For my my first Urban Farming post, we are going to be looking at some basic concepts of Urban Hydroponics Farming, and the advantages and disadvantages of using hydroponics over traditional soil based methods for growing herbs and vegetables at home.
Definition of Hydroponics from Wikipedia
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. (More info).
The benefits of Hydroponics at home
Using an hydroponics system requires less space than growing food conventionally in the ground. It allows you to place plants closer to each other. Due to the fact that the plant roots are under water, overcrowding will be prevented.
- No need to weed
In comparison to growing food conventionally in the ground, there is no need to weed. Growing food by using a hydroponics system does not involve any soil, resulting in fresh food without weeding.
- Not affected by soil pests
Another benefit of a hydroponic system is the fact that you can grow your own food without any soil pests. The aquaponics system is built in such a way that it prevents soil pest infestation and pesticide toxins.
- Less water needed
The re-circulation of water provides the plants with a sufficient amount of water resulting in no need to water your plants. By using a hydroponics system you use up to 90% less water in comparison to conventional gardening.
- Faster growth
With hydroponics, the crops grow approximately 2 times faster due to the easy access to both oxygen and nutrient filled water.
- A possible source of income
The great shape and capacity of a hydroponics system makes it easy to place numerous plants using little space. By selling surplus production you can earn some extra money.
- Quick way to grow food
In comparison to the production of food conventionally in the ground, a hydroponics system provides you food faster and at three to four times the density.
- Healthy way of life
Your own production of food will lead to a healthy way of life. Eating natural food without any chemicals is for most people the number one reason to invest in an aquaponics system.
- Its fun and interesting
- The initial setup cost can be high
- A lot more supervision is required
- Some Technical knowledge is required to successfully implement hydroponics
- Vulnerable to power outages and technical glitches, e.g. pump failure
How does a basic hydroponics system work that can be implemented at home?
In my next Urban Farming post, we will be looking at building a simple home hydroponics system to grow some vegetables and herbs. The system will be a completely vertical implementation that uses minimal space yet will produce approximately 40 plants. The diagram below gives an idea of the system will work.
Stay tuned for part II where we will be building the above system.