Exploring and using hydroponics has many advantages. However, there is a downside, as well. If you are thinking about starting hydroponics, then you might want to research on it more to find out whether these techniques are right for you and your level of commitment. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using hydroponics.
The advantages of hydroponics
- Soil-less gardening: Gardening without the need for soil provides numerous benefits. Soil differs around the world. Some people live in areas where the soil is suitable for growing crops. Some people do not have this advantage, living in the regions that are rocky, too hot, or too cold for growing crops, or even in areas where there is no spare land or space for gardening. Soil-less gardening provides people a way to grow crops no matter where they live.
- Rapid technology: Hydroponic technology is advancing rapidly, which makes this method more feasible and easier to adapt. People are even starting to experiment with this type of gardening using easy-to-use and straightforward home kits.
- Rapid results: Another advantage of hydroponics is that it yields very fast and efficient results. You will get quicker and more abundant results with hydroponics even if you grow a large crop or a small plant.
- It works for everyone: Everyone can use hydroponics no matter where they live.
- Less disease: Hydroponics decreases the risk of disease in plants. Soil can be contaminated. This is not the case with hydroponics, which produces a superior product.
- No weeds: Weeds won’t be a problem in hydroponics. There’s no need to manually remove weeds or use dangerous weed killers. This also means more time to focus on important matters.
- Land space is not an issue in the process: Hydroponics is awesome because brings gardening to those who have no space or where land is a premium, such as apartment-dwellers.
- Garden all year long: Hydroponics allows gardening no matter what time of the year, so there won’t be any need to worry about what crop is in-season or not. Grow whatever you want, when you want to.
- Good lessons from this: Kids will love hydroponics since they can see the root systems and there’s no need to wait long to see the results. Hydroponics offers an interesting farming lesson to children in schools and even at home.
- Basic kits are inexpensive: There are basic hydroponic kits that are inexpensive if you want to start experimenting with this method. You can also learn to build your very own kits so that you can grow your favorite flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
- Lots of information: With more people showing interest in hydroponics, you can find lots of information about the topic that can help you start up and expand your knowledge. There are books, magazines, and websites dedicated to hydroponics. Your local gardening shop should also help and be a good source of vital information as well.
- Grow anything: You can grow practically anything in hydroponics, except a handful of woody shrubs. You can plant herbs, fruits, houseplants, flowers, and vegetables. You can experiment with crops you like and work on each one you want.
- A clean way to the garden: Hydroponics requires no soil, which means this form of gardening is much cleaner. No need to worry about fertilizer, manure, or insect repellants. You won’t need to dig or pull out weeds, too.
- Control the pH levels: Controlling the pH levels your plants get allows you to control the taste of the fruits and vegetables that you grow. Gardening in acidic soil affects the taste of crops. For example, you might end up with bitter-tasting tomatoes. When you control the pH levels, you can give the plants the proper amount of pH to get the most desirable taste.
- Brings more affordable crops to certain areas: Sometimes, fruits and vegetables are expensive. This cost is affected by shipping. Maybe you have to pay a premium price for particular fruits that have to be shipped from far away. Hydroponics allow crops to be grown locally, which will significantly help cut down the costs passed on to the consumer.
- No rotating crops: Hydroponic gardeners also do not need to rotate crops.
This is because nutrients are not sought out by the plants in the soil, but rather directly fed to them.
- Uses less water: A misconception about hydroponics is that it would take more water. That is not the case, however. Hydroponics uses less water since growing time is shorter. Water is also not lost in soil, as each drop goes straight to the source.
- Cost-effective for the grower: Should you want to try hydroponics at home,
this can be quite cost-effective for you. A small kit costs only about $50. When done correctly, one kit can net you 200 pounds of tomatoes, for example—mean-ing each pound costs only less than three cents.
The disadvantages of hydroponics:
You know a little more about hydroponics by now that this form of gardening is gaining popularity is cost-effective and can grow crops in the area of the world.
The benefits are numerous; however, there are also some drawbacks to hydroponics, as listed below:
- Takes a lot of patience: You need plenty of patience when you start out in hydroponics. You need to learn how to properly use the equipment to get the desired results.
- You need to take responsibility: Hydroponics is not as simple as throwing the seeds in the soil and adding water. It takes work and responsibility to get favorable results. Before you start planting whatever you want, you need to know that you cannot just walk away and expect the plants to grow. While that may work for certain plants grown in soil, you will need to commit at least ten minutes or more days to check for your plants in hydroponics. Constant attention and work is a critical factor in hydroponics.
- Hydroponics will not be forgiving: Planting crops using traditional methods can lead some people to neglect them then “bring them back to life,” so to speak. For example, if one forgets to water the plants, it might not be a problem sometimes. Simply water the plant again and let it go. With hydroponics, this is not the case. If you neglect your plants, you cannot revive them or expect them to recover. These plants need TLC each day so that they can grow and thrive.
- It is not an “exact science”: Hydroponics is not an exact science, though it may sound like it. Reading books and learning how to start your garden with step-by-step guides can help you get off to a good start. However, that’s as far as you can go with it. It won’t work that way for all people, and you need to take time to learn what works for you and your crops. Sometimes, even trial and error is required to get the desired results.
- Expense: Depending on your area and the crops you plan to grow, you can probably buy a few seeds and start planting them in the ground. There might not even be a need for special tools or supplies to grow your crops. This means that those using traditional gardening methods won’t necessarily spend too much. Hydroponic supplies, however, might entail considerable expenses when starting out even if it is less expensive in the long run. You can always make your own system or buy a kit, but you might need to spend on the tools and materials that you’ll need to get started. Even some of the smaller mini-farms can reach up to $100, or more depending on the hydroponic system, you choose to go for.
- You cannot scrimp when you use hydroponics: When gardening the traditional way, many cost-cutting methods can be used. With hydroponics, this is often not the case. There’s special lighting, growing mediums, and the nutrients—all essential stuff for hydroponics. However, the truth is that after you spend for the initial costs, your expenses will go down as you go along.
- Maintenance: Maintenance plays a big role in hydroponics. You can’t cut corners in this aspect. You need to care for your garden daily. You must be sure you are committed to this before you go and buy your hydroponic equipment.
- Diseases: We’ve mentioned that diseases are practically nonexistent when growing hydroponic crops. That’s true, to some extent. Diseases may still attack your plants, diseases that are different from soil-borne diseases. These water diseases can spread much faster and may be harder to control.
- Dependence on electricity: Hydroponic gardening depends on electricity. If there is a longer power outage, it may affect your crops. This is something you need to consider if you’re considering large-scale hydroponic gardening.
- Hydroponics know-how: Before you even start, you need to take the time to learn about hydroponics. It’s not something passed down to you. This involves new technology, and you need to learn as much as you can before you spend time and money on it. You need to research on the equipment and supplies that you will need, along with to whom or where you can go for support. Good thing there are many resources available to you. It isn’t hard to learn about general hydroponics, but it will, of course, take some time on your part.
As you have seen, there are many advantages and disadvantages when gardening using hydroponics. Still, the proponents of hydroponics will assert that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in the long run.
I truly believe that having a cleaner way of growing our own plant/food is definitely a good step ahead for the ones who take it seriously, focused on quality being growth.