Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in nutrient media, under totally controlled environment without using any soil. This technique has emerged as one of the best alternatives to land farming especially in urban areas where there is a scarcity of space. Right from amateur gardeners to professional growers, hydroponics has become a favorite technique for cultivation. However, as with any method of plant cultivation, hydroponics has its merits and demerits.
Let us discuss the pros and cons associated with hydroponic gardening.
Pros of hydroponics:
- There is no requirement of soil in hydroponics. Thus it is a very efficient technique to be used in places where there is scarcity of farming land.
- With hydroponics, plants can be grown anywhere. For example, plants can be grown on a rooftop or next to the window sill or in an old fish tank. In many countries like Canada and Japan, vegetables are grown in the supermarket itself and it supplies crispy fresh vegetables to the shoppers. It saves money on transportation and reduces carbon footprints.
- In hydroponics there is no need for tilling of soil, irrigation of farmland, fumigation, spraying fertilizers. This not only means less work for you, but this way a lot of labor cost is cut.
- Hydroponic systems recycle nutrients and thus use a lot less water and nutrients in comparison to soil culture. This advantage is significant as it can lead to a reduction in the pollution of land and the stream with high levels of runoff nutrients.
- Hydroponics is a completely monitored system thus providing better control over plant growth. In case of soil culture, it is difficult to control physical factors like pH of soil and humidity levels because of the complex chemical and biological nature of the soil. A hydroponic grower, however, can determine the correct temperature, nutrient level, pH, and humidity for his system and grow plants in an ideal environment.
Cons of hydroponics:
- Starting cost to build and set-up any hydroponic system is quite high. Beginners thus have to make a big investment to get initiated with hydroponics.
- Beginners require proper training and guidance from a professional who has knowledge of basic principles of plant nutrition and hydroponic systems. Otherwise, the failure in system may lead to immense financial loss.
- Hydroponic Plants become very sensitive to any changes in the environment. If there are deficiencies, the plants will show it almost immediately. Additionally, because all the plants in the system are sharing the same water and nutrient mix, if a disease or pest infestation occurs, it spreads quickly through the entire growing system.
Notwithstanding all the advantages and disadvantages, one cannot deny the fact that hydroponics is the up and coming science and it is the perfect alternative to traditional farming in urban areas.