What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics means “working water” (hydro means water and ponos means labor). Hydroponics, by definition, is a method of growing plants in a water based, nutrient rich solution. Hydroponics does not use soil, instead the root system is supported using an inert medium such as perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite. The basic premise behind hydroponics is to allow the plants roots to come in direct contact with the nutrient solution, while also having access to oxygen, which is essential for proper growth.
What can you grow with Hydroponics?
Using hydroponics, you can grow just about anything, including most house plants, flowering plants, vegetables, many types of fruit and an endless variety of herbs for seasoning or medicinal purposes. Indoor gardening under grow lights gives you incredible freedom to grow just about anything at any time of year.
How is food grown in a warehouse better for us than food that is traditionally farmed?
In short, there is no need for pesticides and herbicides that coat many fruits and vegetables that we eat everyday. Growing times are reduced, because of the controlled environment. The food ends up being more nutritious, the reason being is that there are more nutrients in the water they use and the lack of chemicals.
How can hydroponics help urban food deserts? Is hydroponics affordable for lower income families?
Any dense urban area does not have access to open land for farming, meaning poorer urban populations do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This brings in local fresh food to vulnerable populations that without this technology would not have these options. For families looking to grow their own food using hydroponics the start up costs are the biggest challenge but if you look on youtube there are many cost effective ways to get you our hydroponic garden up and running. The largest cost associated with this type of farming is electricity for the lights but with recent advancement in LED it will not break the bank.
Overall what are the benefits of hydroponics?
There are many benefits to this including limiting our exposures to chemicals. There is no land cost involved depending on the size of your operation. Environmentally speaking there’s almost no effect on the local ecosystem unlike with traditional farming, which has chemical and biological runoff that affects our water sources and pollutes underground water and lakes and rivers. Hydroponics may have some way to go but with a bit more ingenuity this technology will have the power to make sure no one will go hungry or without proper nutrition.
Written by Zachary Ericksen