The Benefits of Hydroponics
And How Hydroponics could save the planet!
The environmental benefits of hydroponics are becoming of increasing interest to eco hobbyists, struggling farmers and food security researchers alike. As the population of the world grows, so do our food requirements and traditional methods of gardening are being seen as increasingly unsustainable.
Hydroponics is a great way to be kind to the planet in your own backyard, and even save money in the process! So, why do we think hydroponics is so great? We've put together our favourite eco-friendly features below.
90% Less Water
With traditional farming methods, it takes nearly 2500 litres of water to produce a one kilo bag of rice. This is a problem because according to a 2014 report, 95% of the world's fresh produce is already at risk due to the over use of fresh water. Because hydroponic systems recycle the water that they use, the only waste is through evaporation and occasional adjustments to nutrient solutions. This means that they use just 10% of the water required by traditional gardening, creating a much more sustainable product.
No Nutrient Waste
One problem with using soil to grow food is that many of the nutrients are simply stuck in the soil, or wasted through feeding weeds. With hydroponic gardens, the nutrients are given directly to the plants, resulting in a 30-50% faster growth rate and (according to a 1994 study) can result in more vitamins and minerals in your veggies! Soil can also harbour harmful bacteria from animal manures and other contaminants, so you are much less likely to get food poisoning from a hydroponic plate of pasta than a regular one!
Reduces Soil Erosion
Many traditional crops such as corn and soy beans are grown in rows that leave the soil bare for large portions of the year, leaving it vulnerable to erosion and degradation. This makes it less fertile for growing crops the next time, and more susceptible to droughts and other extreme conditions. Hydroponics, no soil- no problem!
Lowered Carbon Footprint
One of the major environmental benefits of hydroponic gardening is that it takes up 50% less space than traditional crops and thus, can be grown locally. In fact, Aqua Gardening suggests doing it right in your own backyard! Through reducing the distance the food needs to travel, you are reducing the carbon footprint of that food. Additionally, local providers are much more likely to diversify the fruits and vegetables that they grow, which contributes to maintaining biodiversity.
Have a look at Sustainable America's Omega Garden, now that's a compact grow space.
Picture courtesy of Sustainable America
Hydroponic gardens are a much more controlled environment for your plants, which does not require soil. This means it is much easier to grow fruits and vegetables organically, without the use of harmful pesticides. Even in outdoor systems, there are countless natural remedies for bugs and diseases that are extremely effective in soilless gardens. All in all, it's not surprising that so many people have begun to look at the benefits of hydroponics as a solution to all kinds of environmental problems.
We encourage you to do your part, and learn more about how you can become a hydroponic warrior too, by looking at our other articles and product pages. Happy Aqua Gardening!