Modern hydroponic gardening was introduced back in the 1920s as a method of commercial plant production. It instantly became a big hit, and many people were trying this method. This method uses water and nutrient systems to grow plants. This method provides alternative means of food production where there are reports of poor soil conditions. Back during the World War II, USA troops used to use this system of gardening to grow fresh fruits and vegetable while they were stationed in infertile areas of the Pacific.
There are 6 different types of hydroponic growing systems, which include:
Wick: This is one of the simplest of all hydroponic systems because there are no moving parts.
Water Culture: this is another easy to understand and to use hydroponic system. However, there are moving parts. The roots of the plants are totally immersed in the water.
N.F.T: “Nutrient Film Technique” is one of the most common of all hydroponic systems. Anytime hydroponics is mentioned, people automatically think of this method.
Ebb And Flow: This system can be modified in many different ways. It works by temporally flooding the growing tray. This method is similar to the way rice is planted.
Drip: This is the most widely used type of hydroponic system. Using controlled water and a pump, water is supplied to the plants through drips.
Aeroponics: this system is considered high-tech. Like the N.F.T system, instead of using water as the medium of growing, air is used instead.
Well, it does not matter which method you prefer to use: all the same, they all offer the similar benefits and limitations.
This plant growing system offers a lot of benefits to many farmers today. At the same time, it makes it possible to grow high-quality plants in locations where it could generally be grown in soil. The system can make it more efficient use of resources such as space, water, and plant nutrients. Its benefits include:
1. The method allows crops to grow in small areas. As you know, plant density is limited only by available light under controlled conditions. This makes it very possible to increase crop production without worries.
2. Plants can grow and mature faster compared to those found elsewhere. At the same time, they can grow more evenly without the need of soil. Under the perfect condition, you can harvest your products easily and regularly.
3. All soil-borne insects and diseases are reduced 100% under soilless production.
4. There isn’t any worry of plant diseases. Actually, research has shown that planting using the hydroponic system there are less pesticide invasion. Outside growers have to rely on herbicides, fungicide, and even insecticides to protect their plantation.
5. Nutrient application and water can be customized to increase production. At the same time, water stress is normally not experienced if it is monitored properly.
6. This system makes efficient use of water and fertilizers compared to growing crops outside.
7. Hydroponics is efficient. This is one of the biggest advantages of hydroponic systems. The main principle of this method is to use water that is only used by the plant and nothing more. This method of minimizing water makes this system user-friendly. At the same time, using fertilizer is also minimal and hence making it very affordable.
The Disadvantages Of Hydroponics
Just like any other thing around us, hydroponics has its own limitations as well. However, while the list of advantages is long, its disadvantages are quite the opposite. Well, everything cannot be perfect without its problems and, in this case, hydroponics has its own. Its disadvantages include:
1. Setting up cost is a primary concern.
Well, the initial amount required to set up this system is quite high especially if you are looking to do it on a large piece of space. If you compare this method to the old traditional way of planting, you will quickly realize that hydroponics is expensive. This is because special tools and equipment are needed.
Whereas it might be expensive to invest in this method, maintaining is another limitation by itself. Apart from the cost, maintenance is another issue. More than often you will spend time and cost to maintain your systems. For example, if you are using a drip system, you will need to maintain the pipe supplying the water to your plants often. At times, these pipes clog up and unclogging is a big challenge as well. At the same time, in some hydroponic systems, you will need pumps that will pump water to your plants.
Unlike the traditional methods, the hydroponic systems require skill and skilled personnel to work on them. Knowledge about the plant nutrition, system operation, and plant caring skills are required for anyone to be successful.
Whereas in the normal old traditional way, all you have to do is dig, plant your plants and then water it. After all this, you have to play the waiting game for the plants to grow. With hydroponics, problem arises during production and growing systems are required to be monitored closely.
Well, even though this method offers few limitations, it is a great way to grow plants today, especially in places considered as not fertile or where plants of that kind do not grow.