Hydroponically growing vegetables, fruits and herbs is a great way to produce your own edible foodstuffs. And with so much of what we eat now being grown out of season (yes, I love my tomatoes in December in the UK), we’re are sometimes reliant on food being transported thousands of miles. Reducing our foods carbon footprint might be one of the benefits of hydroponics, but it’s far from the only one. We think that the advantages of hydroponics for vegetable growing are enormous – from increased yield to faster-growing – so we’ve put together the top benefits of hydroponics as part of our series of articles on hydroponically growing food. Enjoy!
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The Benefits and Advantages of Hydroponics – Vegetables, Herbs and Plants
Whatever you choose to grow hydroponically you’ll see advantages to growing hydroponically – here we’re listing out the benefits and hydroponic advantages of this method of growing herbs, fruits and vegetables. This is one of our series of articles on growing hydroponically, the others in the series are:
- The best vegetables to grow hydroponically
- The best hydroponic starter kits
- The best herbs to grow hydroponically
- The best fruits to grow hydroponically
- Hydroponics for Beginners
Hydroponics means that you can grow plants anywhere
Live in a flat with no outside space? Or are you renting a room with little shared space? Is the backyard taken over with kids bikes and a dog kennel? No matter. Hydroponics makes it easy to grow vegetables and plants just about anywhere, including, most importantly, inside. Many of the systems that you can buy (check our hydroponics starter kit guide here) include energy-efficient grow lights that work as grow lamps, so you don’t even need natural light! Hydroponic systems come in all shapes and sizes, from systems that will let you grow 2 or 3 herb plants to much larger ones that you can use to help feed your family.
This is our favourite starter hydroponics growing kit here
Hydroponic growing takes less space than conventional growing
You don’t need a garden or even a back yard to grow vegetables and herbs hydroponically. You don’t need much space at all. You can grow the same number of plants in a much smaller space hydroponically than you’d need in a conventional garden. Hydroponic growing systems are designed to supply the water and nutrients directly to where the plant needs them – its roots. This means that the roots don’t need to spread out to try and find the nutrients. There are also some amazing vertical hydroponic systems (check these vertical hydroponic systems out! ) which means you can grow even more hydroponic plants in a much smaller footprint.
There’s a lot less mess with hydroponic growing than conventional growing
Hydroponic growing systems don’t use soil or compost. They don’t depend on the earth to provide nutrients. So whether you’re trying hydroponics because you don’t have any soil, space for compost or even because the earth in your space is of too poor a quality to sustain plans there’s a whole lot less mess with hydroponics. No dirt to clean out from under your fingernails or stain your clothes!
Growing hydroponically means you can grow plants all year round
We have become used to eating any vegetables completely out of season – and that’s not good for our carbon footprint shipping fresh vegetables from the other side of the world. Growing vegetables hydroponically with a grow lamp means that there’s no such thing as the traditional planting season. Growing hydroponically means that you can grow just about anything, no matter what the weather outside or the season. Hydroponic systems do not rely on the weather, sun or soil. Droughts? Hot spells? Frost? No need to worry about any of these weather events with hydroponics.
Growing plants and vegetables hydroponically takes less effort from you
Using a hydroponic system to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs require a whole lot less effort from you, meaning you can use that time to do or grow something else. Many of the systems available to grow plants hydroponically are automated, so you’ll need to top up nutrients and water perhaps once a month. Other than that, you can just marvel at the technology and enjoy harvesting the fruit of your systems labours.
Plants and vegetables grow faster when grown hydroponically
If you’re growing vegetables conventionally then a lack of water and nutrients can limit the growth of the plant and stunt its yield. This is not a problem with hydroponics. The whole concept behind hydroponics is that you’re providing exactly what the plant needs when it needs it – and it’s usually automatic. So hydroponic systems are designed with this delivery system in mind. Your vegetables get the right things at the right times to maximise their growth. It is reported that plants can grow up to 30% faster when grown hydroponically, over conventional growth system. The roots of plants grown hydroponically sit in water (and nutrients) which contains more oxygen than soil or compost and if there’s more oxygen there, then its means that nutrients are absorbed better and quicker. More nutrients in your plants means more growth!
Hydroponic vegetables and plants provide a great yield
There’s a difference between growing faster and bolting. Plants will bolt if they don’t get the right nutrients or water at the right time. More growth when all of the right elements are there is good growth. And more growth means more production and more yield. Hydroponic systems are designed to utilised resources efficiently and effectively. Your nutrients get straight to the roots – there’s no compost or soil in the way acting as a middle man. So as your vegetables grow both faster and deliver more to harvest, you can also grow more and more often with hydroponics.
Growing hydroponically can use less water than conventional growing
Hydroponic systems are set up to recirculate water (some older systems don’t do this, so check!). So there is no waste water. There’s no water logging up the compost (well there’s no compost), there’s no – or very little – water lost to dehydration. All the water gets used effectively, so it’s more than likely that if you’re growing vegetables using hydroponics you’ll use less water than growing vegetables hydroponically.
There’s less chance of pests and disease with hydroponics
Many of the pests and diseases we associate with growing vegetables conventionally are related to the soil or compost, which those pests need to survive. Most hydroponic systems also are sited inside a house or a greenhouse, so there’s no issues with mice, or other pests stealing your crops. With hydroponic vegetable growing you can be sure of fewer pest and disease-related issues.
With hydroponics grow vegetables that you couldn’t normally where you live
Even here in the UK, we have many microclimates. I know its easier to grow vegetables in Surrey or Devon than in the North East where I grew up. It’s a lot warmer most of the time and my gardens in the south have been a lot more sheltered from the wind than they were in the north! That’s meant I’ve been lucky enough to grow outdoor tomatoes way more effectively than I could in the north. Hydroponics takes this a step further. Because you’re removing climate from the equation you can grow fruit, herbs and vegetables that wouldn’t normally succeed in your climate, even if you have a greenhouse available!
Final Words on the Benefits of Hydroponics
I hope that our guide to hydroponics benefits is useful for you. I find trying different ways to lead a more sustainable life is both interesting and informative. It helps us to find new ways to grow our own food and to understand how it all works. Growing food hydroponically helps us work out new ways of sorting out more efficient irrigation systems, look more closely at nutrients for our in-ground vegetables and consider the most efficient way of growing everything that we eat and while I do confess to loving getting my hands dirty in the garden, there are times when we don’t have access to a garden, that makes hydroponics a great way to grow food that doesn’t need the earth!
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