Deciding which gardening method to use can be the most challenging part of beginning your growing adventure. Since most of the country is in its offseason for growing, now is the perfect time to learn about the environmental benefits of hydroponic growing. Compared to a standard soil garden or farm, a hydroponic system can play a large part in enhancing your green lifestyle. Learning about these environmental factors might make or break your ultimate decision to try out hydroponic gardening. Ditch soil for good and instead focus on caring for plants with your highly efficient hydroponic growing system.
Hydroponic Growing Conserves Water
Though the methods used in hydroponic growing may at first appear to use an abundance of water, hydroponic systems actually use water more efficiently than traditional soil gardens. If water does not reach the roots when watering a soil-based garden, where does it go? The disappointing answer is that a majority of the water you sprinkle on your plants in a soil garden seeps below the roots and is absorbed by the soil. You may feel the urge to water your plants more often so they will take in all the water they can, but then you run the risk of drowning the roots, or worse, inviting diseases and pests.
A hydroponic garden only requires a full water change once every two to three weeks. Changing the water too often can shock the plants, as the pH level might change as well. Most of your water usage will come from regular top-offs every few days. While evaporation is sure to steal some water away, most of your water and nutrient mixture will go directly to your plants’ roots and nowhere else. By carefully controlling the environment of your hydroponic garden, you can take careful measures to ensure no pests find a home in your plants.
Grow More in Less Space
Hydroponic gardens occupy a smaller amount of land than an in-ground garden. Because of the nature of a hydroponic container, the roots do not take up as much space, meaning that a grower can place plants closer together. You can control plants that are notorious for hogging precious garden space better in a hydroponic garden. When you have perfected the art of hydroponic gardening, you will have larger, more consistent yields than you would if you were gardening in soil.
Environmentally, less space occupied by farms and gardens means that gardening can become more accessible to those without a lot of space to spare. Alternatively, you can use the entire space that you would have used for an in-ground garden to grow more hydroponic plants. This leads to an abundance of healthy food by multiple hydroponic gardeners in areas with little land, such as a city.
Hydroponic Gardens Can Be Anywhere
Though in-ground gardens require high-quality soil to thrive, this is not always possible. Locations without viable soil for farming and gardening result in food deserts and a high frequency of food transportation. Food deserts are places where healthy foods are not as accessible and are often replaced by junk foods. Hydroponic gardens offer a way for bountiful harvests to grow in such locations without needing high-quality soil. Because a hydroponic garden can thrive anywhere with the proper care, growers can settle closer to their target consumers and use less fossil fuel transportation to get their food to the people who need it.
The fact that a hydroponic garden can thrive anywhere so long as it receives the proper care is useful for growing during the offseason in areas with cold winters. Hydroponic growers can provide fresh produce year-round to their communities and markets. So long as your hydroponic garden has water and the correct nutrients and growing conditions, you can grow nearly anything you want anytime and anywhere, making hydroponics one of the most versatile forms of gardening.
No Soil Erosion or Runoff
Hydroponic gardens do not use soil or topsoil to produce healthy plants. One of the most disastrous environmental impacts traditional farms have is the issue of soil erosion. With time and weather, the soil that normally grows the food we eat loses its effectiveness, causing yearly crop yields to worsen. After enough time, the soil will no longer be able to sustain plant growth. It is important that we consider alternative methods of growing food, such as hydroponics, so we can do our part in preventing the further degradation of topsoil. If the topsoil is ruined, it cannot be brought back and there will be an even greater food crisis.
Another issue with soil is runoff. Just as factories often pollute water and air with their harmful chemicals, rainwater that washes soil and pesticides into natural bodies of water is also a cause of pollution. Even a home garden’s pesticides may prove harmful to a community’s potable drinking water. Since a hydroponic garden is a closed system, you control which chemicals impact your plants. You also control the types of chemicals that go down the drain.
Fewer Harmful Chemicals
On a similar note, hydroponic gardening makes it much easier to control which chemicals can go into your system. You need to be precise with the nutrients that you give your plants. While you should never wash the chemicals that you use for hydroponic fertilizer down the drain, it is possible to dispose of any excess water mindfully by purifying it before dumping it. This step is not possible with a soil garden, as all the water and fertilizer you feed your plants seeps into the Earth and can wash away at any moment. By choosing your nutrients carefully or investing in high-quality organic hydroponic fertilizer, you can ensure you are growing food that is safe to eat.
As mentioned earlier, a hydroponic garden is often in a controlled environment with very little risk of pests and invaders. This means that you will not need to use as many environmentally harmful pesticides to keep your plants safe. You can often remove hydroponic pests with natural solutions and far fewer dangerous pesticides.
The largest environmental benefit of hydroponic growing is the increase in self-sufficiency these gardens give growers. Restaurants, businesses, and residents can all take advantage of the space-conserving hydroponic gardening method to lower their own carbon footprints. At FloraFlex, we will set you up with the environmentally friendly equipment you need to start your hydroponic journey, whether you are a greenhorn or a veteran grower.