydroponic farm on the rooftop of a church in Jamaica, Queens. The 12,000-square-foot hydroponic rooftop farm is the first of its kind in NYC. The farm tends to produce 30 tons of green vegetables and fruits every year by making use of nutrient solvents in water rather soil (hydroponic system). The farm is powered by green electricity that is produced by 2,000 square feet of solar panels placed on the adjacent roof and gets water from a giant water tank where rainwater is collected. As the yield from the farm would be conveyed in a biodiesel van, greenhouse gas emissions will also be lowered and more competitive prices will be offered.

2. Vertical farms a step towards new age of Green Living

Vertical farms

Designers at VEIL (Victorian Eco Innovation Lab) have pondered deeply over the problems with shortage of land availability for farming and have come up with idea of growing crops hydroponically on a vertical farm within frame structures. They have designed a two-floor building, which is comprised of large floor plates and has least floor to wall structures due to which the interiors receive the most of natural sunlight and air. With this kind of structure of the building the temperature controllers and contrived lightening systems usage will be eliminated and enough energy will also be saved. A research center, cafeteria and a bio-recycling area will also be included in the structure.

3. Abu Dhabi to harvest water from dense air for agriculture

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, located in the UAE, is known for the inadequate supply of water and lack of energy. For the agriculture people, this shortage poses a huge problem. Now, they have found out a solution for this issue. They have come up with a technology known as G-earth that will draw out water from the excess humid air of Abu Dhabi. The scorching heat and the overabundant saturated air will no longer be a problem but advantageous to the farmers as they would not have to depend on expensive energy and water. The Farmers’ Services Centre (FSC) has teamed up with a Swiss consultancy group called Anexo Emirates and are now preparing the farmers of Abu Dhabi to utilize the hydroponic techniques and grow crops in water than in soil. This new technology will let the farmers free from water and energy shortage.

4. Farming in future could be ‘Urban Farm, Urban Epicenter’ style

Urban Farm

Around 60% of human population is now residing in urban and vertical buildings of cities. This brings us to the conclusion that humans remain protected from the asperities of the environment. But, what about our plants? Millions of tons of our valuable food crops are destroyed facing the severities like massive floods, severe monsoons, droughts etc. To save these plants farmers are adopting urban and sustainable methods of harvesting the food crops. Keeping all this in mind Jung Min Nam proposed the “Urban Farm, Urban Epicenter” to be constructed in New York City, which nominates a new urban infrastructure connected with the production of food crops and water recycling systems. The Urban Farm, Urban Epicenter utilizes the hydroponic techniques of farming in the urban areas itself and thus eliminating the need of carrying them from farms to the urban regions.

5. Japanese bio-expert showcases novel soil-less cultivation technology

soil-less cultivation technology

According to the new invention for futuristic agricultural system called Imec, crops can be grown in any kind of environment, even in space. Medical bio expert Dr Yuichi Mori of Japan has been innovatively created this brainchild, which was displayed at the TedxTokyo event. The sheet of cling-film called the hydromembrane, over which the seed was planted, consisted of a culture medium that contained all important food nutrition and water, required for a plant to be grown. The hydromembrane provide the essential minerals for a crop to develop with only one-fifth of water that is used in traditional soil based methods of farming. The resultant crop grown by the Imec technique is more nutrition.

The benefits of Hydroponic farming

Hydroponic farming is very attractive and an oversimplified technology of agriculture. It has numerous advantages. As the space being one of the major concerns of today, you can grow crops anywhere with hydroponics techniques as the requirement of soil is removed and quite a less amount of water is needed. The pace of plant growth is much more than traditional methods and the plants can be harvested in less time. Soil-borne disease is largely reduced with this soilless farming system and you get healthy and nutritious produce of crops.

The lowdown

As no system is perfect, the hydroponic farming system also faces certain limitations. The initial cost of setting up a farm based on this system is quite high. You will require intricate skills for managing this system to exert optimum crop production. The plants grown in hydroponic systems are very delicate and sensitive and will show adverse effects in case of deficiencies.

The impact

Though hydroponics is considered to be a miraculous method in the agriculture technologies, the truth is that the crops grown in soil yield a better quality and a good amount of crops. It is also not specific if tastier and better fruits will be produced. This method will work out better in remote areas where the soil is poor and agriculture is not so possible. But, of course, as the agricultural land is depreciating and with increased negative effects on the environment, hydroponic farming can be counted as a better farming method in the near future.

A Hydroponic system let you have your tiny garden wherever you like

Designer Anna Woźniakowska has created Hydroponic System, which will take care of the plant health even when you are away.

Automatic plant watering system

Hydroponic systems (3)With the help of the Hydroponics System, it is now possible to have healthy plants in your home even if you do not stay much at home. You can enjoy the sight of lovely flowers and plants when you are home, and fall in love with its fragrance over and again, even if you do not have any time to water them on a regular basis.

You can forget about cyclical watering flowers and can still enjoy having flowers and plants in full bloom in your house. It is no magic but a super efficient design of Hydroponics System that takes care of the plants, watering them automatically from time to time.

Objective is to water plants regularly

Hydroponic systems (4)Hydroponics does not do anything magical to maintain health of plants but it ensures plants receive adequate amount of water at regular intervals. The mechanics of Hydroponics is so good that over or under watering never takes place.

After you fill up the small tank with water, you have to adjust the drop speed, as in the speed at which you want water to release from the big tank and fill up the small one installed below it.

Drop by drop the small water reservoir, or the balance beam you can call it fills up. As soon as the balance beam fills up, it leans forward and empties the water in a downpipe that directs to the flowerpot. The water flows down to the pot and thus, Hydroponics waters your plants in a clean and sci-fi manner. The balance beam automatically comes back to its place once it empties.

A clean and efficient design

Hydroponic systems (2)Hydroponics System has a clean and a beautiful design. It is designed for indoors, so you can place it in your home, office, and restaurant and ensure your plants keep receiving water regularly. The entire design with the transparent water tank at the top looks stunning.

The Hydroponics System is a device that is designed to automatically water plants from time to time. The device is good to look at and enables people to have plants in good health at home even when they are away for a few days altogether.

A final note on Hydroponic gardening

Before you can decide on maintaining a hydroponic garden, you have to ensure that you educate yourself properly. You need more knowledge that is technical so that you can support the garden properly by providing the right amount of water, nutrients, lighting etc. There are so many concepts like the Omega Hydroponic garden that you can use to your benefit.

Further more you need to ensure that your plants get adequate supply of warmth and oxygen for proper growth. When you are ready with appropriate knowledge, equipment and time, you can maintain a hydroponic garden in your home without facing any difficulties.