Hydroponics is an agricultural technique that uses 95% less water than conventional agriculture, and yet water depends instead on the soil. Hydroponics does not depend on soil. Instead of growing in the earth, it keeps the plants for the distribution of nutrient-rich water. The nutrient content in the water is suitable for the needs of the plants. Using 20 times less water than conventional agriculture. Why is that Agricultural flood irrigation in extensive areas loses water of simple evaporation, run-off, and dispersion beyond the reach of plant roots? The agricultural industry is changing its practices for more and more water, but even the best drip irrigation only reduces the loss of flood irrigation by about a quarter, nothing close to hydroponics.
Another resource that used more effectively is space. Because it requires all the plants that provided and maintained in a system, you can grow them in your small apartment, or in an empty bedroom as long as you have some space. Since the roots of plants do not have to expand in search of nutrients and oxygen, you can find your crops very close to each other. In hydroponics, the redundancy for extensive root growth also gives the plant the opportunity to invest more of its energy, which helps you move upwards, giving you a larger crop. Through space-saving and high growth, the yield of hydroponics is 8 times higher than conventional soil-based agriculture. Another factor that increases yields is the lack of pests and diseases. Soil cause many diseases, so there are many organisms that potentially feed on the plant. It also limits the problem of the removal of annoying weeds to soil-based agriculture. Since weeds, pests, and plant diseases reduced, it uses fewer chemicals. It helps you grow cleaner and healthier foods. The cutting of pesticides and herbicides is a strong point of hydroponics when the standards of modern life and food safety are more and more at the top.
Hydroponic systems can be built and maintained indoors, so there is no need to adapt to the external climate. At Hydroponics, you can grow each crop continuously throughout the year. By setting up a decentralized network of local hydroponic farms, you can grow everything locally, eliminating the need to import many fruits and vegetables from distant lands. Strawberries from New York in December? No problem. Bananas from Seattle? No big deal. Hydroponics gives us the opportunity to reduce logistics costs and thus help fight climate change. No airplanes and ships, no carbon dioxide. Through space saving, it can place farms inside urban areas. And because of their effective water use, hydroponics systems are ideal for many subs-Saharan countries and areas such as arid regions where water is scarce.
A special form of hydroponics is aquaponics, which combines a repetitive aquaculture with soft plant culture. In a nutshell: Aquaponics is a sustainable way to grow both fish and vegetables. It is a closed system in which fish is used as fertilizer for plants. It directs the water from the fish tanks into the hydroponic system, where the plants absorb the nutrients and purify the water. Freshly cleaned water is returned to the fish. So you can grow not only fruits, herbs and vegetables all year round but also fresh fish, a rich and sustainable protein source. Entire communities can be fed through aquaponic systems. You are definitely asking yourself, why isn’t hydroponics used more or only in commercial farming? First off: initial investment. For large-scale hydroponic operation, you first need to build the facility. An extensive area that you can pour tons of water into is cheaper than building a huge greenhouse. Small decentralized hydroponics operations have a cost-benefit here.
They can be installed in pre-existing locations for low cost. Another reason is that expert knowledge in the field is still difficult to find. For commercial systems to work properly, you need technical skills to keep it running and constantly control the system. If a disease makes it into the system, it spreads much faster in water than in soil, or if a pump malfunctions and circulation stops, everyone needs strict quality control. And not all crops can be grown successfully in hydro culture. Some root based vegetables like potatoes and carrots do better in traditional agriculture.
There is still a lot to learn and improve. But one thing is clear: Hydro culture is a great opportunity for us to transform agriculture in the 21st century.