Everyone has heard of gardening. Put plants in the ground, water them, and cross your fingers that they grow. Of course, this method has worked for thousands of years. Over time, these methods have been tweaked and made better. We know that plants need several things to grow: water, air, nutrients, light, and a place to anchor their roots. All of these things can be accomplished in the soil, but soil farming takes up a ton of space. Open lands are shrinking and the population that needs to be fed is growing. What if there was a better way?
Soil Gardening and Hydroponics
The emerging answer is hydroponics. The basis of a hydroponic system is simple, it is growing plants without soil, in a water-based environment. The nutrients are fed through the water into the plants. With a hydroponic system, food can be grown inside a house, in a warehouse, outside, in places with poor soil, and even in outer space. Using hydroponics has many upsides. It is more sustainable and produces a higher yield. The water and nutrients are used through a recirculating system, which means less is wasted. When you grow plants without soil, that means there are no weeds, diseases, or pests such as gophers or moles. When these issues go away, so can pesticides, which means healthier, higher-quality produce emerges.
It is certainly a great idea to create a hydroponic garden indoors. However, many people do not have space and it can get a little more expensive with all of the lights, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and other trinkets needed to get things going inside. Therefore, it could be in your best interest to create a great summer hydroponic garden in your backyard. This will be much more cost-effective and not take up a ton of room in your home.
Perhaps you could even take the learning experience of building an outdoor hydroponic garden and make a small one inside during the winter months. It could be very nice to have something like a tower garden going during the winter months to continually provide your family with fresh produce year-round.
This all sounds great, right? Healthy food that uses less of the planet’s resources and contains fewer pesticides. There are six main methods of hydroponic gardening. There are easier systems such as wicking or deepwater culture, and more advanced ones such as aeroponics, drip, ebb and flow, and nutrient film techniques. Consider starting with an easier system, and once that one is mastered, move on to a more advanced system. Likely, one successful gardening venture will surely lead to others.
Let’s take a closer look at each type of these systems so that it will hopefully become clear which one is the best to start with.