Hydroponics - the Good & BadAuthor: M.T Edwards
It's something that fascinates many gardeners, how to grow a plant without any soil. Hydroponics systems have actually been around a long time (there was a book written about it in 1627). The way it works is to grow plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. Soil isn't actually essential for plant growth, but the mineral nutrients in them are. Usually the nutrients will dissolve in the water introduced into the soil thus allowing the plant to absorb them. It is therefore possible to introduce the mineral nutrients into the plants water supply artificially. The best thing about this is that almost any plant will grow with hydroponics.
Now there are obviously advantages and disadvantages with hydroponics, I shall try to outline both to give you a clearer understanding of how hydroponics can both benefit you and what you need to be wary of.
There are quite a few benefits of growing plants in a soilless environment, the main advantages are that less space and less growing time is required. Using a grow tent sees to this straight away as you can buy them is a number of sizes to suit your needs and space requirements. This also allows you more control over the plants environment such as the humidity and root zone's temperature.
Other advantages are:
• You cut back on water rate costs as water stays in the system and is reused
• Cuts labour and garden maintenance.
• Higher yields
• Lower nutrition costs as it is possible to control the nutrition levels completely, because of this level of control there is no nutrition pollution
• Pests and diseases are easier to avoid because the containers are more mobile than soil
• Plants are free from weeds, so will get all of the nutrients they need to grow healthy
Now obviously hydroponics offer a lot of advantages to people willing to grow their plants in a soilless environment, but there are also a few disadvantages. Hydroponics do have a high set up cost due to the necessary equipment being quite expensive, and it does require skill and knowledge to be able to maintain optimum growing conditions for the plants.
As well as high setup costs and the need to be skilled hydroponic gardens also need to be maintained. Unlike regular gardens they need to be tended to on a regular basis (usually daily). Disease is also a major factor in hydroponic gardens because the plants share the same solution, this means that water-borne diseases can spread through hydroponic gardens at a much faster rate than soil based gardens.
I would advise that if you know what you are doing, can cover the set up costs and are truly dedicated to reaping the benefits of having a hydroponic garden then go for it. It is imperative however that you have weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics before you take the plunge.About the Author:
Michael writes about the advantages and disadvantages of Hydroponics and what effect they can have on your garden.
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