Hydroponics is a method that uses only water mixed with mineral nutrient solutions, instead of growing the plants root system in soil as we are used to.
One of the biggest advantages of the hydroponic system is that it uses 90% less water and 80% less pesticide than conventional agriculture as well as being a method that is adaptable to almost any type of space no matter how small it might seem.
In the previous blog we mentioned a company that uses hydroponics in a high tech environment in order to grow food more efficiently. But this water efficient growing method can be as simple as growing a single plant in a hand watered bucket. No automation, electricity or grow lights required. In this inspiring talk Britta Riley shares how simple and effective her automated window garden is using very simple tools. Trough an open source approach her initial window garden has grown and transformed to a system that adapt to different growing environments. Through her organization R&DIY hers and many other window-farmers experiences are shared in a worldwide network.
See Britta Riley inspiring TED Talk: A garden in my apartment
The hydroponics growing method is based on the very simple idea of giving a plant exactly what it needs, when it needs it, in the right amount that it needs.
With hydroponics the plants are placed in a growing medium and not soil, for example: perlite, coconut fiber, gravel and sand. A growing medium is an inert substance that doesn’t supply the plant with any nutrition. A balanced, pH adjusted nutrient solution is delivered to the roots in a highly soluble form, allowing the plant to access everything it needs to grow, with the minimum amount of effort, opposite to what happens in soil, where strong roots needs to be developed in search for nutrients. The effort the plant saves from its root system is accumulated in the vegetative growth, fruit and flower production.
When comparing two genetically identical plants, one using soil and the other one hydroponics the difference between the two plants appears almost immediately. A hydroponic farm grows faster and better, offers a much greater yield, and is at the same time water efficient and uses less pesticides, these are some of the many reasons hydroponics is being adapted around the world for commercial food production as well as a growing number of hobby gardeners.
Growing your own vegetables at home with hydroponics is an easy task; it is in soil that it´s far more difficult.